Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ROYAL BLOOD rona sharon

Royal Blood is a Tudor-period vampire romance. Yep. Tudor period. With vampires. That could work, and for a lot of readers it clearly did. For me, it was a total clunker. Sorry. It seems that once again I am out of step with the mainstream of popular opinion. What sort of reviewer am I?

The ornate use of language struck me as off key from the very first page--sometimes sounding like an undergraduate trying to use a vocabulary they haven't quite mastered yet. "Mud splotched the grille of his visor as massive hoofs reached his sprawled form and reared up, threatening to fossilize him in the midden." What? Rearing hoofs (as opposed to 'hooves', and disembodied from horse) are going to fossilize (a word and concept not invented for another 300 years and not related in any way to being crushed) him in manure pile (that is presumably some distance away from the jousting field). I like ornate language, but I like it to make a little more sense. Many reviewer's seem to consider the language historically accurate but it struck me as rampantly anachronsitic and awash with unecessary ticks like hundreds of uses of "alas".

We meet King Louis' unwed daughter sleeping with a commoner, dragged naked through court and called a whore before being sent off as a spy. Uh-huh. Right. Where she will meet Michael Devereaux, heir to an Earl, who will go on to save the King's life, win the princess's heart and investigate some mysterious murders. The hero's struggle with his vampirism which he takes to be a seating sickness is probably the most interesting aspect of the book, but otherwise I found both the historical and paranormal aspects unconvincing separately, and jarring in combination. The first half of the book only hints at the role vampirism has in this world, then it springs up rather suddenly and takes over the plot.

One thing I will say is that this is a highly original book with an idiosyncratic plot, subject and voice. You'll either love it, or in my case be very, very irritated by it--but you probably won't be bored.

Rating: 1/5

See also
Love Vampires: 4/5

Running average: 2.5/5

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Vampire Bookshelf

Just thought you might like to see this; the majority of my vampire book collection.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


It is easy to review a book I like.

It is even fairly easy to review a book I didn't like for some set of overt reasons.

But I find it difficult to review a book, that through no really obvious fault, just never grabbed me. And that is why have been sitting on an advance review copy of Eighth Grade Bites so long that the book has been long released (in August 2007), and any review I write now of negligible use to anyone. For which I can only apologise.

Oh well. Better late than never (I hope).

In the mean time this and two sequels have been released to great acclaim by customers. The book is, by any reasonable measure, a success. Reviews, on the other hand, were mixed.

For me the story of Vladimir Tod, orphaned son of a vampire and generally picked-upon thirteen year old, fell flat. He was just a stock kid with a good friend, a crush on a girl and trouble with bullies. The main character seemed to be a somewhat-superpowered bland everykid. The vampire lore had no real originality or interesting twist.

However your average picked-upon teen with a best friend, a crush on a girl, and trouble with bullies might well enjoy fantasising about having some super-powers and a mysterious past--and trouncing the evil villain. So I guess I would chalk this one down to just not being in the target audience.

p.s. FWIW I like the ARC cover (shown right) over the one used in wide release. But then, as I said, I am no maven of teen tastes.)

Rating: 1.5/5

Other reviews:
Commonsense Media (4/5)
Au Courant (4.5/5)

Running Average: 3/5