Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blood Groove – review

Author: Alex Bledsoe

First Published: 2006

Contains spoilers

The blurb: When centuries-old vampire Baron Rudolfo Zginski was staked in Wales in 1915, the last thing he expected was to reawaken in Memphis Tennessee, sixty years later. Reborn into a new world of simmering racial tensions, the cunning Nosferatu realizes he must adapt quickly if he is to survive.

Finding willing victims is easy, as Zginski possesses all the powers of the undead, including the ability to sexually enslave anyone he chooses. Hoping to learn how his kind copes with the bizarre new era, Zginski tracks down a nest of teenage vampires. But these young vampires have little knowledge of their true nature, having learned most of what they know from movies like Blacula.

Forming an uneasy alliance with the young vampires, Zginski begins to teach them the truth about their powers. They must learn quickly, for there is a new drug on the street – a drug created to specifically target and destroy vampires. As Zginski and his allies track the drug to its source, they may be unwittingly stepping into a fifty-year-old trap that can destroy them all…

Review: Let me get straight to the point with this one – I really liked this book. For a start it had vampires I liked. Main character Zginski is your atypical gothic vampire – he is a blue blood, arrogant, well turned out vampire who can turn into a wolf (but not a bat, why would he want to), control storms and ensnares his victims in a web of sexual desire that possesses them. The fact is his arrogance was his downfall in Wales – he was put on trial after he ensnared all the women of a village in such a way, thus he was publically found guilty of vampirism and staked.

Luckily, or unluckily, the ‘stake’ was in fact a thin dagger (made from a cross, though that was actually unimportant) that didn’t destroy his heart, just pierced it and so he was trapped in a deathlike sleep – until the dagger was removed. He finds himself in a very alien world. This is a world in which racial tensions still publically simmer and in which the vampires (at least the ones he meets) do not realise their own powers.

Indeed they avoid the sun – why would you test the burning to a crisp theory – whilst he can walk around in daylight with impunity (though it hurts his eyes a little and robs him of most of his powers). However, despite this the vampires are real vampires. These are not romantic fools; they are blood drinking sociopaths for the most part and, again, this was something I really enjoyed.

As I read the book I could see the movie; grindhouse style, gritty and nasty. Bledsoe’s razor-sharp writing helped. However, for readers of a gentler persuasion, the racist language used by many characters and sexual violence might be off putting.

The blurb mentions a powder and, without giving too much away, this was our brand new lore that really worked well. A drug that robs the vampire of their bloodlust, makes them lethargic and depressed and brings out all the weaker aspects of their personality. I will also mention that I loved the coda scene – a brutal final twist of the knife. Personally I’d love to see Zginski on the big screen and eagerly await a sequel. 7.5 out of 10.


The Black Count said...

Sounds like a great read by the sound of things. We need more vampire stories like this, The classical vampire ala Dracula, Yorga etc is the way to go.

Can you explain why the new generation didn't know about their own lore and powers? For starters where are the other older vampires in this besides Zginski, and why wouldn't have the vampires that made the new mob pass on the lore?

Also is this traditional blood exchange sire vampirism or something else?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

The younger generation - that we meet - where created and left to their own devices. As such they watched movies etc to get an idea of their powers. Some start to stumble over them but, for example, if you think the sun will kill you, why risk it.

I'll have to double check in book as to the turning process - will comment again later.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Sorry, wasn#t at home and just wanted to check my facts. The vampire turning is bite/kill/turn. However most of the vampires are careful to prevent that happening.

the younger vamps damage the heart, Zginski has a more convoluted dismemberment ritual.

The Black Count said...

Sounds interesting. Thanks.