BITES consists of two dramatically different stories, each one a dark and atmospheric gem, a bite of pure reading enjoyment. Ninfa Hayes displays the...more BITES consists of two dramatically different stories, each one a dark and atmospheric gem, a bite of pure reading enjoyment. Ninfa Hayes displays the strength of her writing skills by picking such diverse story lines and succeeding so brilliantly with both.
In "Last of the Blood," Damon Blackwood, born in London in 1896, lives a soulless childhood in an orphanage. Enlisting as a soldier in World War I, he experiences the horrors of war at an early age. One night is different: Damon is approached by a trio of Vampires, led by the powerful Master Gabriel, who recruit him into their Covenant. Damon settles in to his new way of life.
---------------------------- Quote from the story: Gabriel says we give them the best time of their lives. They are well fed, well dressed and loved, almost worshipped … until the last drop of their blood slithers down our throat. Then they're nothing more than a nuisance.
I don't know when I stopped caring, and just embraced it; when the last shred of humanity fled in the face of the being I have become.
It feels good not to care.
Gabriel was right to choose me. ------------------------------
Trouble is brewing inside the Covenant. Gabriel becomes obsessed with the Countess Nataliya, whom Damon believes is evil. Gabriel claims Nataliya for his own, making her immortal. Damon feels he can no longer stay with the family he's deeply attached to, and strikes out on his own. The rest of the story covers Damon's travels and his attempt to deal with the chain of events that Nataliya sets in motion.
------------------------------ Quote from the story: When I'm about to reach the Underground station, I hear the first sirens and screams. I can sense the Vampire minds stirring ... Tonight, London will run with blood.
As I enter the station, a pain so strong hits me that I fall to my knees.
My eyes are full of tears, and I wail in anguish, as I experience the first Vampire death.
------------------------------- An outstanding, bittersweet story for older YA and adult readers, "Last of the Blood" is a creative and engaging vision of the intimate lives of vampires.
In "Demonica," Ninfa turns her imagination to a legend of origin, a very early time when the Garden of Eden exists along with humans on Earth. Eden is in a magical location flanked on one side by the home of Darkness, of Lylith and her progeny of incubi, succubi, vampires, and werewolves. On the other of Eden lies the home of the Light, the Angels, the faithful servants of the Gods. A son or daughter of the residents of Eden is chosen each year to join the Darkness or the Light. The choices made in Eden, over time, will determine the fate of the humans on Earth. Will the Light or the Darkness become more powerful?
The story is told in a refreshing point of view by Irina, a sixteen-year-old girl of Eden whose mother expects her to be chosen by the Light. Irina has her own feelings and desires, though, and from the beginning she and her mother have different expectations.
------------------------------ Quote from the story: Every year, Daemons and Angels come for us, to choose the worthiest amongst the Children of Eden and ask them to serve. Good girls go to the Celestial Court, my mother used to tell me … but honestly, who wants to be a good girl when you can have fun? ------------------------------
On the day of the Midwinter Solstice, the knock on the door isn't Irina's betrothed, a boring young carpenter, to claim her in marriage. Instead there's a Daemon at the door, come to claim Irina for the Daemonic Court. It turns out that Irina is no ordinary recruit for the Darkness; she bears a birthmark of a fleur-de-lis, Lylith's mark, on her shoulder. Irina's entrance into the Daemonic Court stirs loyalty and jealousy, and later lands her in the arms of an Angel. There are warring factions on both sides, Angels and Daemons, and Irina's presence triggers momentous events.
In spite of its short length, "Demonica" has remarkable complexity and depth of backstory, and I could see it becoming the start of a series. First, though, I'd like to see it written at novel length to have more time to explore the ideas presented. For older YA and adult readers.
To summarize, I feel that Bites is a terrific debut, a dark pair of stories that will grab and keep your attention. Ninfa has a gift for vivid description that pulls you into the scene. My favorite of the two was "Demonica," although "Last of the Blood" was a close second. I highly recommend this book as a fresh reading experience and eagerly await more stories from Ninfa Hayes.(less)
I wondered whether I would be able to get into this book, not being a baseball aficionado. My reserve faded fast as I melted into the humanity of this...moreI wondered whether I would be able to get into this book, not being a baseball aficionado. My reserve faded fast as I melted into the humanity of this story of a son torn between loving his abusive father and his boyish admiration for a baseball wunderkind. An unexpected but welcome book from John Grisham that I recommend for a change of pace from the courtroom. (less)