Sue "DavinciKittie" Brown-Moore's Reviews > A Blood Seduction

A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer
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's review
May 08, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: pamela-palmer, vamp-city, paranormal-romance-urban-fantasy
Read in May, 2012

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This review will have some plot spoilers, although hopefully not major ones, because I'm finding it difficult to express why I felt certain ways about the book without referencing specific aspects that reveal more of the story's content than I normally like in a review.


Being such an avid fan of the Feral Warriors series, I was really looking forward to reading A Blood Seduction. A new vampire series from one of my favorite shifter series authors? Hell, yeah! I was all set to devour this book and rave about it for weeks; I usually enjoy Ms. Palmer's style that much.

However, I realized pretty early on that this wasn't going to be a marquee story for me. It was only last month I read, and felt the same way about, Julie Kagawa's new vamp series starter The Immortal Rules. Apparently, dystopian urban fantasies are just not my thing, vampires or no. Light, humorous, sometimes glamorous, and always guaranteed to have a fully Happily Ever After... now that I can get behind. (Note to self: no more oppressive UF for you, missy!)

The setting is Washington V.C. (Vamp City), an exact replica of the real Washington D.C... in 1870. Only this version is in perpetual twilight and is falling to ruin as the magic that created and maintains it fails.

The tone of this book is dark. It is gritty and it is sobering. Even though I felt compelled to keep reading, I did not enjoy spending time in Vamp City. All my instincts were screaming "No! Get out! Run the other way!", like watching one of those horror flicks where you know bad things are coming and you can't do anything about it. The paranormal creatures in V.C. are not sweet, romantic, or even sympathetic. Vampires are truly monsters and humans are lowly slaves - food, entertainment, and labor. These vamps do not even feed off lust, as far as we know so far, only pain and fear.

That's not to say I didn't find some overall enjoyment in the book, but it didn’t have that same pizazz the Feral books have. No sense of brotherhood or teamwork, no safe haven to return to when the fighting is done, no roiling intensity between the main characters.

I also had misgivings about the main male character (I hesitate to call him a protagonist). While I felt lulled into liking Arturo (and I actually did mostly like him), I most definitely did not trust him, and his allegience was made painfully clear on several occasions. There was something off about him, something that made me not WANT to like him, as if he'd betray "us" at a crucial moment, and that is a strange place to be... liking, but not wanting to like, the hero. I'm not completely sure that was the intended reader reaction to the book's most prominent male character, who is obviously intended as Quinn's love interest. I liked Kassius, a secondary character, more than Arturo, and that's a little disturbing to me.

Quinn on the other hand was both relatable and frustrating. Why do heroines like to repeat the same mistakes? Don't they watch the movies they're doomed to live out? I understand her drive to save her brother but I don't think she went about it smartly, wandering around without a solid plan in an incredibly dangerous environment. The sexual chemistry also felt off, compared to the blazing passion most of Ms. Palmer's shifter couples have, and I wonder if that was partly due to the disconnect with Arturo. Even considering that, the sex scenes felt a little mechanical, almost forced, and the circumstances leading to the big one were suspiciously engineered.

I think part of my discomfort with the story arc was that the heroine was essentially powerless for the majority of the book. She fumbles through and manages to stay alive and get the information she needs, but other characters constantly had to come to her rescue. I think once she really starts to embrace her power, I'll enjoy the series more. I need my ladies to be able to kick a little ass, if you know what I mean. ;)

So that's a whole lot of what I DIDN'T like. Here's the silver lining...
Pamela Palmer is a talented author with a knack for dropping her audience right into the characters' heads. We see what they see and feel what they feel, even understand tiny nuances of their personalities. The setting, Vamp City, is excruciatingly real-feeling. The cruelties, the suffering, the excesses, the decay... all is depicted efficiently and creatively, with a minimum of unnecessary excess flourish. The supernatural creatures were distinctly otherworldly in their morals and customs, and the depths of the suffering of the human slaves was agonizingly clear yet intriguingly complex. I imagine lovers of dystopian and dark fantasy will probably eat this up.

Zach, Quinn's brother, was also a highlight for me. I loved his innocent, geeky, gamer boy persona and his sensitive heart. His journey touched me the most and I'm really looking forward to seeing where his path leads next.

Score: 3.5/5

Review copy provided by publisher. No reimbursement or payment was received for this review.
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