Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Title: Bad Blood
Author: L. A. Banks
Publishing Date: April 2008
Genre: Dark Fantasy
L. A. Banks is best known for her Vampire Huntress Legend series. I haven't ever had the pleasure of reading those books but a friend of mine who likes Kelley Armstrong recommended her. After going to Ms. Banks's website I came across her newer series, Crimson Moon. Bad Blood is the first book in this series and focuses on werewolves instead of vampires (although, vampires do exist in this world).
Sasha Trudeau is part of an elite military team made up of a handful of people who have been infected with the werewolf virus. They have enhanced speed, strength, sight and smell, but they take medicine to keep them from changing fully into werewolves. They get assigned to missions that are aimed at keeping this technology out of enemy hands who are trying to make super soldiers. When Sasha comes back from one such mission she finds that one of her teammates completed the change and has gone rogue and her other teammates are missing. She is learning that there is more going on than what she has been told and now she has to try and find out what this virus is exactly that she has her blood.
I was pleasantly surprised with this story. I found it started off a little slow because the author had a lot to explain in the beginning. Things are complicated with all the different types of wolves and demons in the story. Plus, there are several different factions that Sasha has to be weary of and she, like the reader, are not sure what is going on and who she can trust. Once she meets up with Max Hunter though, I was thoroughly hooked. Wow!
Now, I don't believe that this is considered a romance. At least at my library they had it shelved in the science fiction/fantasy section. On the spine it is labeled as dark fantasy. I don't know the rules for how a book is classified, but romance readers would definitely be satisfied with Sasha and Hunter's relationship. Both Sasha and Hunter have something about them that sets them apart from others and they have always felt like outsiders among their peers. It is very easy to empathise with them.
One of the things that really stood out in this book was how well the pack nuances and wolf behaviors of the characters were expressed. I think out of all the werewolf books I have read, this one felt the most realistic and true to how an animal would behave. At times, because of this, the book could be considered very gruesome. I felt it was in keeping with the mood and tone of the book and gave a more realistic feel to the characters.
The plot of the book is complicated and there are a lot of questions that go unanswered with its conclusion. There was one little thing that annoyed me at the end of the story. One of the characters that Sasha meets early on in the story, who is not in the rest of the book, just randomly pops up during the culmination of a very important scene and it was completely a WTF moment for me. I believe it was a way for the author to set up the next book and get readers hooked, but it annoyed me all the same. The next book, Bite the Bullet is already in stores and continues Sasha's story.
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