I mentioned how I love zombies. Well, there is another sub-genre which peaks the deep dark mountain of madness which is my interest. That is the sub-g...moreI mentioned how I love zombies. Well, there is another sub-genre which peaks the deep dark mountain of madness which is my interest. That is the sub-genre of the vampire. Nosferatu. Dracul. Other words that make me seem smarter than I actually am. I love vampire fiction. The myth and monster is fascinating. A human cursed to wander the earth forced to drink the blood of the living to survive. What's not to love? I also disagree with the statement the vampire fiction has been ruined by twilight. Listen: there is a lot worse vampire fiction out there then twilight. Twilight is just the most popular. Sad, but true. Does that mean that twilight is good? No, of course not. But I'm not talking about twilight. I am talking about one of my favorite vampire novels, Christopher Farnsworth's Blood Oath.
One of the two main characters in Blood Oath is a young man named Zach Barrows, an up-and-comer trying to become the youngest white house chief of staff. Zach unfortunately makes a huge mistake when working for the fictional president of the United States. He sleeps with his daughter in the Lincoln bedroom.This actually gets creepier when the future books make reference to the theory that the bedroom is still haunted by Lincoln's ghost. After that Zach is "promoted" to becoming the handler for the United States' biggest secret. Nathaniel Cade, the president's vampire. Okay, here's the gist. Cade is a one hundred and forty year old vampire who has worked under every US president since Andrew Johnson. One who made a blood oath(hence the title) so now he literally has to follow every order given by the president and anyone under his command. Cade is an extremely valuable resource, as you can guess, and has basically been the only line of defense against "the other side". What's the other side? Basically every monster from the deep dark recesses of your nightmares who try every day to cross into our world and turn the entire human race into their own personal hunting ground and all you can eat buffet. Together Zach and Cade will try to stop a supernatural terrorist plot, an immortal nazi, and an evil shadow company inside the US government.
The characters in Blood Oath are its strongest trait. It's hard to get as excited as I do when one of the sequels come out. Zach is great as the straight man, without feeling useless. This is pretty impressive when you work with a guy who can grab you from shoulder to shoulder and rip you down the middle like you're a piece of paper. Zach actually feels valuable. He goes from a whining little brat to likable hero. I know that you're wondering about Cade. As I said Cade gave a blood oath to president Andrew Johnson. Since then he has protected this country against what hides in the dark. Cade refuses to drink human blood, and it's slowly killing him. Don't get me wrong. Cade is a monster, but he will never stop trying to be human. Cade's character is all about his human side and his vampire side constantly fighting for control. He wears a cross around his neck. This is why we love Cade. Because he feels human. It also has a great villain in Johann Conrad, the original doctor Frankenstein. Yes, Dracula vs Frankenstein. Intrigued yet?
The world of Blood Oath is better than I could imagine. Every chapter begins with an excerpt from classified files which add to the world. Some or movie and book references and others real conspiracy theories. Along with some terrific flashback sequences with Cade, these help the world feel real, which make it the more frightening.
The novel has a believable world, terrific characters, and a great story which ends in an exciting climax in the White House. Each of the sequels are just as good, and I recommend reading all of them, and then read the others which come after. Christopher Farnsworth has become one of my favorite authors because of this series, and I hope he becomes one yours to.
Talk about a hook. This novel has one of the opening chapters I can think of. Meet Odd, Odd Thomas. Odd is a fry cook in a small California town. Soun...moreTalk about a hook. This novel has one of the opening chapters I can think of. Meet Odd, Odd Thomas. Odd is a fry cook in a small California town. Sounds pretty normal right? Well, Odd is anything but. Odd can see dead people. He uses this ability the best he can to help people. The problem is the dead cant speak. The dead are not the only extra-ordinary things that Odd can see. Bodachs he calls them. Strange animal-shaped shadow-like creatures that show up before violent deaths. Normally Odd only sees a few. But he is starting to see dozens of them. Odd must figure out what is going on, and hopefully try to prevent it. This book has plenty of colorful characters and a very interesting premise. Odd is a great protagonist. Extremely likable and well fleshed out. You especially sympathize with him after a disturbing confrontation with his mother giving you a perfect sense of his childhood. My only problem, and it's a small one, is that it gets a little slow towards the middle. But speeds up to a great conclusion.(less)
Miriam Black knows when you are going to die. This is the tagline to this fun, dark, and violent urban fantasy by Chuck Wendig. I was excited about th...moreMiriam Black knows when you are going to die. This is the tagline to this fun, dark, and violent urban fantasy by Chuck Wendig. I was excited about this book, because the concepts of psychics intrigues me. People who can see into the future or read the thoughts of others. A book with a psychic protagonist that is written by Chuck Wendig. Color me intrigued .Really this review is kind of pointless, because once you see that amazing cover art you will want to read it regardless of if it's good. Especially in a time where most book covers consist of angsty teenagers looking at the camera with a single dark color as background.
As I said, the hero of the story is Miriam Black. A beautiful and damaged drifter who can see how anyone is going to die by touching them. At the beginning of the story she shakes the hand of a kind truck driver named Louis and sees that his death involves her. What follows is a dark, twisted ride that is a hell of a lot of fun.
The best part of the book is the protagonist Miriam Black. I fucking loved Miriam. She's smart, tough, and creatively foul-mouthed. I would add sexy, but that's a pretty good description right there. Most importantly, though, she's deep. She has a sympathetic and tragic back story which Wendig only reveals enough to inform you, but also leaves enough mystery to keep you interested. You get happy when she's happy. You cringe when she get's hurt, and she get's hurt. Miriam get's the shit beat out of her, but she always get's back up. That is the trait of a great hero, and Miriam is the hero of this story.You want to see her defy fate even though everything that has happened has said she can't
The other characters were great, as well. The gentle giant Louis, the mischievous Ashley, the intimidating Frankie and Harriet. The book has Wendig's signature writing style which is hilarious. The atmosphere Wendig's writing creates is dark and mysterious. It gives the reader a sense that anything is possible.
If I have to give a real criticism I would say that some of the different story elements don't seem to click. It feels like some of the characters were taken from a different story and placed in the book for convenience. Even with that said it still works.
Blackbirds was one hell of a ride. A dark, witty, violent, and creatively-foulmouthed adventure on the back of one awesome psychic. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the character of Miriam and can't wait for the sequel Mockingbird in August.(less)