Monday, March 21, 2011

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Laurie London

Bonded by Blood
HQN
January 2011

Book Blurb:
Some cravings are too powerful to resist...

Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations—vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.

For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her . . .

As I was trying to decide which debut novel to read for this week’s post, I noticed a mini-trend. Vampires are on the rise (pun intended *G*). Several of the fanged variety have hit the shelves in the past 3 months from first time authors. Interesting.

I don’t know about the others, but London’s vampires (at least the good ones) have a new trait: they not only drink blood but they can also absorb energy from humans by touch, to the extent where they only need blood once a month or so. I enjoyed that new twist. However, they also eat real food all the time and can go out in the sunlight for limited amounts of time, something I’m not a huge fan of. I say if you’re going to use vampire characters, they should have vampire limitations. Otherwise, they seem too human IMO.

The Beginning:
Oh my goodness. As writers, it’s drummed into our heads that we need to have a great opening in order to grab the reader’s (and editor and agent’s) attention. Boy howdy, this one has it and then some. The first chapter is stellar and the next few are hot on its heels. Great pacing and sexual tension between the hero and heroine. I love the inner dialogue when Dom and Mackenzie are in each other’s heads and don’t understand why. I re-read the beginning several times just because I enjoyed it so much and wanted to absorb the author’s skill.

The Middle:
Unfortunately, after the intense sexual tension of the opening chapters, the middle chapters come to a slow, painful crawl. I’m all for the slow build in the character’s romantic relationship. I love “the chase.” But it’s a delicate balancing act and I’m afraid the beginning magic was lost as Dom courted Mackenzie. Then, suddenly we fast forward to their breakup and we aren’t even clued in until the end of the chapter that they’ve been together for weeks. I really felt like I missed something. This problem is compounded by the fact that nothing much happens in the external plot. Dating is boring if someone’s not trying to kill you while you’re doing at it. *G*

Some of the problem may have been because there were scenes in secondary characters' point of views that served little to no purpose. There was one scene in particular where the POV character didn’t even warrant a name. He was Football Jersey guy – no lie. I saw right through what the author was trying to do: relay information that she wanted the reader to know but that the hero and heroine didn’t. This could have been handled better by, I don’t know, maybe showing us the villain’s POV and letting him reveal the info to us. The villain, by the way, doesn’t show up until chapter 16. Way too long, IMO.

The End:
Once the villain and his minion vampires show up and start going after Mackenzie with her special blood, things pick back up. The pacing and tension is regained and I plowed through to the end.

The ‘IT’ Factor:
The opening chapters of this book are awesome – a sexual tension-filled page turner. If this author entered it in unpublished contests, I’m sure she won them all. Any agents or editors who read the first chapter no doubt asked to see the full by the end of chapter 1. If beginning writers want to know how a great opening is done, read this book! My only wish is that the whole book was a great as the beginning. Maybe the 2nd book in the series will be.

1 comment:

  1. I'm interested. I'll look for this one. Thanks again for doing this series. I look forward to your reviews. :)

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