Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Just Reviewed Ash Krafton’s “Blood Rush” at SBR

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Folks, I just reviewed Ash Krafton’s BLOOD RUSH at Shiny Book Review (SBR for short, as always).  It’s a worthy sequel in many ways to the excellent BLEEDING HEARTS (previously reviewed at SBR), but it features one thing I had a really tough time getting past — an odd, almost completely nonsensical romance.

Normally, a book like BLOOD RUSH would be featured during SBR’s “Romance Saturday” promotion, but I just couldn’t do it this time because of the nature of this particular romance.  Krafton’s main character in both books, Sophie Galen, has taken up with the brother of her former lover, Rodrian Thurzo, for reasons that aren’t well-rooted.

It’s tough for me to review a book like BLOOD RUSH, which does so very many things right as it has great dialogue, interesting plotlines, excellent characterization, and fits Krafton’s own DemiVampire (DV for short) into the prevailing “otherworld” mythos alongside better-known magical races such as Vampires and Werewolves (note that Krafton does not use an -s for either DemiVampire or Vampire), but doesn’t root the romance to the same depth as all the rest of it.

I actually put BLOOD RUSH down for a whole month because I was afraid of what Krafton was going to do with the nascent Sophie-Rodrian romance.  Wisely, she found a way out of that morass (no, I’m not going to say how).  But going there at all didn’t make any sense to me.

Krafton’s writing is so good, I expected better from her even though this is only her second novel.  My guess as to why she’d put this strange romance into BLOOD RUSH is because she probably wanted to show that Sophie is just as human and fallible as everyone else despite having great power as an empath (which is why Sophie’s been called to become a Sophia, or wise counselor/problem solver, in the first place).  If so, I can understand why she did it even though I still don’t like it.

As a reviewer, I have to mention it whenever I have big problems with a plotline, no matter how much I love the rest of the book.  I did so recently with my review of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s DRAGON SHIP — those two are among my very favorite authors and have been so for a very long time.  I did so, most spectacularly, in my review of Debbie Macomber’s HANNAH’S LIST, even though there was a time in my life where Macomber’s Heart of Texas series helped me get through a nasty divorce (this being long before I ever met my wonderful late husband, Michael).

It’s tougher to do this with a novelist with only two novels under her belt as compared to a pair of authors with over a dozen (Lee and Miller) or someone with over a hundred (Macomber).  I don’t like doing it.  But I do a disservice to myself and my readership if I fail to point out something I really don’t like, even if the rest of the book is good and I still plan to read the rest of the series.

Overall, my hope for the third book in the Demimonde series is that either Marek will somehow be able to come back to Sophie or another strong character completely unrelated to Marek or Rodrian comes into the picture and is a worthy match for Sophie.  Anything else doesn’t make sense, and as a writer myself, I know I’d rather write a worthy foil for my romantic lead than someone who really isn’t up to par for this character, even if he might be a good match for 99 out of 100 other women.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 25, 2013 at 6:11 am

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