Saturday, 19 December 2015

Written in the Blood by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Mulholland Books (May 26 2015)
488 pages

Just to make a change from all these bloody and violent thrillers... I let myself be tempted by Written in the Blood, a fantasy story in a "vampire", hemoglobin and horror fashion (well, that's a real change !)

Good to know, this book is the sequel of another book - The String Diaries (not read yet). So yes, there are references to what happened before, but the explanations are enough to understand the context and allow us to read the story without feeling too much lost.

So, I'm not used to this kind of story but I found it to be a pleasant reading. The characters are well written, they are very well thought and one takes a liking for Leah who tries to save her world and her mother who's trying to protect her as well. Small note for moms who'll read this book: moms have the spotlight in this novel between Hannah, the mother, who cares for her daughter who takes risks to help her people and mothers who sacrifice themselves for their children.

The world imagined by Stephen Lloyd is very well done and change from usual vampires stories. In fact, there is relatively little interaction with the "human" and Lloyd never mentions a constant need to drink blood to stay alive. We're not talking about immortal beings, since they can die but beings with longevity and exceptional life, not really vampires in the traditional sense. Lloyd created a hierarchy among the "eternal", a past, a "police", the eternal hunter, a disappearance of their kind... One has the impression of being on the other side of the mirror, the side that allows us to understand the way eternals live.

Written in the Blood isn't just a story of a chase but also a story of struggle against the inexorable, struggle for power, love-hate, revenge, consequence of past histories. All that told with some talent. So, admittedly, the terms were not always easy to understand and the fact that I had not read the first book hadn't help neither but if you start this book by seeking something different, you won't be disappointed! Written in the Blood makes Twilight look like a story from the Care Bears world! Here, no schoolgirl love story but a girl who wants to save her clan from extinction, no schoolyard quarrels but politicized groups fighting against each other and mortal enemies.

The blurb

See the girl. Leah Wilde is twenty-four, a runaway on a black motorbike, hunting for answers while changing her identity with each new Central European town.

See the man, having come of age in extraordinary suffering and tragedy in nineteenth-century Budapest; witness to horror, to love, to death, and the wrath of a true monster. Izsák still lives in the present day, impossibly middle-aged. He’s driven not only to hunt this immortal evil but to find his daughter, stolen from an Arctic cabin and grown into the thing Izsák has sworn to kill.

See the monster, a beautiful, seemingly young woman who stalks the American West, seeking the young and the strong to feed upon, desperate to return to Europe where her coven calls.

In a nutshell

A really different vampire novel, a well-conducted plot, it's a 4/5 for me.

Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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