Karen’s first book in this world was Other and I really enjoyed the characters and mythology she created for us. I was excited to get back to this place with Bloodborn and see what Brock was up to since being bitten by a werewolf. In the last book, we saw how Others live amongst the humans and are known about, but not always well liked. The werewolves were on the outskirts of the story, but are the main event for Bloodborn. Brock and his ex-girlfriend Cynthia are kidnapped by the pack with the man that bit Brock. While with them, Brock needs to learn where his loyalties really lie. His whole life he has been taught to hate Others, he thinks they should all be hunted to extinction, but now that he is one, he is not sure what to think.
Bloodborn is told through Brock’s eyes, which are full of hate, prejudice and self-loathing. I understand his anger, he has been thrust into a life that he did not choose, but was forced there by a stupid mistake him and his brother made. So, it was tough for me to empathize with him. He is so negative all the time and his hatred of Others runs so deep it is frustrating to read about at times. I am not a fan of prejudice in any form and having to be in the head of a person constantly burning for revenge was not my favorite experience. I get that he is going through an enormous amount of changes and they are difficult to accept, but hating the world is not getting him anywhere and it is what got him into this mess in the first place. This does not mean I did not enjoy the story, because I did, I just grew weary of the negativity. On the positive side, I do like that we follow him through his journey in discovering what is really important and where he belongs, I just wish he could have figured it out a little faster so his thoughts could have been a little brighter, rather than doom and gloom all the time.
As with Other, the plot of Bloodborn moved along very quickly and there is rarely a moment of down time. It kept me guessing about what trouble Brock was going to find himself in next, especially since I was surprised by quite a few of his decisions as the novel progressed. I always like when authors keep the plot moving forward this way because it keeps me engaged and excited about the story. Karen has done well with that with both her novels.
Since I have been talking about Other quite a bit I would like to mention that it is not necessary to read that book before Bloodborn. Other is only a companion novel to Bloodborn, not a prequel or the first book in a series. Karen gives you enough information in Bloodborn to understand what events took place in Other that led to Brock’s situation now. However, I would recommend reading Other because it does enhance the overall experience and there are great characters in there!
Overall, I did enjoy Bloodborn and getting to see where Brock’s past decisions have led him, but I did not like it as much as Other. I connected more with Gwen than I did with Brock. I could not sympathize completely with all the hatred Brock felt and therefore did not crave learning more about him like I did with Gwen. I still think Karen has given us a fascinating world and solid characters to learn more about, but Bloodborn was just okay for me, while Other was fantastic! If you enjoyed Other, I would still read Bloodborn because it does have great action and interesting paranormal characters throughout. Brock also learns a tough lesson and Karen writes his journey well. I look forward to future books from Karen in this world!