>> Tuesday, November 27, 2012
TITLE: Thicker Than Blood (in First Blood anthology)
AUTHOR: Meljean Brook
I've no idea how, but I seem to have missed this one when it came out. Good think I'm being methodical about this series reread!
A few years ago, Annie was turned into a vampire. One of the consequences of that was having to leave behind the man she loved, Jack. Jack was told Annie had died, and never really got over it. They meet again when Annie follows home a stranger who reminds her of Jack, intending to make him her blood donor that night.
This is a really good short story. The plot is interesting, but Brook keeps it simple and straighforward. The focus is really on the romance, and a lovely one it is, too. Jack and Annie already share a connection and the love they felt for each other hasn't gone away, which allows the author to concentrate on them coming to terms with the implications of Annie being a vampire. It's an emotional and powerful story.
The story is set in the Guardians universe, but it feels a bit separate, with the characters we know and love making only cameo appearances. Much as I love them, I didn't mind.
Thicker Than Blood was published in the First Blood anthology, alongside stories by Susan Sizemore, Erin McCarthy and Crystal Green. I had a look at reviews and I'm not tempted to try them. Seems like a bit of a waste, but I'd rather waste money than time.
MY GRADE: A B+
TITLE: The Second Seduction of a Lady
AUTHOR: Miranda Neville
This novella sets up Miranda Neville's upcoming series, providing us with a glimpse of the heroine of the first book as a young, headstrong girl. The novella tells the story of her aunt, Eleanor Hardwick. 5 years earlier, Eleanor fell in love with Max Quinton, and he with her. Unfortunately, there was a bet involved (your typical "£££ for anyone who manages to get a kiss from that frigid bitch" kind of thing). Max wasn't really participating in that wager, and only approached Eleanor because he fell in lust with her the moment he saw her, but that's not what the instigator of the wager told Eleanor. So, as soon as she could be sure she hadn't got pregnant from the night they got carried away, she unceremoniously dumped Max and refused to have anything to do with him. As the novella starts, they meet again and keep meeting, when the young people they are responsible for become infatuated with each other.
I liked the idea of the set-up, but in the end, I just found this boring and not very engaging. The characters were fine, the writing was fine, the plot was fine... just ok. Nothing special. I didn't feel particularly engaged with the characters, and didn't particularly care what happened. I only finished it because it was short. Speaking of which, this finished at 60%ish on my kindle, which was very annoying. I usually check when the promo material starts, especially with novellas, but I completely forgot to do it here. The reading experience changes completely if you're reading the closing sequence and you think there's over a third of the book to go. It feels strange, you wonder what the conflict will be, since everything seems to be resolved. Hmph!
MY GRADE: A C-.