Monday, August 10, 2009

Review: Blood Memories

Title: Blood Memories
Author: Barb Hendee
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Vampire Memories/Book 1
Published: October 2008

*Some mild spoilers*

From the back cover ~

For ages, they have lived among mortal man, surviving in the shadows, hiding their true selves from the eyes of humanity - until now.

Eleisha Clevon is irresistibly pretty - with a man of golden locks surrounding innocent hazel eyes and the face of a teen angel. But she is no angel. And she's far older than she looks. Like most vampires she has a special gift. In her case, it's the ability to make men want to care for her. A few even survive the experience. Eleisha doesn't like to kill, but self-preservation comes first.

So when an old friend destroys himself by walking into sunlight right in front of her, Eleisha is shocked. And what she finds afterwards points to how very sick of his existence her friend had become—piling drained corpses in the basement and keeping records of other vampires' real names and addresses. That's a problem.

Because now, there are policemen on the case: two very special humans with some gifts of their own. They know who Eleisha is, and, even more dangerous, what she is. But Eleisha realizes that being known and understood may have its attractions - even if it puts her and all her kind at risk.

I'm not sure what to say about this book. There was a point early on when I thought of putting it down. I didn't like how the heroine and the other vampires had to feed. Maybe I was being picky, they are vampires after all but I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading. What made me continue was the writing and the need to know what happens to Eleisha. It's weird but I didn't really like most of the characters, except for Eleisha, but I still felt the need to find out their stories, how they became vampires and got to the point of where they are now.

The story is told in Eleisha's POV and while I generally expect 1st POV from UF, in my ever expanding experience there seem to be two types of 1st POV for me. The one type is what I think of as the "along for the ride" POV. This is when the author gets you deep into the characters head to the point that you feel you are right there in the thick of it with the hero/heroine. The other type is the "storytelling mode". This is when it feels more like the character is telling you a story of what happened but you're necessarily experiencing it with them. And for me it has nothing to do with the writing being in present tense or past tense. It's more to do with how much that character lets the reader in. With Eleisha I never felt like I was fully in her head, as if she was holding something back.

Blood Memories is about vampires but Hendee has given them a new twist. They each have a different "gift". Basically what it means is that whatever their dominant trait is when they are turned, that trait is enhanced and becomes their special ability or their gift. I thought the author made the story more interesting to have these characters projecting their most dominant trait. Instead of having them all become super strong, fast, turning to bats :) etc. Eleisha had the ability to look helpless and lost, making people feel the need to take care of her. Another of the vampires was beautiful when she was turned. Now that she's a vampire she becomes even more beautiful and irresistible when she uses her gift. They use these gifts to lure their prey into trusting them so they can then suck them dry. *evil grin*

The characters of the police, Dominick and Wade were... weird. Dominick was just plain crazy and Wade was very odd. The way Wade took to Eleisha and her whole world - I would have expected him to be more afraid but he seem to take it all in stride. And Dominick was a cop turned psycho trying to kill all the vampires. Their special abilities were interesting but overall I really didn't care for the whole psychic angle to the story.

The vampire Julian was the one the other vampires feared. But he really wasn't in the book very much. Some background on him and how he's connected to the other vamps but he's more an evil presence through most of the book instead of right there on the spot. Didn't care for him - paranoid vampire on the loose. :)

Eleisha starts out as a caretaker to an elder vampire, William. He was sick when he was turned and the turning didn't cure him. So Eleisha is made his keeper. She enjoys her life with William and doesn't really think of any type of future she might have. She's resigned to care for William indefinitely. I felt kind of sorry for her at times, she was very young when turned and has taken care of William all this time. When her old friend commits vamp suicide she starts to question their existance more. She wonders why there are so few of them and why they have always been told, by Julian, to live separate.

Eleisha finds some answers to her questions and discovers things aren't all what they seem. She finds out that she is capable of much more than she knew and she begins to build a new life based on those answers. The ending does leave some unanswered questions for Eleisha and the reader along with a cliff-hanger. And while I wasn't wowed by the book I do plan to get the second book from the library. Book 2 in the series, Hunting Memories, comes out this October. Visit the author's website here.

Rating: B-

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