Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Review: "Blood Tears" (Denise K. Rago)

In Blood Tears, the second installment of her vampire novels, author Denise K. Rago revisits Christian, Michel, and Amanda, whose relationship triangle --- while not exactly love --- grows ever closer in the face of an even more dangerous threat than before. (Read my review of Immortal Obsession, her first book.)

With the immediate threat vanquished, Amanda and Christian settle down to date quite peacefully ... except that there are still darker forces at work behind the scenes. Over in Europe, a coven of vampires so old and powerful that they are unknown to all but a select few have settled on Amanda as a threat to their ways. Suddenly, no one is trustworthy.

Rago is to be credited with sufficiently upping the ante in this sequel. Too often, a series of books --- even just two or three, total --- falls flat after the first excellent offering, with authors scrambling to find something even more important to put at stake. In this case, Christian and Amanda find themselves torn between their feelings for one another and their growing realization that perhaps, because of forces beyond their control, they are not meant to be together, after all.

Themes explored in the work include betrayal, love, passion, hatred, bitterness, commitment and fidelity, and the age-old question about whether tradition preserved is more important than change accommodated (or even welcomed).

Christian, in particular, becomes an even more complicated character than in the first novel, if that were possible. His centuries-old devotion to a former lover --- from whom Amanda herself is descended --- shakes to the core everything he thought he had figured out about himself, his friend Michel, and Amanda. His torment is a large part of what compels the reader onward through the pages as suspense builds to a climax that I, for one, did not foresee.

As in the first novel, a future edition of Blood Tears could use a close edit to eliminate things like head-hopping, errors in grammar and punctuation, and inconsistencies. Much of the first several chapters is summary of the first novel, which slowed the pace of the current story considerably, to my dismay; I prefer that even novels in a series can sufficiently stand alone from one another that a reader need not have to be told (rather than shown) what happened previously.

Further, Blood Tears is more philosophical and, perhaps, emotionally weightier than the first in the series, which translates to more internal monologues and long paragraphs of reminiscent thoughts for more than one character. Finally, the flashbacks to another time and place, while to be praised for "showing" rather than "telling" what happened, are often difficult to keep arranged in some semblance of chronological order in the reader's mind.

Nevertheless, an admirable second offering by an author who clearly loves her closely researched French Revolution and the paranormals she has chosen to populate her stories.

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Author: Denise K. Rago
Title: Blood Tears
ISBN: 978-1-49298-583-9
Purchase here:

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the author in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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