"Bloodlust," Michelle Rowen

Pros: Good plotting
Cons: Self-absorbed heroine who magically gets loved by all and whose bad decisions always turn out right; love interests don’t have great chemistry
Rating: 2 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Jillian was injected with a formula that made her blood both irresistible and fatal to vampires, and she was used as a pawn in an attempt to kill the king of the vampires. Now she’s on the run with her half-vampire protector, Declan—only he’s becoming as dangerous to her as the things he’s protecting her from. It turns out that Dhampyr are unstable, and they grow more and more violent as they age. Now that Declan is off of his emotion-controlling serum and exposed to the tempting scent of Jill’s blood, he’s having more and more difficulty controlling himself around her.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Amarantos, a secret society bent on making vampires truly immortal, wants the vampire king’s daughter. They plan to kill her in their rituals, and if they succeed, the vicious new vampire king will be truly unstoppable.


 

Michelle Rowen’s Bloodlust is about on a par with its predecessor, Nightshade in overall quality, but some things are better and others are worse. I still don’t particularly like the characters all that much (the only character in this series I truly enjoy is Matthias, with Noah an occasional second), and I don’t find that Jill and Declan have much chemistry together.

The plotting gets interesting in this book—as in the “Living in Eden” series, Rowen has something of a talent for complex politicking among supernaturals, which is nice. Also, she redeems some of the problematic presentation of psychiatric issues from the last book by finally having serious repercussions emerge from taking Declan off of his meds. It’s only a partial redemption, however, since it’s only sort-of linked to his coming off of the meds, instead veering off into the idea that this was pretty much inevitable anyway and the serum only delayed the problem.

However, Jillian became even more of a faux-imperfect heroine in this book than in the last. Everyone and their brother is besotted with her, or fascinated by her, or in love with her, or whatever, even when she hasn’t done anything in particular to earn it. There’s only so much of that you can do before it gets ridiculous, especially when you’re playing with a rather unlikable heroine. Hell, even when Jill realizes she’s said something terrible and incredibly selfish to Declan she still justifies it to herself with the belief that what he said to her was far worse (it wasn’t). No matter how much of a bitch she is, no matter how selfish her decisions are, wouldn’t you know it, she ends up being right and getting the guy and all of that shiny stuff. Any ill consequences to her decisions are temporary and comparatively minor.

Ultimately, while I enjoyed Rowen’s “Living in Eden” series very much, and in outward structure the “Nightshade” books are similar, I find these to be annoying and frustrating instead of sexy and engaging.

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