All Things Urban Fantasy's Reviews > Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney
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's review
Mar 09, 13

bookshelves: 2013-february-hotp, reviewed-by-julia
Read in February, 2013

With the haunting, opium dream of THE DROWNING GIRL fresh in my mind, I was very curious to see how Caitlin Kiernan’s intricate, puzzle box storytelling would translate to urban fantasy. Though writing under a fresh nom de plume, Tierney brings that characteristic darkness; writing a charismatic, unreliable heroine, as defined by her addictions as by her supernatural nature. It’s not just Quinn that is broken and flawed, but her complicated world of betrayal, lies, and every-man-for-himself politics.

Perhaps most impressive out of this narrative is the fact that while I doubted Quinn’s narrative at times, I never lost interest in her. A liar, a junkie, two different kinds of monster… and yet worryingly fragile as well. Quinn has no special insight to protect her from trusting the wrong person, and while the action in BLOOD ORANGES moves quickly and clearly, it’s by no means easy to decide where the line between “good guy” and “bad guy” lies. The ambiguity of Quinn’s world made this story all the more gritty and realistic. Though dark, the supernatural violence of Quinn’s life is almost overshadowed by the grim realities of her human past. And I never felt like the abuse and neglect and prostitution in Quinn’s narrative was simply for shock value, or that it benumbed me to the present tense story.

Tierney has written a heroine that I never stopped caring for. Sometimes I doubted her, most of the time I worried about her, but I never felt disconnected or lost hope. Not your typical urban fantasy, BLOOD ORANGES is a mesmerizing exploration of magic without certainty, the day to day details about surviving as a vampire or werewolf. And Quinn herself is as transparent and unknowable as any real person, I was mesmerized by the process of decoding what she says and what she means and what she herself doesn't even realize. A must read for anyone drawn to the darker edges of urban fantasy, this book is a book I can’t stop thinking about.

Sexual Content: References to sex, abuse, and prostitution.

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