Review: “Blade Song,” J.C. Daniels

Pros: Deliciously intense
Cons: A little confusing at first
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

J.C. Daniels (Shiloh Walker) is the author of Blade Song (Colbana Files Series Book 1). Kit (Kitasa) Colbana is a private detective in a world where humans and non-humans co-exist uneasily. She’s half-human, leading most of her non-human peers to think of her as weak. And it’s true that she doesn’t have the sheer physical power of some of the vampires and shape-shifters, but her Amazon heritage and her tortured past has left her with a unique set of skills and a few unusual talents. More importantly, she never gives up. Now Damon, a cat-shifter, has come to her with a job from his Alpha. Doyle, a boy on the cusp of learning to shift, has gone missing, and he’s the Alpha’s nephew. Unfortunately, the Alpha is batshit crazy, and taking a job from her will just as likely end in death. Kit has a weakness, though, and she can’t let go of the idea that she might be able to save a kid. Matters get complicated when Jude, a vampire who seems to have a preoccupation with Kit, insists that she’s going to need him to save her from the Alpha when things inevitably go bad.

I found things slightly confusing at first, with references to previous things that I didn’t understand despite the fact that it’s labeled as book one in the series. It isn’t that bad, though, and it does establish an ongoing world, which is nice.

Kit presents a hell of a portrait of a trauma survivor, and there’s serious trigger warnings here for child abuse. Her grandmother, a full-blooded Amazon, tortured her for not being full-blooded, for being weaker than her peers and relatives. She has memory flashbacks and emotional flashbacks, and things are definitely not easy for her. Particularly since her reactions mean that she’s showing weakness in front of Damon. Her strength, though, is what ultimately attracts him to her. He’s hard and pushy, but ultimately her consent and her desire for him matter to him, and that’s important. In my opinion, it’s okay to depict pushy or demanding people in romanticized relationships as long as the relationship itself is uncoerced and mutually desired. Standard adult material warning–there is sex in here. On the flip side, I like the fact that while Jude, the vampire, is physically attractive, that in no way overwhelms the negative aspects of his behavior and attitude. Daniels is a pro at depicting relationships that in other hands might be problematic. I do think that the relationship between Kit and Damon moves forward a bit quickly in some ways, but not to an extent where I can’t believe in it.

There are complex characters in here who are capable of being good people with negative character traits, and vice versa. I really enjoyed this story, and it’s hard to put off the sequel to get some Anatomy reading done! Ah well. I’ll just have to view it as my reward when I’m done.

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