Rating: 5 out of 5
After reading Skyla Dawn Cameron’s urban fantasy Blood Ties [review], I had to go back and start on one of her other series. I started in with Bloodlines (Demons of Oblivion Book 1). Zara Lain is a 300-year-old vampire who was “turned” when she was 17. She’s a delightful wish-fulfillment badass who is capable of taking down bad guys with more than a little snark along the way. Her old friend Mishka (a witch) sometimes passes on assassination contracts to her, and she has a new one: Mishka’s parents want the head of a rival coven killed. Mishka promises an additional $10 million if Zara will kill sexy, brooding Nathan Gregory, the target’s son, at the same time. She infiltrates a big party hoping to kill both of her targets and steal anything that isn’t nailed down. Not all goes as planned, and soon there are entire covens being massacred and vampires being kidnapped. Zara has to take what help she can–from an annoying flirt of a vampire (Jamie), to a demonologist who’s a fan of hers (Peter), and even Mishka’s mother (Heaven). Oh, yeah–and sexy, brooding warlock Nate.
Zara is the poster child for an unlikable protagonist who nonetheless remains perfectly engaging. She’s almost entirely narcissistic, sarcastic as hell, and totally, utterly tactless. She got into thieving–followed by assassination–because after 300 years she got a bit bored. It takes a long time for Nate and the others to worm any trace of empathy or sympathy out of her. She’s all sass and very nearly does not give a whit about anyone other than herself.
Nate and Jamie are fun. Jamie flirts shamelessly with Zara while Nate refuses to take any interest in her (despite her shamelessly flirting with him–but then, he is a recent widow). Nate and Jamie end up bickering so much I half expected them to end up in bed together! The two vamps and a warlock make a fun triangle.
Zara is a violent narcissist who has no problem killing people for money, or because she got a little hungry, or because they got in her way. I’m sure that won’t be every reader’s cup of tea, but I had fun with her. There are rumors of Armageddon, so I’m looking forward to seeing if that goes anywhere in later books. In particular, I thought that the plot revolving around the vampires who are being kidnapped was original and fascinating.
Content note for sex and child death.
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