Flesh and Blood
Published 2011 392 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
The covenant holding the othernatural and our mortal world apart has broken, promising a dark future for humankind. The Ring of Sorrows will be crucial in salvaging this mess – but this powerful artefact is missing and Chrysabelle was the last to see it, placing her life in great danger.
But instead of lying low, she must fulfil her debt to the undead outcast Malkolm. This requires them to return to the hidden vampire city of Corvinestri, the very last place either of them will find safety. Especially when they will encounter power-hunger witches and a host of hostile vampires.
If Chrysabelle survives her choices, what’s left of her life will never be the same.
Flesh and Blood is the second book in Kristen Painter’s new House of Comarré urban fantasy series. It follows on directly from where the first House of Comarré book (Blood Rights) finished and further develops the characters and plotlines introduced in that book. For that reason I’d recommend new readers to read these books in order.
In my earlier review for Blood Rights I established that while I thought the House of Comarré had potential to be a great addition to the urban fantasy genre, I wasn’t impressed by the general futuristic world-building, one-dimensional villains and highly contrived relationship between Chrysabelle and Malkolm. Flesh and Blood sees a similar lacklustre approach to building a believable futuristic setting and the main villain of the piece still has all the character depth of a shallow puddle – but since Chrysabelle and Malkolm now have a real reason to know and interact with each other the portrayal of their relationship is much improved, which strengthens the story greatly.
Flesh and Blood is a more evenly paced novel too, with plenty of action, mystery and danger equally distributed throughout the story. New characters are introduced, both good guys and bad guys, and they work well with the established characters to give the story more depth. Creek, an ex-con turned vampire slayer, is a particularly good addition. He is revealed to be a member of the Kubai Mata a shadowy organisation dedicated to protecting humans from the othernaturals. The recently broken covenant that protected humans from becoming supernatural prey has drawn the Kubai Mata to Paradise City, but most of the othernaturals are sceptical about their existence, not seeming to believe that the Kubai Mata is real.
Flesh and Blood is a more engaging read than Blood Rights, the story’s highly imaginative supernatural mythology is developed nicely and keeps the characters interesting, even if the characters themselves are still a little grating at times. So overall I’d say Flesh and Blood is a better book than the earlier Blood Rights, and yet for some reason I still find myself unable to love this book as much as I’d hoped to. Maybe the next instalment will do it for me. Who knows?
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