Wednesday, August 22, 2012

RJS Book Review: Reign of Blood

RJS Book Review

Alexia Purdy is clearly a fascinating woman.  Her work, while dark, is inviting and enticing.  Her imagination delivers empowering stories of struggle and survival--unfortunately, with Reign of Blood, that charm didn't surface until half way through the book.

Reign of Blood is about April, a teenage vampire hunter, immune from the virus that has morphed nearly everyone but her and her mother and brother into feral vampire-zombies.  But when her mother and brother suddenly go missing, April endeavors to find them--with the help of mysterious vampire hybrids: humanoid vampires who feed on the ferals and need the immunity in April's blood to survive a mutated disease that causes the hybrids to deteriorate.  In exchange for her blood samples, the hybrids agree to help April save her family.

As you can see, the premise is deliciously complex.  And the story gets amazingly in depth.  Chapter One sets a vivid and imaginative stage of post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, abandoned and destroyed by the rampage of feral vampires.  April's skills are Hunger Games meets Blade, a warring teenager ravaging for supplies on the strip, fighting to protect her family from the animals hiding in the shadows.  But after her family disappears, somewhere around Chapter Two, the next few chapters do little to move the story forward.  It's not until Chapter Eleven, nearly a hundred pages in, does the story begin to progress.  In between, April is rampaging through the city, killing hives left and right, anticipating that the unintelligent ferals will surrender her mother and brother.  While there are subtle clues and sightings throughout these early chapters, little else is being revealed.

There a quite a few fillers like this in the book; significant moments in the story carry for a chapter or two, but are followed by long stretches where nothing much is happening or being explained.  The information that is exchanged is not enough to explain why certain things have happened or what significance these events have.

Reign of Blood is certainly a thrill ride, full of ups and downs and twists and turns.  But much like a roller coaster, the escalation and transition tracks can become cripplingly monotonous.

4/5 suns: This novel has an excellent story, and is well-written with a lot of amazing moments...if you're willing to wait for them.


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