Non-Review: “Chosen by Blood,” Virna DePaul

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group


I do a “non-review” when I couldn’t finish a book. I won’t rate 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.

Chosen By Blood is the first volume in Virna DePaul’s “Para-Ops” series, in which a team of humans and paranormal “Otherborn” come together on an FBI-led team to address common problems. Previous to the book, paranormals had been in the standard war with humans, resulting in the standard hatreds and mistrust. During the war humans came up with a vaccine that prevents vampires from feeding from them, thus destroying them through malnutrition. Thence comes my first real problem: this thing that’s so central to the plot shouldn’t be such an impediment. This is a U.S. government-created vaccine. We have enough trouble getting the flu vaccine out to people in our own country. You can’t tell me they super-efficiently produced enough for the entire world, successfully distributed it to people of all walks of life in our own country, presumably forced it on the anti-vaxxers?, and then somehow managed to successfully distribute it to the entire rest of the world (and our government was willing to do so?). That should have taken so long, and been so spotty, that the vampires should have little difficulty finding plenty of un-vaccinated people to feed from. There’s nothing in the setting presented that could even tenuously allow for suspension of disbelief here.

But that isn’t what caused me to stop reading the book. The attraction between the half-vampire Knox and the human FBI agent Felicia is truly overwrought. And I say that in comparison to the high-drama relationships typical of many paranormal romances.

The narration gets into various characters’ heads, and natters constantly with side commentary that totally derails the pace. In the middle of a dialogue Knox goes into self-examination mode for more than a full page. Even passages that are supposed to be all erotic tension and fiery passion get derailed for entire paragraphs of rumination.

Knox’s characterization is inconsistent. Sometimes he’s proper and reserved, complete with a ‘courtly bow,’ and then he struts and gets all crude and growly.

And finally, the dialogue is even more overwrought and stilted than Knox and Felicia’s relationship. It was primarily a combination of that and the babbling narration that caused me to put the book down after 85 pages.

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