Monday 1 October 2007

Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein


Blood Drive continues from where The Becoming left off. We join Anna Strong at Culebra's hideout as she is about to return to the normal world. She's determined to fit being a vampire in with her previous life. But things are about to get more complicated when Trisha, a girl who may be her long-dead brother's child, goes missing.

Weirdly I started this book sure that I wasn't going to like it. Which was fine, 'cause I'd run out of space on my bookshelves and needed to make some room. Instead I found myself really enjoying this one, much more than book 1 of the series.

The dialogue is witty and the friction between Anna and some of the other characters makes for a story that you want to keep reading.

"Ah you're talking to me. Good. I thought you'd called me here to impress me with your digs. Or the speed at which you shuffle papers. And, I must say, both are impressive."

The thing I like about Anna is that she is flawed and makes mistakes. Something I don't think we see enough of in protagonists. She still relies too much on her gut to get her out of situations - but that is who she is. It's interesting that she had this bad instinct thing going before she became a vampire - it's how she ended up as one in the first place. By the end of the book she realizes that though her vampire instincts are good, in some situations she must over-ride them. This makes for one of the most powerful scenes in the story when she finally understands what being a vampire means. All the way through she's been told that she has to make a choice, but it's only at that moment that she gets it.

I love the relationship between Anna and Frey and think they make a much better partnership than either Anna and Max, or Anna and David. Frey won't let her get away with anything, unlike the other men in her life who she has a tendency to walk over. In a way this book is Anna coming to terms with what she'll have to let go of, if she's going to survive. She can't maintain her human relationships indefinitely, her family and friends are going to age and die. And it's through the search for Trish that she finally comes to understand this. I think as we move away from Anna the bounty hunter and come to know Anna the vampire that the strength in storytelling evident here, will shine through. It's almost as if the restraint of being human was holding the character back.

Casper makes an all too brief appearance. My fingers are still crossed that we'll find out who he is in a future book. Perhaps Book 3 the aptly titled The Watcher?

I still don't like the 'no reflection' and 'no breathing' which seem to me two of the silliest vampire conventions to follow. But this is something you can pretty much ignore unless it's brought up by the characters so doesn't detract from the story that much.

If I had any niggles it was that I'm not sure I understand the point of Max as a character, he seems pretty superfluous to the plot. On p35 Anna notes "I'd actually forgotten for a moment that he's in the room." Which kind of sums up their relationship perfectly. The way she treats Max is appalling though he doesn't seem to care, in fact his emotional investment in their relationship seems to increase in direct proportion to the amount hers decreases. I hope we find out soon why he hasn't been written out of the plot yet.

The Watcher (Book 3) is released Dec. 2007


Anonymous said...

I felt the same way about Max and said so in my review of the book. The author promised that the man situation would become clearer in the next book.

Naomi said...

You make this sound so much more interesting than I imagined it would be... Dammit! Another "maybe" to add to the buying list.

LesleyW said...

Scooper - checked out your review. :) I think we both liked the second book more even though we weren't expecting too. Which is much better than it being the other way round.

Naomi - LOL that's exactly how I felt. I'm now looking forward to seeing where this series goes with Book 3. Hopefully it will keep improving.

Jeanne Stein said...

Hi Lesley-- I wanted to thank you for reviewing Blood Drive. I must admit I've gone back and forth with Max, but as scooper noted, he does play a part in The Watcher and a conclusion is reached in one way or another (don't want to give too much away!) Casper puts in an appearance as well, leaving more questions than answers in book three. He is going to appear again down the line.

If you or your readers have any questions, or would like to comment further, please feel free to contact me at
I'd love to hear from you.

Best, Jeanne Stein

LesleyW said...

If anyone wants to contact Jeanne C. Stein to comment on the Anna Strong books.

I think the e-mail is