Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blood of My World series books 1 to 3 – review

Author: AP Fuchs

Contains spoilers

Book 1: Discovery of Death

When I started looking at the first three books of the Blood of my World series the first thing I noted was that they were rather short, as they are novellas with each one individually available for download via Amazon. However I thought I would look at the first three together as, all told, they would come together to the length of a novel.

They are billed as romance and one thing that drew me was the fact that they were romance books, unusually, written by a man. Romance isn’t my natural element but I appreciate well written prose. However I wanted to see what a male perspective of the romance genre was like… we’ll get to that (on a volume by volume basis).

The book concerns, primarily, two characters: Rose, a young girl who is emotionally lost as her boyfriend Zach vanished a few months before the start of the novel and Zach himself. Rose herself might be lost but I did not get the sense of a weak character searching for a white knight to pull her from the mire. Rather there was still a strength but it had no direction.

When we meet Zach it is as he awakens as a vampire. The lore sees a variety of turning rules. Some turn within minutes, some take months. Zach was the latter and he also suffered from amnesia with regards his human life – a common side effect. I do like a good awakening-as-a-vampire-section and this was very good.

Other lore we discover is that vampires burn in the sun but can venture out on overcast days, they can dematerialise and fly and silver is an issue. There is a suggestion of inter-vampire breeding, with the baby sent as a changeling to human fosters and then taken back and turned when of age. Whether this is true or propaganda by his vampire family is not revealed.

We discover that Rose’s parents live a double life as slayers and this is revealed to Rose when tragedy strikes the family. Her parents have noticed that, whilst beheading was a sure fire way to kill a vampire, some now seem able to grow back their head. A stake (or silver blade) through the heart is necessary and even then some vampires do not dust and thus, when this is the case, they keep the cadavers in silver caskets in a vampire hunter’s version of a penitentiary.

Vampires, of course, drink blood and in this steal memories through the blood. I loved the description of the first feed even more than the awakening scene, a sexually charged experience that delivers a euphoric hit that is guaranteed to remove a vampire’s squeamishness (should it exist). These vampires are bad, dangerous and schemers it would seem and it is clear there is more going on than meets the eyes. As for romance… to be fair there is none in this part, or should I say there is the description of romance’s absence. Rose and Zach do not meet in the first volume.

Book 2: Memories of Death

In memories of Death Marcus, Rose's father, trains Rose in the ways of the slayers but she has begun to realise that Zach is out there and a vampire. Eventually they meet, illicitly, and Zach fights his own nature in order that he might be with her.

Fuchs sets up a situation where vampires, allegedly, have no emotion and yet clearly Zach feels strongly, instinctively, for the girl – his love overcoming his death induced amnesia and time spent with Rose causing his memories to come back to fits and starts.

The other main lore addition we get in this is that whilst vampires burn in sunlight (and it is a painful injury that heals slower than normal injuries), it won’t kill the vampire unless the fire reaches the heart.

In this book we get the more romance edge introduced and it is at this point I start to look at this out of interest as to where a male writer would take the romance. This is not hearts and flowers, whilst there is an undertone that tries to suggest perfect love the detail we get is of a love that is, at best, flawed. Zach actively – as the series continues into the next volume – lies to Rose, he rationalises his actions and she, through this volume attempts a lie of omission to him. This makes it seem more real then perhaps the idealised love of other romances.

The vampires are still dangerous and there is always the tension between the darkness nestled in Zach’s heart and the love he feels for the girl.

Book 3: Life of Death

It is difficult to mention anything plot wise with regards this volume without spoiling the previous two. Suffice it to say that Zach and Rose find themselves hiding out from the world.

In this volume we discover more in-depth lore with regards the vampires’ ability to read minds, that their power of 'dematerialisation' actually seems to be more a case of inhumanely fast movement and we also discover that they cast no reflection.

If the last volume introduced the romance, this volume highlights the flaws and the fight to maintain the love despite the flaws. However it also has some highly visceral killing and fight scenes that belie any romance in the book, we also get a view of the schemes hinted at in the first volume.

The series so far…

I actually really rather enjoyed these volumes. A gripe might be that they could, with ease, have been one novel rather than three novellas but, in reality, the costs of the novellas in kindle format is negligible. The novella format makes each book a quick read. The prose is well written and the vampires, as I have tried to highlight earlier, are powerful, vicious and certainly evil. Even when tempered by the tricky emotion called love they are brutal killers by nature. Worth checking as a series. 7 out of 10 overall for the three volumes.

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