This week I'm going to do a little something different. I love to share some great reads I've come across and my latest paranormal read was a hefty one. If you like big tomes with beautiful lyrical writing amidst historical detail (and great world building I might add), boy have I got a book for you.
Blood Tears by Raven Dane.
I have to say I really enjoyed reading this book. It is very rich in scenery, language, world-building and characters. It kind of reminded me of Vampires of the Scarlet Order in that it deals with a group of vampires throughout the centuries but there in lies the only similarity. Sort of Anne Rice's vampire world-building with the language of Gabaldon's Outlander presenting a new addition to classic gothic literature. I mention this because I love books of this kind that takes vampire lore and creates a whole world around it. A world seen through their eyes as they live parallel to humans. In the world of Blood Tears, vampires are called the Dark Kind.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact storyline. It's not a high concept one where 'a and b meet c and therefore d happens' but it's more along the lines of 'there are these characters living in this particular world and this is their life through the ages'. Azrar is the Dark Prince of a small country called Isolann and he takes in a young mind reader named Khari. The story unfolds as Khari grows into her powers and learns of the world while offering her gift to help Azrar keep one step ahead of his enemies as the threat of 20th century technology and WWII is on the horizon. I really liked the dynamic between Azrar and Khari. Although he offered her a home and somewhat raised her, she falls in love with him and I had to say I was kind of rooting for them to get together. Although the end was contrary to this, it worked as Khari ended up with someone who shared her mutual love (although the Epilogue raises some interesting questions that may deter that possibility). Another Dark Kind, Eshan, also fell in love with Azrar and tries to warn the young girl that Dark Kind don't fall in love as humans do. Once Azrar did and suffered greatly for it.
There's a certain poetry within the characters because they feel like they are living and breathing. Garan, a Dark Kind who defies Azrar and choose to live by his own rules, is ruthless, a bit arrogant and rebellious but he is likeable at the same time. Sandor is the young abused worker with whom the story opens and his kindness and love for Khari and her mother figure Ileni is infectious. There's also a few side characters that have an agenda of their own amidst the Dark Kind and Ms. Dane takes great care to explore their desires, dismay and complexities as well.
I loved that Blood Tears took place in across the centuries throughout the large world wars and big events that really tie into historical reality. Every time I cracked open the book to read just a little bit I would find myself entranced in the story and the characters. I'm definitely going to check out the rest of the series to see what happens after the events of this book.
Although this was published in 2006, this is definitely going on my best reads of 2009.
If you're looking for a little something different in the paranormal vein, definitely check out Blood Tears, the first in a trilogy of tales focusing on the Dark Kind.