BLOODFEUD by Ryan Watson


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Two California scientists become entangled in an ancient war between supernatural beings in Watson’s (Annie Aimright, 2018, etc.) fantasy thriller.

Vaylin Oshiro, a Stanford University student, calls his crush, Fierra Thames, after their first-semester finals (and a few months of intimacy); he asks her thoughts on love, and she responds that she doesn’t believe in it. However, when he starts seeing artist Arianna, whom he later marries, Fierra is filled with jealousy. Years later, while Vaylin and Fierra are working at Xeradyne Lab, Arianna dies in a car crash, along with their unborn child. Devastated, he eventually tries to take his own life. Shortly after being discharged from the hospital, he stumbles into an art exhibition and finally ends up at the house of the artist, Chrystas Krueger. They engage in interesting conversation and drink chilled vodka, and Chrystas does a sketch of Vaylin. Then she suddenly sinks her fangs into his neck, turning him into a blood-craving vampire. He tells Fierra, who’s fascinated by the research potential in studying a vampire’s genetic markers, so Vaylin agrees to infect her, as well. For Fierra, killing comes easy, and her complex plans to gain power catch the attention of centuries-old vampires, who enlist her help to rule all the covens. Soon, Fierra and Vaylin are on different sides in a war between vampires and a group of shape-shifters. Watson’s fantasy starts strong, recounting both Fierra’s and Vaylin’s relationships with their single parents. As the story goes on, however, the sometimes-abrupt changes in time period and location may cause confusion. Watson’s writing is fluid, and his dream sequences, in particular, flow with precision. In one scene, for example, Fierra dreams of the potential success of her research: “The fluttering dollars merged together and morphed into a great black bat….Fierra beheld its widening eyes as her dream replaced its face with Vaylin’s. Vaylin’s dreamy doppelgänger bit the woman and every church bell throughout Rome tolled.” A cliffhanger ending leaves potential for a sequel.

An uneven fantasy tale of jealousy and war that would have benefited from a clearer timeline.

Pub Date: Aug. 29th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-71792-096-6
Page count: 382pp
Publisher: Self
Program: Kirkus Indie
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