Non-Review: “Blood and Fire,” Shannon McKenna

Review book provided by Penguin Group

 

I do a “non-review” when I couldn’t finish a book. I won’t review it on Amazon or GoodReads, but I don’t mind telling you here why I chose not to finish. If there’s one thing I’ve found over the years, it’s that there are too many good books to spend my time finishing a book that I can’t get into.

Shannon McKenna’s Blood and Fire sounded interesting; I’m a fan of thrillers/suspense novels, and I enjoy a bit of romance or erotic romance mixed in. Unfortunately, I didn’t get all that far with this one.

Blood and Fire is not the first book in the series. While the plot is easy to keep up with, there are references to things like “zombie duels” and “zombie masters” that confuse the hell out of me. There’s no passing context to give new readers any purchase. It’s… odd. That isn’t what put me off, however. For one, the prose is often purple. “He felt malevolence oozing from the darkness like poison gas.” Or worse, when sex is involved, “…palpate the wedges of muscle in his back with a feral squeal of delight.” There’s also a weird balance in the beginning of quick, tense scenes alternating with interminable internal monologues.

It’s a combination of that ridiculous, overblown language and some truly godawful sex that really did me in. There are some grotesque bad-guy sex scenes that even involve making someone orgasm via reciting pre-programmed verses of text. I wish I was kidding. It’s a bizarre mind-control fantasy that reads like crappy internet porn. There’s also an internal monologue in which the male lead considers his carefully-calculated make-out pad that makes him rather repulsive. I wish I liked either of the main characters, but they’re both obnoxious.

I kept hoping that things would get better and I could enjoy the thriller aspect of the book, but I just got more and more fed up with the florid writing, the unlikable characters, and the occasionally-nasty sexual material.

 

Bruno is working hard to keep his nose clean and save the family business. Not easy when the nightmares that plagued his childhood are hi-jacking what little rest he gets. Even harder when beautiful fugitive Lily Parr appears, on the run from assassins–and implying that Bruno is involved. But the violence that accompanies her is no illusion. Nor is the blisteringly hot desire that explodes between them.

After her father’s suspicious death, and an attempt on her own life, snippets of information have led Lily to Bruno’s door…and his charisma soon compels her into his bed. But with killers on her heels, running won’t help–not with the terrifying secret lurking in Bruno and Lily’s pasts. A secret their mysterious enemy will gladly destroy them to protect…

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