Friday, February 7, 2014

Blood Guilt (Blood Hunters #1) by Marie Treanor

Mihaela survived the murder of her parents and sister at the hands of vampires.  She has spent her life as a vampire hunter, tracking the murderer, while attempting to keep humanity safe from the vampire threat.  After a surprise alliance with a few key vampires, the hunters now find themselves divided.  Some hunters desire to end contact and continue an adversarial relationship, while others seek to enlarge the partnership and work on building a relationship between vampires and humans.  Despite all that Mihaela has been through, she is quite undecided and so she takes a trip to consider her options.  When she is forced to save a child whose psychic power seems to draw him to vampires,
Mihaela finds herself in a race against time to not only save the child, but all of humanity from a new vampire threat.  Unfortunately for Mihaela, this time not only is the world at risk, but her very heart, when the vampire Maximilian appears and demands a partnership because he too has a special affinity with the child.  In the process of saving humanity, will Mihaela lose her heart?

The Blood Hunters series is a follow up to the Awakened by Blood trilogy.  This is my first exposure to Treanor's work, so I cannot speak about the continuity of this work.  I will however say that once again, we have yet another story where the female protagonist has a tortured past, leaving her essentially isolated.  Dead parents has become such a common trope that at this point, it's beyond tiresome. 

Blood Guilt is the typical paranormal romance in that it has the typical boy meets girl but girl doesn't like boy storyline.  They work together and boy and girl come together briefly, until something comes between 'them to add tension to the story and finally the problem is overcome and we get the HEA. Blood Guilt is like a paranormal romance written by the numbers because there is no movement from the typical narrative and no doubt from the very first word how this story is going to end.  I will say that Treanor at the very least skipped the all too typical comparing of a penis to things like tree stumps or wrists. Unfortunately, Treanor did include having Maximilian say repeatedly that he could smell Mihaela's arousal, which to me just reads as disgusting genital odor. Yes, I know this sort of language is typical, but that doesn't make it any less gross.

For a paranormal romance, Treanor did include quite a bit of world building which I greatly enjoyed. I found the vampire lore to be original and very much liked the idea of an original group of vampires who then created more vampires. Treanor even went as far as to explain how it is that her vampires could consume liquid without a digestive system.  Unfortunately, along with the great world building, came the typical vampire angst in that Maximilian, the vampire love interest, was musty and suffering, until Mihaela comes along with her extra special specialness (I couldn't resist the snark).

I didn't expect much inclusion in Blood Guilt, as paranormal romance is particularly guilty of erasure.  Cyn is an African-American woman who had an extremely brief role.  She essentially is deemed misunderstood and wrapped in her anger, for her refusal to align with Mihaela and Maximilian. I was greatly surprised by the inclusion of a disabled character, as people living with disabilities are often ignored to center hyper able beings.  Istvan had a very small role, but he seemed intelligent and inquisitive.  I would have enjoyed his character much more had Treanor not decided to use woo woo to make him ambulatory again.  The transition of disabled to abled bodied erases any benefit from the inclusion and implies that disabled people have no room in this world.

Blood Guilt is predictable and does include quite a few of the tropes which have become the norm for paranormal romance.  That said, it was will paced, even if Treanor did have the two lovers declaring love after essentially 6 days together. Blood Guilt is entertaining for what it is and if you go into it expecting a typical paranormal romance then you won't be disappointed. It's not meant to give you a great story but a bit of whirlwind romance to distract you for a few hours and despite its faults, Blood Guilt accomplishes its mission.