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blood toy

Title & Author: Blood Toy, B. K. Raine

Genre & Publication Date: Dark Urban Fantasy, June 26, 2015

Book Description: “ASSASSIN. DREAMER. GIRL. Diane Woods lost the luxury of having an ordinary life on the night a vampire killed her family while she slept. Since then, she has hunted their kind with singular purpose. It was only a matter of time before one started hunting her back. Christopher Desollador is not just out for blood. He hungers to break her…slowly. Considering the trail of bodies she left for him to follow, you could even say she was asking for it. One sadistic torment at a time, he will teach her what it means to be a victim. Though the lesson she learns just might be her Making.”

First Line: The worst and last thing the twins ever did was a consequence of reality TV and a thirty-year-old metal detector collecting rust int he barn next to their dad’s nautilus machine.

My Take: This book was provided to me by the author for review.

This book should come with a warning label: “Beware! Read at your own risk!” Why? Because it literally endangered my life. I had such a hard time putting it down that I was actually reading the damn thing while walking out to my car in the parking lot after work. Okay, so I wasn’t wandering into traffic here but, you know, there were curbs I tripped over.

The characters and interactions in this tale were awesome. Each had their own voice and the writing did well with conveying the relationships through attitude and dialogue rather than devolving into a dump of background info (woo hoo for “show” instead of “tell”).

A step apart from the traditional narrative of choosing either first person or third person perspective, this book incorporates both. Personally, I still prefer one or the other as it helps to ground me in whose story it is. That being said, despite the initial frustration when a chapter began with yet another character’s POV, I was quickly immersed in their situation and thought process. Not an easy task but the author pulled it off.

The single “I” perspective is owned by Diane, the main protagonist, and she carries it well. Hers is a strong, tenacious voice that at the same time has a vulnerability. This sensitive side is well executed. Rather than making her seem week and indecisive, she became more likable and authentic. Honestly, I think the novel would’ve been just as great if told exclusively from her perspective. The others captivated me as well, but I had an inward “Noooooo!” each time the next chapter began with someone else. Alright, maybe it wasn’t inward all the time.

I really, really appreciated the fact that the vampires in this book were depicted like the predators they are. No fluffy, sparkly, “I hate what I am” mumbo-jumbo. No equally matched vampire slayer who can fight them hand-to-hand or isn’t affected by their powers. No, these vampires are old school, the scare you shitless kind that look at humanity like blood bags. I missed you guys. It was good to see you again.

The Magical: The interactions between Desollador and Diane were amazing. That combination of revulsion, fear, and sinister allure had me racing through the pages. I couldn’t get enough of it, even when things got ugly.

The Mundane: I got a bit confused here and there at the end with the meaning behind some of the capitalized words and what they evoked in the scenes. The action carried me along despite this but a little extra clarity would’ve helped. The ending seemed a touch abrupt as well.

(Update: 11/14/2015: The cover was changed following this review) I don’t usually point out the packaging of a book in a review because it’s about the story, not the cover, but I have to make an exception in this case. The background works but (and I say this with love) the scantily clad brunette barbie shown just doesn’t do justice to the strong, courageous Diane of the book. She looks like she fell off a mud flap. This is just one woman’s opinion, but even though I have an idea of the scene it references, I know I would’ve scrolled right past this in the Kindle store thinking it was just another paranormal sporting a heroine that is heavier on jugs than brains. That’s a bummer with a great story like this one.

Summary of Thoughts: Loved it! Not for the faint of heart, this book is fast paced and full of surprises. I highly recommend it. Currently it’s just $2.99 on the Kindle. Want an engaging read that delivers on the elements of dark urban fantasy with a strong, intractable main character to root for? Get this one today!…Just don’t read it while walking out to your car.


Many thanks to author B. K. Raine for providing a copy of the book to review!

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