The first thing that drew me to Painter’s HOUSE OF COMARRE series was the incredible cover art by the Spanish artist Nekro. I was instantly drawn to it by the black, white, and red color palette, the golden tattoos, and the intricate, gothic detail that frames every cover image. The world Painter creates within the books is equally as arresting as the art that covers them. I love Painter’s ability to give us something fresh in a genre that has seen it all. Her concept of “blood rights” is unique – humans known as Comarre are born and bred to feed vampire nobility, the rights to their blood sold off to the highest bidder. They are prized possessions, property. They have no freedom or independence. The heroine of the story is Chrysabelle, a coveted Comarre, who is making a bid for freedom and Painter makes Chrysabelle a force to be reckoned with. I love that she doesn’t come out of the gate as kick ass, rather she is smart and strategic, never revealing her true capabilities until necessary. And Mal…so tragically tortured. Double cursed and forced to hear the voices of all he has killed. When these two are thrown together, fireworks erupt and Painter does a wonderful job of drawing their attraction out. This has become one of my favorite worlds and one of my favorite series. I love Painter’s originality, deceptively strong heroine, her ability to give a great twist, and the dark world she’s created where blood is power and freedom is precious.
KRISTEN PAINTER & FIVE BOOKS THAT INSPIRED HER
1. Illusion by Paula Volsky
This is probably the first dystopian I ever read and I’m sure back then, I’d probably never heard the word dystopian. But this book is so much more than that label. It’s lush and dark and also sometimes bleak. If you haven’t read it, please do. Prepare to miss a day or two until you reach the end.
2. Until Forever by Johanna Lindsey
What can I say about a story that revolves around a 1000 year old Scandinavian sword and the woman that pulls the weapon’s owner into the present day? It’s the kind of campy, comfort read that I still reach for on occasion. It’s fun and it’s entertaining and it’s the book that made me think, “Hey, I should really try writing one of these…”
3. Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
I’ve been an Authurian Lit nerd since way back and this is a seminal piece of work that puts the female characters up front and center. Not to be missed. A thousand pages of fabulousness.
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
After reading this, I became a convert to the unexpected twist, something I try to do whenever possible in my own work. Yes, this is a male YA, but don’t let that stop you from reading it.
5. Anything by Shakespeare
I read a lot of Shakespeare when I was young. For fun. Yeah, I was that kid. But you really can’t deny the Bard’s way with words. I mean, the man invented the words puking, eyeball and alligator, just to name a few of the thousands he’s credited with coining. He’s kind of the Godfather of Writing.
WHAT MY CHARACTERS ARE READING…
Mal – Anything that might provide a way to remove his curses.
Chrysabelle – Her mother’s journals.
5×5 GIVEAWAY – KRISTEN PAINTER
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