Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Can art imitate death? Oh no, girlfriend. Don’t even go there…
Ten years ago, the Human Hemovore Virus blazed through the world, and left the few victims who survived unable to eat, allergic to sunlight and craving the taste of blood.
Mark Jensen used to think V-positives were incredibly sexy with their pale, flawless skin and taut, lean bodies. Not anymore. Not since he’s been stuck procuring under-the-counter feline blood for his control-freak boss, Jonathan Varga. Why cat blood? Mark has never dared to ask.
It’s not as if he’s usually at a loss for words. He can dish an insult and follow it with a snap as quick as you can say “Miss Thang”. But one look at Jonathan’s black-as-sin gypsy eyes, and Mark’s objections drain away.
So he endures their strange, endless routine: Jonathan hiding in his studio, painting solid black canvases. Mark hurling insults as he buffs the office to a shine with antiviral wipes and maps out the mysterious “routes” he’s required to drive.
Then a blurb in Art in America unleashes a chain of events neither of them saw coming. As secrets of Jonathan’s past come to light, it becomes clear all his precautions weren’t nearly enough.
I picked up Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price in the hopes of a creepy Halloween read. Sadly, I was very, very disappointed.
The premise sounds intriguing: Vampires aren’t some sort of mythical creatures. Vampirism is an illness that can’t be cured. Either you die or you turn into a vampire. That’s definitely a unique idea I haven’t come across before. But that’s pretty much the only positive thing I have to say about this book.
First of all, I simply hated Mark. He was a whiny snob and was convinced everybody around him was either a homophobe, a vampire hater or both. When he’s forced into hiding, he whines about the cheap clothes he’s forced to wear. No more hand tailored suits for poor, poor Mark. Imagine the horror! It was comments like that that made me instantly dislike him. He was a bit of a homophobe himself. His constant obsession with looking like a “sissy” or a “drama queen” or an “overly dramatic queer” got annoying very fast.
He’s also one hell of a lousy friend. He forgot to give his new number to his best friend. Whoops. Oh well, everything’s right as rain once he calls him for the first time in two years. Yay for friendship! The best friend was annoying too, but he didn’t get much screen time, so it was okay.
At one point, Mark complains that Jonathan didn’t tell him he’s gay and that he doesn’t behave the way a gay man is supposed to. It’s totally unfair of Jonathan to keep Mark guessing about his sexuality. Now, with a comment like that, I’d expected Mark to be out and proud. But apparently he’s not. Eventually we learn he hasn’t even told his family. So what right does he have to complain about Jonathan not being out and proud?
Mark is supposed to be forty. He doesn’t act like it. If we didn’t get the constant reminder that being forty meant getting fat and unfit and wrinkles and generally being ugly, I would’ve said he’s a teenager. Early twenties, at the most.
Then there’s a romance part. I totally get that Mark has a crush on the mysterious, sexy artist guy. Who wouldn’t? But where do Jonathan’s feelings suddenly come from? I’m supposed to believe he’s been secretly in love with Mark all these years? But he’s a poor, tortured artist, so he could never act on those feelings. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that vampirism is highly contagious. So no sex for those two!
What I really didn’t understand was why Mark worked for Jonathan in the first place. I mean, he’s incredibly paranoid about becoming v-positive himself. I would be, too, considering 85% of the infected die before they turn into vampires. But if it is so incredibly contagious, I have a hard time believing Mark didn’t catch it before now. Hell, I wonder how ANYBODY was still v-negative in this world. We never get an explanation as to how and why Mark started working for Jonathan. It seems like an unusual job for me. Maybe he just needed money to buy made-to-measure suits. Who knows?
There wasn’t much of a plot either. First, we get Mark pining and drooling over Jonathan. Then, stuff happens and they’re constantly running and hiding. We also get some more of Mark pining and drooling and whining. And doing absolutely mundane things like eating pizza (and whining because he’s used to better things) and pitying the people who aren’t filthy rich like him. Those poor people can only afford two small fridges! The horror!
There were a few big “mysteries” that weren’t very mysterious after a couple of pages. Only Jonathan and Mark were too dumb to figure it all out.
The ending was too easy for me. Everything just kind of smoothed out naturally and the two of them get their cheesy HEA. The friend from the beginning of the book is forgotten once more and the famous Aunt Trixie doesn’t get a call that her favourite nephew is doing fine. Mark is too busy being all lovey-dovey with Jonathan, so that’s understandable.
To sum it up, I really, really didn’t like this book. It earned more than a few eye rolls and annoyed sighs. I hated Mark, the plot was boring and the romance didn’t make much sense. The potential of the world made me tack on a second star. To be fair, it might just be me being weird again, since every other reviewer I’ve come across seems to have loved this book. I absolutely can’t relate.
The cover by Kanaxa is well done and conveys a bit of the mystery that was missing in the book itself.
Sales Links: Samhain Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here
ebook, 1st Edition, 197 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Samhain Publishing (first published July 2009)