A familiar but nevertheless engaging tale of love and war in the vampire world.

IMMORTAL OBSESSION

From the Enchanted Bloodline series , Vol. 1

A love story unfolds amid a war between vampire clans in this first book in Rago’s Enchanted Bloodline series.

The story opens with French Revolution–era vampire Christian Du Mauré getting the shock of a long lifetime: His doomed human lover, Josette Delacore, has left him a note informing him that her daughter, Solange, is not the child of her human husband—she’s Christian’s daughter, an almost unprecedented successful union of vampire and human. Centuries pass, and Christian and his friend Michel are part of an ongoing international clash between warring vampire factions, opposed by Gaétan and Gabrielle.An encounter between vampire Lucien and young drug addict Ryan Perretti (in which Lucien partially drains Ryan's blood to sustain himself) gives Lucien a vision of his victim’s beautiful green-eyed sister Amanda, who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The French Revolution was her passion,” readers are told, and she learned a lot while working on a recent exhibition of French Revolution–era jewelry. Unbeknownst to her, she has a deeper connection to the period that fascinates her so much—indeed, a deep blood relationship. After she witnesses her brother’s murder in Central Park, she investigates his strange claims of associating with vampires, and her world and Christian’s collide. Throughout this book, Rago hues fairly closely to the Anne Rice pattern of modern vampire fiction, with vamps that are sexy and alluring rather than outwardly monstrous as well as factional infighting, moments of homoeroticism, and bodice-ripping romance. The characters are dramatic, if sometimes underdeveloped, and the dialogue is often arch. The author also indulges in Rice-style purple prose at times: “She relished drinking their blood, just as the new Regime gorged themselves on the aged champagne of the French aristocrats.” That said, the story’s fast pace will keep fans of the genre intrigued to the last page.

A familiar but nevertheless engaging tale of love and war in the vampire world.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4528-7753-2

Page Count: 279

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2021

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A well-constructed prelude to what promises to be an interesting series.

THE ATLAS SIX

Dangerous intrigues and deadly secrets swirl around six ambitious young magicians competing for entry into a secret society.

In a world very much like our own, except that a certain percentage of humanity is born with magical powers, six extraordinarily gifted people in their 20s are invited to train for membership in the Alexandrian Society, which has carefully and somewhat surreptitiously preserved centuries of priceless knowledge since the (apparent) burning of the Library of Alexandria. At the end of one year, five of the six will be initiated into the Society, and the reader won’t be surprised to learn that the sixth person isn’t allowed to quietly return home. As the year advances, the candidates explore the limits of their unique powers and shift their alliances, facing threats and manipulations from both within and outside of their circle. For most of its length, the book appears to be a well-written but not especially revolutionary latecomer to the post–Harry Potter collection of novels featuring a darker and more cynical approach to magical education; these books include Sarah Gailey’s Magic for Liars, Marina and Sergey Dyachenko’s Vita Nostra, and Lev Grossman’s Magicians series. Blake also offers a significant dash of the older subgenre of students joining a mystical cult requiring a sacrifice, as in Elizabeth Hand’s Waking the Moon and Robert Silverberg’s The Book of Skulls. The character-building is intense and intriguing—such an interior deep dive is practically de rigueur for a story of this type, which depends on self-discovery—but the plot doesn’t seem to be going anywhere surprising. Then, the book's climax devastatingly reveals that Blake was holding her cards close to the vest all along, delicately hinting at a wider plot which only opens up fully—or almost fully—at the end, when it shoves the reader off a cliff to wait for the next book.

A well-constructed prelude to what promises to be an interesting series.

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-85451-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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This novel’s magic goes far beyond the dragons.

WHEN WOMEN WERE DRAGONS

As women around the world inexplicably transform into dragons, a young girl struggles to take care of her cousin in 1950s America.

It’s indecent to speak about dragons, just as it would be indecent to talk about, say, menstruation or the burning, building rage that so many women feel day to day. Because it’s such a forbidden topic, to the extent that scientists who study the dragon transformations are silenced by the government, no one really understands why “dragooning” happens or how it works. When Alex’s Aunt Marla is among the thousands of women who all turn into dragons together on the same day in 1955, her beloved cousin, Beatrice, becomes her adopted sister. And when Alex is in high school and her own mother dies of cancer, her father sticks her in a cheap apartment and tells her she’s old enough to raise Beatrice on her own. Alex inherited her mother’s talent for math and science, and she struggles between her own rage at how her abilities are constantly diminished by the men around her and her resentment that her Aunt Marla became a dragon and abandoned her and Beatrice. But the older Beatrice gets, the more she longs to become a dragon herself, and Alex lives in terror that Beatrice will leave her behind. In lesser hands the dragon metaphor would feel simplistic and general, but Barnhill uses it to imagine different ways of living, loving, and caring for each other. The result is a complex, heartfelt story about following your heart and opening your mind to new possibilities.

This novel’s magic goes far beyond the dragons.

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-385-54822-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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