Friday, 24 April 2009

In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix

In the Blood picks up where A Rush of Wings ended with certain forces in government eliminating all evidence of project Bad Seed - the programme designed to produce sociopathic killers under the control of the authorities - leaving Dante and Heather not knowing who they can trust. Meanwhile Lucien the Fallen is caught between protecting Dante his son, and the rest of the Fallen who would see the young Maker installed on their Chaos Throne.

This was the Kelley Armstrong bookclub book for March and I'm sorry that I missed so much of the discussion there, unfortunately it's taking me quite a long time at the moment to get through a book. First off - the cover this time is a 100% improvement over the previous one, less streetwalker, more street smart and is much closer to my own image of Heather and she's even wearing a trench coat. :)

This is a complex tale that builds on the story from the first book, so I can't recommend that you start the series here. Instead I'd recommend you check out A Rush of Wings first. In the Blood has conspiracy on conspiracy on conspiracy but Dante stands at the centre, still hardcore when it comes to the truth, setting an almost impossible standard for others. Lucien tries to tell him
"The truth is never what you hope it will be...And the cost is always higher than you imagine."
If Dante is going to be saved then the Bad Seed project needs putting to rest once and for all, but Bad Seed are no longer the only people after Dante, everyone wants a piece of him for their own purposes, from the shady human government to the Fallen angels. Which brings me to the quote that is at the centre of the book for me, and one which could be applied to most of the characters. Again from Lucien,
"We all do what we must. Each one of us. Then once we've done what was necessary, we begin anew."
More characters are introduced here - Heather's father and sister. And my favourite new character Caterina Cortini - the cleaner - human child of a vampire. She walks between two worlds having not yet made the choice which she'll live in. Through her we learn a little more about the vampire culture and I hope she'll have a role to play in future books.

There is a point in this story towards the end where everything starts to go a little haywire - this is in keeping with the tale and the worldbuilding but I find myself going 'Whoooaaaa, I'm not quite sure about this' and it's credit to Adrian Phoenix's storytelling that she manages to keep me on the ride. In fact if I had any complaints it would be that occasionally I lose track of who the characters are - there is quite a large cast and towards the end as we build towards the climax we get multiple points of view. The one I kept not being able to place was Sheridan. In the previous book if I remember correctly it was Silver and Simone I kept getting confused - maybe I have a problem with names beginning with S?

It seems we haven't yet seen the limits of Dante's powers. The next book Beneath the Skin releases early 2010. And I can't wait to find out what happens next.

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