This book was received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
GOODREADS SUMMARY: Vampires live only for lust and pleasure in the eternal twilight of Vamp City. But the city’s magic is dying. The only person who can restore it? A beautiful woman from the mortal world…one who knows nothing of the power she wields.
Quinn Lennox is searching for a missing friend when she stumbles into a dark otherworld that only she can see—and finds herself at the mercy of Arturo Mazza, a dangerously handsome vampire whose wicked kiss will save her, enslave her, bewitch her, and betray her. What Arturo can’t do is forget about her—any more than Quinn can control her own feelings for him. Neither one can let desire get in the way of their mission—his to save his people, hers to save herself. But there is no escape from desire in a city built for seduction, where passion flows hot and blood-red.
A Blood Seduction was both original and exciting, frustrating and aggravating. My excitement for it has everything to do with the world-building. This is truly the best part of the book. What frustrated me and keeps me from praising this book to the rafters is the heroine. Had the characters matched the originality of the world in which they were set, this book would easily have been a five star review for me. But, unfortunately, it failed to meet those expectations.
Quinn Lennox is a researcher at the National Institute of Health, just outside of Washington DC. She lives with her younger brother, Zack, in an apartment they share near George Washington University where Zack is a student. All would be well with Quinn if she weren’t experiencing these unsettling visions – sometimes Quinn sees images of another world. She can look across the street from her apartment and see a dilapidated old brownstone where a modern building used to be. What she does not realize is that these visions are temporary portals to another world, a parallel Washington DC called Washington VC, or Vamp City. When looking for a friend who may have accidentally been pulled into one of these portals, both Zack and Quinn find themselves stranded in VC with no way out.
Let’s start with what I liked about this book – the world. Vamp City is incredibly original. VC was created in 1870 by a sorcerer whose intention was to create a place specifically for vampires, where there is perpetual night, and the vampires rule supreme. The city is a weird combination of a city stuck in time (1870s) that has decayed and rotted, coupled with a few modern conveniences like cars and plumbing. The vampires are not the sparkly kind. These are brutal creatures who need both blood and other, less tangible things to survive. They are Emora, meaning they also feed off emotions like fear and pain. This makes for a very bleak world for humans who find themselves there. Oh, and did I mention old institutions like slavery are alive and well in VC? Yes, humans are slaves to vampires, kidnapped, put up on auction blocks, tortured and made into human chattel for vampire needs. This world is violent, brutal, bleak, disturbing, and original. Though there were some scenes that were hard to read, I have to give it up to Pamela Palmer for giving us a vampire world that is not sexy. Some authors create these worlds that are kind of scary, but are really just very cool and mysterious. Not so here. There were definite moments where I felt real fear for the human characters trapped in VC, a city you just want to get the hell out of. And right away.
But when you create a world like VC, it’s very hard to create sympathy for the characters who control things there. Arturo, the vampire who captures Quinn and basically tries to make her his slave, is the “hero.” Huh, what? No matter how sexy his Italian endearments are, no matter what chemistry or attraction exists between the two, and no matter that he is a “good” slave owner…he’s still a slave owner!!! And because of that, I really could not find myself liking or caring about him. Furthermore, because Quinn seems to have mixed feelings about him, to her detriment, I have no respect for her and question her intelligence. This makes it hard for me to care about Quinn. She came across as brave but not bright, thinking with her pants and not her head. And while this does not stop her from always trying to reach her goal – finding and saving Zack – it makes for some annoying moments between her and Arturo where she is constantly battling her attraction to him…a slave owner! While I appreciate the courage of creating unredeeming characters like Arturo, I wish the heroine were a bit shrewder.
The conclusion of this book almost saves it. Really. There is a twist that makes me interested in reading the next one…but only if I can get past the frustrating and lackluster Quinn. Three howls!