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372 pages, Paperback
First published June 3, 2016
'Blood Orchid' is the second instalment in the 'Night Flower' series and it was one that I was SUPER excited to see how it would develop the story of Justin Lestrade and Melissa De Vire. After their initial, swoon-worthy romance together in book one, ‘The Black Lotus’, I felt that this was going to either break or make their relationship. And I was strongly rooting for MAKE!
The novel takes place immediately after the conclusion of book one, 'The Black Lotus'. Its setting is once again eighteenth-century England and covers a massive span of time. The novel starts off in the year 1752, the same year as book one, and then makes a MASSIVE TIME LEAP into 1772. I wasn't sure what to think of this and little changed or happened in that time twenty-year time gap. I guess it was meant to emphasise Justin’s and Melissa’s power and immortality… The timeline makes yet another jump time leap into 1792, but changes location to France. Now this is where the action picked up for me.
I, as a fan of historical-romance, thought the historical aspect of the novel could have been executed a little bit better. There was very minor or limited reference to customs, traditions and etiquette of that time period and I feel like this was a major drawback. The author could have made the world so much better if she spiced it up with eighteenth century facts. The atmosphere would have been more enhanced, the setting would have been emphasised: there were just so many missed opportunities!
The setting of place could have also been used more effectively. When the characters are in France, barely any words were spoken in French. If the author had included more French culture in her novels, it really would have enhanced the novelty of the story and made for a better read.
All of the old characters return and there are almost no new characters introduced. Slightly boring, in my opinion, as new characters would have added their personalities and made the plot more lively. It would have also allowed for more opportunities as to how the plot progressed. I felt that the lack of new characters also limited both the author and story.
'Blood Orchid' was written in third person narration but was told by several different perspectives. The choice of third person narration was a poor one, in my opinion. It seemed to further disconnect me as a reader from the characters and just didn't offer that insight and depth into a situation that first person narration would have otherwise.
A lot of 'Blood Orchid' seemed to have suffered from second book syndrome. It just lost that hold on me that it had before.
The mood was really dark and sombre most of the way through. It did create a very strong, foreboding atmosphere but it just seemed too much at times.
Formatting and typing issues ran galore in my ARC copy! There were missing commas, full stops next to commas, commas instead of full stops, incorrect tenses of words, wrong font, etc. It was a bit troubling to see, but as this was an early review copy, so I wasn't too worried in the end.
The writing style would have been more memorable if the author had chosen to reinforce her ideas with a more solid historical background, phrasing and prose. I felt like some of the dialogue could have been better said.
The conclusion was very weak. There was no cliff-hanger like in the first novel which would have made me continue reading.
Congratulations to Claire Warner on publishing a solid sequel to 'The Black Lotus'.