Monday, March 25, 2013

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

TITLE: Bloodspell
AUTHOR: Amalie Howard
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Langdon Street Press/2011
SERIES: The second book is due out next year
SOURCE: For review via Netgalley

Goodreads / Author's Website

You guys, this is a really hard review for me to write. See, the problem is that I want to like this book, I really really do, also I kind of don't like writing negative reviews, but I just don't. I think the premise is great. There are vampires and witches and other dark and scary creatures running around in our world as they have for centuries, but there's one witch prophesied to be greater than the rest. Her blood is cursed, driving her to kill and she has to fight against it. It takes the familiar vampire, witch premise and add something new. But for me, this one just didn't live up to its promise.

Victoria Warrick was always a bit of an outcast at school, but it's not until her seventeenth birthday that she discovers she's a witch. Not only a witch, she's an incredibly powerful witch with cursed blood that if she can't control will drive her to kill mercilessly. Christian Deveraux is a vampire, respected in his community, but is basically trying to live as a human. They're both dangerous, they both have people after them and of course they fall in love.

The story seems fairly typical, but I was excited  to read this one. Victoria's cursed blood seemed like an interesting twist on a familiar story. And I can always get behind a smart supernatural romance with a strong female lead. However, Bloodspell fell short of my expectations. But I'll start with what I liked. Victoria was a pretty strong individual. She knows herself pretty well so when she gets this giant surprise your blood is trying to kill thing thrown at her on her birthday she handles it pretty well. She's confident in WHO she is so she can spend more time trying to figure out how that works with WHAT she is. Not only that, but she knows her power and while isn't okay with using it, will if it means saving herself. She doesn't always have to be rescued, how great is that.

Some of the supporting characters are also really interesting. Leto, Victoria's familiar, is great and walks that fine line between being super strict and caring. I liked the connection between the characters. However, a lot of the other characters were broadly drawn, so much so that it didn't seem realistic and took me out of the story. Charla, the new best friend, but actual mean girl didn't seem to have any emotional depth and I really wanted to learn more about Holly, Victoria's aunt and guardian. She could have been SO much more to the story and she could have provided some much needed depth and history but no. She's barely in it.

My major problem with Bloodspell was the way Howard skipped over so many important details. In one chapter Victoria's figuring out what she is and learning with Leto but then they just move on. She's got it, she understands things, the reader doesn't necessarily follow. I was left with so many questions like what exactly did she have to do to harness her power and why does she think it's a good idea to test it out at this particular moment and how exactly does this telepathy thing work? There were just so many details that could have made it into the book and just didn't.

Moving on to the romance, I really love a supernatural romance. It's a guilty pleasure. But it needs to be well done. Christian as a love interest, not bad, but I never felt super connected to him. I could ignore that though. Here's what I can't ignore, so many parts of their relationship just being skipped over. They're fighting, then they make up, but in the next chapter they're breaking up again. It just felt choppy, like I was missing key details and conversations. Also, can we just ban phrases about people forgetting to breathe and an overuse of exclamation points? Please.

The ending was a twist that left me wanting a little more and this is the first book in a series (the second book comes out next year at some point). I might give it a second chance, because well.... I apparently have some compulsion to read every book with a vampire out there (I'm just going to blame Buffy for that one). I still think this premise has promise and I just hope that the series improves with time.

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