A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Echo by L.E. Royal

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When her abusive father finally goes too far, shy seventeen-year-old Rayne Kennedy finds that her savior is far from an angel. Lost and alone she is completely enraptured by the beautiful but murderous, Scarlett. Taken on an adventure by the vampire’s well-intentioned sister, Rayne is drawn into Vires, a dark and dangerous vampire world, where humans are little more than natural resources to be exploited.

In a society that has been turned upside down while learning to live inside its constraints, Scarlett Pearce may not be much more than a slave to a power-hungry Government and the violent bloodlust that consumes her may be all her own. Before she loses herself in a world unlike anything she has ever known, Rayne needs to find Scarlett and the answers to those questions.

Vampires aren’t necessarily my favourite fantasy creatures, but every now and again I like to read a vampire novel. And “Blood Echo” promised a rather unusual take on vampire romances.

Before I start with my criticism, I want to say that it’s entirely possible I read the book at the wrong time. I was already in a bad mood and feeling down and “Blood Echo” made me feel even more depressed and grumpy. So my judgment is probably coloured by that.

First of all: This books comes with a warning for “torture, bloody violence and death” . And that warning is there for a reason, so don’t ignore it.

Like I already said, this story didn’t make me feel good. And that’s fine, I like dark stories, but something about “Blood Echo” just rubbed me the wrong way. It all seemed so bleak and hopeless and there was so much senseless violence and tragedy, I always dreaded having to keep reading a little bit.

Rayne was an okay character, if a little naive and awfully innocent at times. But that was understandable, her teen years weren’t exactly easy and didn’t give her much opportunity to do normal teen stuff. Though I must admit I mostly felt sort of indifferent about her.

Scarlett was… complicated. I like complicated MCs who blur the line between “good” and “evil”. I’ve read plenty of MCs who do horrible stuff but who were still somehow redeemable. Scarlett did plenty of awful things, but I never quite got the “redeemable” bit. Yes, she has her reasons, but still. It was the little things that made it so hard to believe there was anything good in her. She broke Rayne’s arm and while it was an accident and she healed it, she never even apologized for it., for example. I feel like an apology every now and then would have gone a long way to making me think of her as anything other than purely evil.

I didn’t really feel the romance. Rayne is very insecure and I have to agree with her. Why would gorgeous Scarlett pick a simple mortal girl, when she has so many other options? And they barely even knew each other, so it couldn’t have been because of Rayne’s character. Rayne’s “love” felt more like an unhealthy obsession to me, especially since Scarlett seems to be the first ever person she’s felt any sort of attraction for.

The publisher has tagged this with “sex content: explicit” and I actually feel kind of cheated. There was exactly one explicit sex scene, which was interrupted. When Rayne loses her virginity, it’s completely fade-to-black and other than that, we barely even get kisses. The author isn’t shy about explicitly depicting bloody violence, so why no explicit sex?

There were parts of the book that I found interesting. I liked the idea of a vampire city with very strict rules. Scarlett’s younger sister was a great supporting character and added a little variety to the otherwise rather evil vampire society.

I feel like the book got better towards the end, so I will read the next part, in the hopes that this upward trend continues.

The cover by Natasha Snow shows a hand with blood dripping from the fingers. I like the concept of it, I think it fits the tone of the story pretty well. But I find the execution a little lacking, the bloody fingertips look a bit like gloves.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 299 pages

Published December 3rd 2018 by NineStar Press

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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