Rating: 4 stars out of 5
With vampire Nicolas Lambert’s marriage to a rival clanswoman only weeks away, Adrien Gilbert struggles to come to terms with his defeat at the hands of Verel Pelletier, a vampire hunter and an immortal like himself. Adrien and his former teacher, Roland Günter, begin to explore his newly acquired abilities. But without his soul’s sword, Adrien flounders.
On Nicolas’s wedding day, a two-hundred-year old secret is revealed, sending the wedding party into a blazing battle between hunters and vampires. Once again Adrien finds himself facing Pelletier’s superior strength. Just as Adrien believes all hope of a future with Nicolas is lost, he finally learns his true gift—he can turn back time. But time travel comes with a high cost. To save Nicolas, Adrien must become strong enough to use his power without descending into madness.
After the death and destruction of Blood and Rain (Blood #1), I was hoping for some resolution to some of the loose ends and ever expanding plot threads but I should have known better as Blood and Ghosts is the middle story of Shira Anthony’s Blood Trilogy. This book only ups the drama, danger, and multiple timelines these characters seem to exist in. And therein lies this story’s strengths and weaknesses.
Time travel can be an extremely tricky element in any story but especially in one where one of the main characters or perhaps more, switch time frames frequently within chapters or pages for that matter. For me, this format worked in several ways. As Adrien chases not only his enemy Pelletier through time, he is also looking frantically for his beloved Nicholas, who Pelletier has stolen away (long story, you must read the first book for this one to make any sense at all). As the search continues through multiple eras and time periods, an exhausted Adrien is carrying with him the knowledge of the future, and all the dangers that brings with it. With each change, the suspense and anxiety increases along with Adrien’s anguish and physical exhaustion. We can connect with the fact that he’s losing hope with each century he passes through. Anthony’s format serves to involve us with Adrien’s emotions and pain as the search continues even as his enemy taunts him. I liked seeing all the “different” Adriens that existed, even if we see them only briefly. I also liked getting more of a sense of history behind the various feuds and vampire/hunter lore. That also serves to solidify some of the world building laid down in the first story. But there is a downside to all this time flipping, and that’s confusion and a tendency towards density.
There are so many different eras and time periods to keep track of and with them, different logistical nightmares and ever expanding plot threads that your mind can grow tired trying to keep track of them all and how they figure into whatever current situation Adrien is finding himself in at the time. I had to refer back to my notes several times in order to figure out who was where at what time and why. I can see what Anthony was going for and its works in the long view, however, I also wished for a few less stops along the time continuum and a tighter time line for the story all together. At one point we are just jumping around way too much for us to get a feel for the “Nicholas” seen or for the other characters that are involved, there’s just not enough “time” for that to happen.
Make no mistake, there are some very cool components here. I loved all the action sequences and the stuff that happens with Adrien’s sword had me swooning with glee. It was unexpected, wildly imaginative, and vividly realized. And it also made other parts of the story pale in comparison. Now that was a battle.
And while Adrien is believably flawed, impatient, angry, and powerful, Nicholas remains a bit of a shadow character. I was just starting to get a sense of him before the traumatic events of Blood and Rain. Then nothing. I find him even more elusive here than Adrien does, and the switching of personas through the centuries doesn’t help that. I’m continually told that their love is eternal and they know it “through the blood”. But I would have wished for more showing to help me connect with the person behind all the drama and events that happen.
Blood and Ghosts is the middle story in this trilogy and it ends on a heartbreaker of a cliffhanger, one I can’t wait to see the author write her way out of. I thought it was a fascinating way to end this story as it supplies tons of questions with little answers, its thought provoking in a major way and the riddle it implies will keep you guessing until we get the answers in early 2016 which is when the final story, Blood and Eternity, will come out. If you aren’t a fan of cliffhangers, perhaps you might want to wait and read all three stories one right after the other. If you are like me and have the impulse control of a magpie, then go ahead and pick this up and see what happened after the carnage of Blood and Rain.
But if you are new to this trilogy, run back to the first story and start there otherwise you will find yourself lost in time, along with the characters here. For all vampire lovers, this is a new take on vampire lore and vampire hunters. This story and series is beautifully written, intricately plotted and heavy with elements and logistics. And yes, there’s some hot men/vampires and sexy times too. The time travel can get a wee bit wearying but hang in there, for the acton sequences and rocky journey to everlasting love worth every minute, hour, and year. Now if only I could time travel my way to 2016 and get my hands on Blood and Eternity….
Cover art by Reese Dante. I’m not a fan of this cover, not sure why. Perhaps its the models or the design color. Either way, its more of a miss than hit.
ebook, 242 pages, available in DSP paperback too
Published April 20th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press (first published April 2015)
Books in the Blood Trilogy are:
- Blood and Rain (Blood #1)
- Blood and Ghosts (Blood #2)
- Blood and Eternity (Blood #3) to be released early 2016