Book: A Lust for Blood
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Author: K.C. Smith
📕Buy link at the end of this post ⤵️
I was intrigued by the premise of this book. Not every time we see our protagonists being labeled as the monsters of the story, the evil, the enemy. Apart from that, we have a monster with a conscience; someone repulsed by the abomination she can become.
Meet Oriana, a beautiful white-haired representation of death, a woman who wakes up in a field full of corpses, bodies killed by her; a power, a serpent that has gone out of control. She has been cursed, and the only way to stop further destruction, is to imprisoned herself in an enchanted forest.
Meet Garren, a man who since an early age witnessed the consequences of evil. Now, set to kill every demon in Svakland, he is after the rumor of the monster hiding in the Phantom Forest. Circumstances join then his path with Oriana’s. Destiny seems to have linked their souls. However, many secrets surround them. Identities to be uncover, curses to be fulfilled… What will happen with these two and the innocent human lives caught in a war of powerful beings?
The story started a bit slow. You would be thrown some bread crumbs from time to time. It wasn’t until deep into the plot that you finally start making sense of everything. Some explanations were very satisfactory. Others I found myself needing more information to grasp it all.
Let’s start with the world. It felt too big for the story. There are many cities, roads, seas you can appreciate in the map of Svakland. There are cosmos, realms between realms that are also mentioned. All of them, except for where the story really takes place—in Sardorf—, are mentioned in a passing. However, as most of those places don’t exactly play into the story, it didn’t feel relevant to have such an expansive world.
It’s difficult to explain. In other stories—let’s use an example of the typical Fae courts—, authors widely use the seasons and times of the day to create a vast array of courts, each with a lord and powers, etc. So, even when not all the courts might be involved in the actions narrated in a book, you know they play a part in the story or in the big picture—if we are talking about a series. You are given enough description and context to understand why they need to be there, why they are a part of the setting.
In “A Lust for Blood” it didn’t feel like that. It felt like the author, for sure has a great imagination and built this entire land—Svakland and world—because there is more beyond Svakland. Nevertheless, it was lacking some connection for me in relationship to the story. In other words, the story develops in such a tiny part of this world that makes me wonder if the rest was needed.
I’m guessing will see more of it in the sequels.
And let me connect the latter with this next aspect I want to talk about. This is the first installment in the “Realm of Curses” series. It’s more of a standalone, no cliffhanger. In fact, it was so well wrapped up, that I’m not sure what the sequels could be about. I have a suspicion that we’ll see secondary characters becoming protagonists. At least, the story of Oriana and Garren feels that it reached its conclusion—even though there were some aspects that could have been explained further. I talk about this in the next section.
I can’t stop from wondering, though. I’ll use another example to explain myself. In Harry Potter, every book had its conclusion. However, the conflict with Voldemort wasn’t over. So, with the next book, we would see him trying a new way to succeed in his purposes. This said, there was a connection, there was a purpose, a major conflict that kept linked all the books in the series. Apart from that, we had a specific main conflict solved in each installment. In “A Lust for Blood” we have a main conflict that was also closed by the end. We don’t have a clear major purpose or conflict that could give you a hint of where the series is going. Is the sequel a continuation of Oriana and Garren in a new adventure? Is it going to be more in the likes of the “Graceling Realm” series where each book deals with a different set of characters and their conflicts, but develops in the same world?
I liked the evolution of the characters in terms of the identity revelations we get by the end. However, I needed more. In some cases, I needed more information to understand their roles and their possibilities as characters in a future plot or even to make sense of how they fit in the cosmos. Most of this uncovering happened right at the end of the book. Therefore, we had this new information with few paragraphs to wrapped our heads around its implications.
Also, there are many supernatural beings. However, the story is not exactly about them, even when they are the reason for everything that’s been narrated. Therefore, as I said earlier, it’s too big of a world for the story we meet in this book.
Moreover, the supernatural hierarchy was and wasn’t clear for me. There could be creatures more powerful than the ruling ones, but they were not above them? Children with more power than their procreators? There is also another ‘race—’ to put a name to it—that I didn’t quite understand its place in the hierarchy of beings or what they really are.
All in all, this book had a great premise. It also had great revelations. There was a bit of romance, for those like me, who enjoy some passion. The world and its supernatural participants were unclear for me—a mix of too much information and lack of information at the same time. It was a complex universe for such a simple story. The sequel or sequels are a mystery to me as well. Let’s see what K.C. Smith has planned in the future for us. Maybe then, we’ll understand the bigger picture and how this book fits into it.
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