Monday, March 4, 2013

Bleeding Hearts (Book One of the Demimonde) by Ash Krafton

Bleeding Hearts: Book One of the Demimonde

Back of the Book Blurb:  Sophie Galen is an advice columnist who is saving the world - one damned person at a time.
Shy and sensitive Sophie has all but given up on love until she meets Marek, a mysterious stranger who seduces her with his striking good looks and his take-charge attitude. Yet the darkness she senses within him may be more than she is prepared to handle when Marek draws her into a world of vampires, werewolves, and treachery. Forced to leave behind the comfortable routines and certainties of her past, Sophie makes unbearable sacrifices and uncovers hidden truths about herself and the world around her.

Sophie is an advice columnist for a city paper, and she lives a life behind the scenes, both figuratively and literally, existing in a habitual haze of solitude, visiting museums and spending her evenings in her apartment with her cat.  A former nurse, she has switched careers after her nursing job became focused on profit rather than care.  She is also extremely intuitive, and this has aided her in making her life choices and enabled her to avoid almost all emotional risks.
One of the things I loved about this book was how the beginning unfolded (much like the movie The Wizard of Oz), switching from black-and-white to sudden color to symbolize the heroine's drab, dull existence changing to an exciting, vibrant life.  Although the first 50 pages or so were intriguing enough to keep me reading, the slow pace had me worried. This black and white beginning of the book felt slightly vague - I didn't have a sense of Sophie's appearance, or her history, or her life in general.  It felt like a thinly sketched "aimless woman living a lonely life in a big city who lives with a cat" scenario. And she is an orphan and her best friend is a priest - talk about isolated!  But things begin to change when two colorful things happen to her - a person who wrote to her kills himself (but is still sending her letters), and she meets Marek, a mysterious and handsome man who brings vibrancy, passion and excitement into her life.  Pretty soon, on one very memorable date, she learns what some of Marek's secrets are, and from here on out Sophie is awake, alive and living an unexpected life.
Krafton has created her own vampire lore, with another species called the DemiVampire (DV) who are in constant battles (political and otherwise) with the full vampires, who are evolved DV (and "evolved" means killing humans while sucking them dry and absorbing their life essence).  The DV are living among us, oozing power through their emotions, and Sophie is sensitive and receptive to this power. 

Sophie is not clairvoyant, but is an empath, sensing the emotional energy of the DV in particular, and sending healing energy out to those in need. As such she is revered as a kind of soothing Oracle of wisdom, but also as a human pet, because she is still manipulated by the DV using their power of compulsion. They profess to need her and respect her, yet they treat her in a patronizing manner.  I guess if we want to look for deeper meaning it's an indication of their parasitic nature - they feed off blood and they feed off energy, too.  Sophie is just a food source with two flavors instead of one.

Much of the story is dependent on Sophie's ability to use her compassion to bring peace to others, including the DV (demi-vampires).  First she reaches out to Marek, then his brother Rodrian, and there's lots of descriptions of the vamp's power surging with their emotions, and Sophie feeling that power, filtering their emotions and sending it back to them.  While I really liked the concept of energy vampirism, and Sophie's role as a modern descendant of Isis, it is a tough thing to bring to the written page.  Consequently, much of what Sophie says sounds trite, and I kept thinking as I was reading that if she is teaching beings who are hundreds of years old how to handle grief and loss, then those beings are not very bright. 

For those readers who love paranormal romance but don't enjoy graphic sex scenes, this is the book for you.  The few references to physical romance are very chaste with absolutely no descriptive action whatsoever.  While the romance of Sophie and Marek is the focus of this story, it is set against a backdrop of a political web of power-mongering between DV and vampires fighting for territory and manipulating humans.
The really exciting action comes towards the end, when Sophie is kidnapped and Marek is taken.
I really enjoyed the fast pace,  the truly scary Master Vampire character, and the steadily increasing tension of Marek being forcibly evolved.  I could not stop reading!  I feel like Sophie really redeemed herself in this part of the book, and I ended up caring about her, enough so that I am really looking forward to BLOOD RUSH (Demimonde #2), which I will review here in a few days.  

Blood Rush will be released on May 14, 2013 by Pink Narcissus Press.

Disclaimer - The author sent me this book in exchange for my honest review.

For more information check out the author's website at:

Blind Alleys: A Collection of Dead Ends  Doorways: Three Tales of No Going Back 

No comments:

Post a Comment