CHOOSING A MASTER by S.M.  Perlow

CHOOSING A MASTER

Vampires and the Life of Erin Rose
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A vampire yarn combines passion, melodrama, and a legacy of bloodlust.

In this opening installment of his vampire saga, entrepreneur and prolific fantasy novelist Perlow (Golden Dragons, Gilded Age, 2015, etc.) finds inspiration in the Gothic environs of New Orleans, creating a world where two factions dominate. Spectavi vampires are a well-organized cabal, led by overlord Edmond, who drink synthetic blood, while the Sanguans are hunters, purely liberated, who crave the real thing. Sanguan vampire Ethan roams the streets, quenching his thirst. The love of his life, Ellie, a mortal who refused to become a vampire, lies dying in a coma, and he is determined to find a cure through a unique blood type that has curative, regenerative properties. This extraordinary blood belongs to recently divorced John Breen, a tall, thin mortal traveling across Europe to soothe his broken heart at Sanguan nightclubs, where he enjoys the bites of random vampires who relish his exclusive plasma. He becomes known in vampire circles as the man with “blood like that of a god,” and there’s a race between factions to access his lifesaving fluid. He meets Vera, a Spectavi scientist, who becomes embroiled in his situation, which turns complicated once he learns of his “savior” status and the medical impact his blood could have on the terminally ill. In a singular twist, blood drinking also affords vampires the ability to absorb the host’s memories, which adds tension to the frantic intent to obtain John’s blood. Character-driven and written with brio and an obvious love of everything vampiric, this tale does an expert job of conjuring a fantasy world, incorporating the eternally warring factions—with vivid tidbits about sexless, coffin-dwelling vampires—and tracing the moves of a population that harbors centuries of rich, dramatic histories and for which love and life still reign supreme. An intriguing back story embellishes the main plot with lush details and centuries-old lore about blood lineages, long-held animosities, and the struggle for social dominance. As the story evolves, Ethan turns violently desperate to save his true love, as other characters become enmeshed in the plot with their fangs out. This genre-reviving inaugural entry is cleverly paced and plotted with serpentine flourishes and enough action and romance to satisfy fans of Anne Rice as well as fantasy readers.

A solid, enduring, addictive vampire epic with great potential that readers should be thrilled to sink their teeth into.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 2018
Page count: 302pp
Publisher: Bealion Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2018