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 gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic.

LORE

To get revenge for her family’s murder seven years ago, Lore must reenter a deadly contest from her past.

Leaving the conflict of gods and their hunters behind, Lore thought she had forged a new life. However, the Agon has begun again and brought with it an injured Athena, who promises her revenge on the one who ordered her family killed—in exchange for an oath binding their fates together. Lore must hunt down the god once known as Aristos Kadmou, with the catch that she only has eight days. Also, failure means the deaths of both Lore and Athena. Depictions of graphic violence and discussions of sexual assault are frequent, creating a tale as violent and unforgiving as its source material, albeit narrated through a feminist lens. Much like the heroes of ancient epics, Lore is a morally ambiguous but ultimately likable character, struggling to eliminate the monsters of her world while not falling into the brutality of her youth. She is contrasted with the idealistic Castor, her childhood friend and love interest, with whom she has plenty of chemistry. Bracken builds a rich world around a skeleton of ancient Greek mythology that is perfect to read on a dull weekend and sure to delight readers. Most main characters are cued as White; there are two men of color, both gay.

A gripping revenge story with enough twists to avoid becoming formulaic. (cast of characters) (Fantasy. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4847-7820-3

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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A perilous, magic-school adventure that falls short of its potential.

A DEADLY EDUCATION

From the The Scholomance series , Vol. 1

A loosely connected group of young magicians fight horrendous creatures to ensure their own survival.

Galadriel "El" Higgins knows how dangerous the Scholomance is. Her father died during the school's infamous graduation ceremony, in which senior students run through a gauntlet of magic-eating monsters, just to make sure her pregnant mother made it out alive. Now a student herself at the nebulous, ever shifting magic school, which is populated with fearsome creatures, she has made not making friends into an art form. Not that anyone would want to be her friend, anyway. The only time she ever met her father's family, they tried to kill her, claiming she posed an existential threat to every other wizard. And, as a spell-caster with a natural affinity for using other people's life forces to power destructive magic, maybe she does. No one gave Orion Lake that memo, however, so he's spent the better part of the school year trying to save El from every monster that comes along, much to her chagrin. With graduation fast approaching, El hatches a plan to pretend to be Orion's girlfriend in order to secure some allies for the deadly fight that lies ahead, but she can't stop being mean to the people she needs the most. El's bad attitude and her incessant info-dumping make Novik's protagonist hard to like, and the lack of chemistry between the two main characters leaves the central romantic pairing feeling forced. Although the conclusion makes space for a promising sequel, getting there requires readers to give El more grace than they may be willing to part with.

A perilous, magic-school adventure that falls short of its potential.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Del Rey

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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