People, Places & Things
Just Add Dice
It Came from the SlushPile
A review of
by Charlotte Boyett-Campo (http://www.windlegends.com/books.htm)
Published by - Twilight Times Books (http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/)
One of the things I enjoy most as a reader is being taken to new frontiers, and Blood Wind marks something of a milestone for me in that it is the first electronic book I've ever read. It was an intriguing experience, a little hard to get used to looking at a screen instead of holding a book in hand.
A little hard, also, to get over my own personal catch - when I am at the computer, I feel like I should be doing one of three things: writing (being productive), corresponding (being social), or goofing around with a video game (being deliberately lazy). Sitting here solely to read and be entertained was a new thing for me … kind of uncomfortable, because I wanted to curl up on the couch or settle back in the comfy chair to fully be immersed.
But I got over it quickly, and while I doubt that paper books will ever fully go the way of the dodo, I am beginning to see the appeal in electronic publishing. Blood Wind made for a nice introduction to this new world for me, as it is an entertaining tale that mixes so many genres that it is hard to categorize. It presents as a romance set in sci-fi, but has themes of Celtic myth and horror woven throughout.
Blood Wind is the story of Kamerone Cree, an anti-hero as dark, deadly, and emotionless as they come. He is a Reaper, genetically destined and raised to be a brutal and efficient killing machine. The Empire he serves is in the wake of a devastating plague, harvesting the brightest and most beautiful Earth women for breeding purposes in hopes of replenishing their numbers - shades of John Norman but thankfully lacking the Gor-esque only-in-a-collar-is-a-woman-a-true-woman creepy undertone.
Cree, facing disciplinary charges, comes to the attention of a group of women working with typical devious and underhanded female sneakiness to try and destroy the Empire. In addition to his punishment, Cree is subliminally influenced to develop some very un-Reaper-like tendencies and form an emotional bond with one of the conspirators.
The scenes of Cree's reprogramming are among the best in the book, wonderfully descriptive and gripping as he is put through a variety of mental tortures. He never quite makes it to a likeable fellow, but he becomes much more interesting as he attempts to deal with these hitherto unknown feelings.
Unfortunately, the leading lady of the book didn't come close to capturing my attention. Bridget Dunne is a young scientist from Earth, chosen to become the object of Cree's programming, and is essentially used as a pawn or treated like a prize-bauble by just about everyone.
The extensive supporting cast was often confusing, with similarities of names - Dunne, Drae, Drewe, Dayle, Dean, etc. -- and a shortage of outstanding personalities that made it hard to keep track of who's who and what side they're on. The bitter and viciously vindictive Hael Sejm was one of the exceptions, but it tends to dismay me when female characters are strong only through their hatred of men, thereby still making the men the focus and reason for their strength.
My main overall reaction to Blood Wind was one of unsettledness, because it seemed that many promising threads were only partially revealed, leaving me with unanswered questions and the feeling that a lot was missing, or happening behind the scenes when it should have been more in the spotlight. Some of the confrontations and character interactions that I was expecting and hoping to see never quite panned out, and the finale felt rushed.
On a more detailed level, for the most part I found the style of writing to be good and readable, though there were a few minor things that I didn't care for - female characters soothingly referring to Cree as "baby," perhaps … I've never called a guy "baby" in my life, and had a hard time wrapping my head around it, especially when the guy in the story was six-foot-plenty of raw muscle and supposedly the most dreaded thing any woman should ever encounter. But the mention of Cree's "demon-dark" eyes was an especially appealing turn of phrase, and similar jewels of description are scattered pleasingly throughout.
The sexy bits, something to which I tend to pay attention, were smooth and steamy. Light-hearted comedy was provided by an android crewmate and Cree's increasingly frustrated conversations with the computer in his quarters, sort of a Big Sister in charge of monitoring him on many eyebrow-raising levels.
Blood Wind might not have been something I would have picked up on my own, as I read very little sci-fi or romance and know next to nothing about things Celtic. However, having been given the opportunity to read and review it, I'm glad that I did.
I think that other readers would consider Blood Wind well worth a look. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series, for review in the future when Sabledrake returns from hiatus.
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