Friday, November 30, 2012

Redemption – review

Author: Susannah Sandlin

Release date: 2012

Contains spoilers

The blurb: Not since Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series has a sexier band of vampires roamed the American South. Fans of paranormal romance will be captivated by the immortals of Penton, Alabama, introduced in this début novel from Susannah Sandlin’s thrilling new series.

The world’s vampire population is on the brink of starvation. Since the vaccine for a global pandemic rendered human blood toxic, the vampires’ only hope for survival is to find unvaccinated humans to be donors. In the tiny town of Penton, Alabama, four-hundred-year-old Aidan Murphy has created a rare haven from the famine, a place where vampires and pure-blooded humans peacefully coexist. But when his estranged brother descends upon Penton to wreak havoc, Aiden makes a desperate choice. He kidnaps an unvaccinated human doctor to replenish their food supply—and finds himself falling in love for the first time in nearly four centuries.

The review: I don’t know why I do it… subject myself to the occasional paranormal romance… wait, I do… it’s because the ones I read have vampires in them and this one has floated like literary flotsam and jetsam into my awareness. And thus I read it

The thing is, some paranormal romances work; they prove themselves to be well-written and, whilst not my favourite sub-genre of books (at all), have a lot to recommend them—especially to those who actually are fans of the romance genre.

This was, unfortunately, not the case with Redemption. The author certainly came up with an interesting starting idea. A pandemic vaccine that makes humans poisonous to vampires was a really good starting point. Now the blurb mentions kidnapping a human doctor, Krys, to replenish their food supply and this does the plot a disservice. She is kidnapped because they do not have a doctor and the bad vampires are up to no good, injuries are expected.

Of course, despite this creepy start to their relationship, they are bound to be star crossed lovers destined for each other. It is here where the book faltered, in the romance. There was a good general story idea and the author has to spoil it all by having a character say something stupid like “I love you”.

The romance sections were, frankly, turgid. I had to wade through them and wait to get back to the more interesting narrative. These sections needed honing however. The fact that, should a vampire bind a human to them, only members of their scathe (a metaphysically bonded group of vampires) can feed from them, and so bad guy Owen can’t just take the humans in the town, made the slowness of his actions implausible. The fact that he takes so long getting around to killing his brother (which would free the food supply and grant him a pardon from a death sentence at the hands of the vampires’ ruling tribunal) was unbelievable and simply served to pad the story. The alleged desertion of one of Aidan’s top vampires was too simplistically handled, and Owen’s attempt at urban terrorism rang hollow when it was clear that a bomb he set off would kill more human food-stock than vampires.

However there was a potentially nice little baseline story that just needed polishing – just the romance needed ditching. 4 out of 10.

First reviewed at Amazon UK as part of Amazon Vine.

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