A Kiss of Blood by Pamela Palmer
Date: June 25, 2013
Genre: Science Fiction / Fantasy Fiction / Romance
Series: Book Two of Vamp City
Prequel: A Blood Seduction
Rating: A Vacation by the beach
e-ARC provided by Edelweiss.
This book continues the story of Quinn Lennox and her life-changing discovery of V.C., or “Vamp City,” an alternate world connected to Washington, D.C.
V.C. was created by a magician around the middle of the nineteenth century, and is decaying as the magic leaks into Quinn’s D.C. It is a haven for vampires, demons, and werewolves. Without sunlight, the world remains in perpetual darkness. Outside the world dominated by humans, the balance of power has shifted: humans are slaves, serving only to feed the vampires, who need not only blood, but emotion (fear, pain, pleasure) to survive.
In the first of the series, the reader is introduced to Quinn Lennox. Quinn has inexplicable abilities, and her only connection is with her brother, Zack. When her brother’s best friend, Lily, walks through a sunbeam into V.C., Quinn and her brother follow, only to be immediately separated. Quinn is quickly “acquired” by a fear-feeding vampire named Arturo. As usual with paranormal vampire stories, Quinn finds the vampire strangely, disturbingly attractive.
This book opens with Quinn back in D.C., and Zack fading away from some unknown disease. Lily is still missing in V.C. Quinn is about to decide whether she needs to take her brother back to V.C. for a cure, when the decision is made for her. Traders (a.k.a. demons who engage in the human slave trade) find Quinn and Zack, and precipitate their unplanned return. The relationship between Quinn and Arturo is tense, because he habitually lies to her, and so she doesn’t trust him. He tells Quinn that the only chance of saving her brother lies in restoring V.C., which is something only she has the power to do.
The relationship between Arturo and Quinn evolves as Arturo stops lying and Quinn starts trusting. Though there is nothing new about the source of romantic tension between the two main characters, it is well sustained throughout most of the book.
Quinn, Arturo, Zack, and a myriad of supporting characters work against Arturo’s master, who has become increasingly twisted as his world disintegrates and the human world draws further away. Over the course of the mission to save her brother, Quinn gets to know other vampires, immortal humans, and Traders. Her perceptions of Vamp City fade from black-and-white to a spectrum of grays, as she realizes that an individual’s species does not always determine that individual’s moral compass or attitude towards others.
This is a paranormal romance that addresses racial/species prejudice, learning to understand others who look different and have different ways of living. It is a dark book about vampires who do not sparkle, and in most cases, see humans as sources of nourishment.
The world is unusual and disturbing. The storyline (young, abnormal woman with special powers embarks on a mission to save the world) is not unique, but interesting all the same. The ending leaves the reader at the edge of a cliff, and so I clearly have to read the next book in this series to find out where we land at the bottom.