Thursday, June 25, 2020

Child of the Night (Power of the Blood World Book 1) – review

Author: Nancy Kilpatrick

First Published: 2011

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: POWER OF THE BLOOD WORLD Revised and Updated!

Child of the Night is book 1 of a 4 vampire-novel series that throbs with danger, treachery, betrayal, cruelty and dark, sultry romance. In a world where the undead are wary of and competitive and view humans as only prey, amazingly, three Blooddrinkers from different eras and cultures are able to form relationships. But change breeds more change as their individual stories unfold, blending and escalating, adding pieces until the horrifying picture becomes clear: both species are in danger of extinction!


André is a cold predator and Carol, a human woman with nothing to lose, becomes his preferred prey. In the blink of an eye, things alter for the better,—and then for the worse. Change can be deadly, especially for a mortal who now realizes she does have something to lose!

The review: I am kind of torn when it comes to this review. Yes, the author is a Facebook friend but that is not the reason why, and I endeavour to always write an honest review. Rather, well you see Nancy Kilpatrick is a strong wordsmith and this volume – first published in 2011 and revised and re-released in 2020 – is no exception to that. The writing is strong, the vampires interesting, though not nearly as much as they are in her Thrones of Blood series. Indeed, with this having a strong thread of eroticism in it I can draw a line in conceptual undercurrent between this contemporary based series opener and the later series – indeed both books have an underpinning of sexual violence that I’ll return to.

So why torn. Well it comes down to the primary characters – vampire André and human Carol and the fact that I found neither likeable. André is an abusive, egoistic narcissist, with anger management issues and Carol? She should illicit the reader’s sympathy or, perhaps, even concerns. A recent divorcee, whose ex-husband may have given her HIV, she is targeted by the vampire, manages to escape but is captured the next night and (to prevent her impending, envisioned murder) offers herself sexually to him, agreeing to be, essentially, a sex slave for a fortnight if he does not kill her (she assumes he is a part of some blood fetishing cult, rather than an actual vampire). Its just, I couldn’t summon that sympathy; the character played out as a co-dependent in an abusive relationship who could not escape (again a trope that should illicit sympathy) but, probably because the eroticism was drawn from the dominance/submission and, let’s be honest rapey, scenario, the book kind of revelled in the relationship (it is the primary story-foundation) rather than using it as a morality play.

As I say, I could see parallels with the author’s later series, and the sexual violence within that – but somehow it was less disturbing within that fantasy/sci-fi setting with vampires who really were like another species - their alien design and nature feeling more fitting within their unique scenario.

Now that’s not to say that the book isn’t worthwhile. The vampires are more on the standard lore-build – though it allows that male vampires might impregnate a mortal woman on very rare occasions (through an act of love) and that child – at around the 9 or 10 mark must chose to be mortal or vampire. There was a quote at the head of the novel by Mary Renault, "it is not the bloodletting that calls down power. It is the consenting". I thought this was a great concept – though the vampires in the story don’t seem to rely on consent for their feeding and, with hindsight, the quote seems more aimed towards the coerced consent that Carol offers sexually. However, the reason I found the vampires interesting was within their social structuring and the idea that this mismatch of alpha predators were able to draw together through the non-interference rules they developed.

So strong, confident prose, a story that is very eroticism orientated, with the warning that the abuse-based nature might be upsetting for some readers (forewarned is forearmed), and an interesting social structure for the vampires. On the other hand, I could not gel with the primary characters. 6 out of 10.

On Kindle @ Amazon US

On Kindle @ Amazon UK

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