Author: Christopher Buecheler
Scope: Paranormal (vampire) romance/thriller.
In the midst of Twilight-copiers out there, it is very refreshing to finally read a book that does not turn the vampire genre into an overly dumbed-down romanticized mess. Don’t get me wrong, The Blood That Bonds is very much a romance novel with a good blend of thriller elements. However what you have here is a far more serious, complex story than the silly little Bella/Edward romance that tweens everywhere adore. This is Twilight for adults.
Ironically, at its core, The Blood That Bonds is actually rather similar to Twilight. Theroen (punny name, as you’ll soon see upon reading) vampire living for hundreds of years somehow falls in love with Two, a 19 year old prostitute enslaved by heroin (okay that’s not like Twilight) and complications arise. What makes this better than Twilight is that the author clearly has a much better grasp of how to write a compelling romance novel than Meyer and it shows in the writing. This is particularly true in the characters. In the Twilight series, characters come and go, attached at the hip to the Bella/Edward romance. Most characters only have as much importance as the main romance allows, and are otherwise pretty shallow outside of some backstory that may or may not actually be relevant. In The Blood That Bonds, every character, even the minor ones, evoke very strong emotions. You will love some, despise others, you will hold active interest in everyone’s fate, not just that of Two/Theroen.
Do not worry, there is still plenty enough romance to go around, but there is also more, so much more. It is cruelly realistic (ironic word choice I know) in its romantic storytelling. Although some obvious tropes are employed, the story remain fresh enough to keep you turning the pages until the very end. Buecheler does a great job of creating a deep vampire society with all sorts of varied clans that is only touched upon in this novel. That is part of the beauty of it though, as you can tell throughout the story that Buecheler wrote this book intending it to be the first in a series. He wrote it with clear awareness of what he wants to reveal now and save until later, as opposed to developing it as he continues the series. Although a degree of resolution is reached by the end of the novel, there are plenty enough questions that will leave you eager to continue reading.
Like I said, this novel is Twilight for adults. As such, I cannot easily recommend this one to the tweenage fangirl crowd. Foul-language is abound in this novel, including plenty of uses of the F-word. Prostitution and addictive drug-use serves as a backstory for a few characters, including the main heroine (pun intended) and there are explicit references to all of this happening to a 12-year old girl as well. Suffice to say the beginning of this novel is not a pretty sight to behold in terms of rough times, consider yourself warned. That aside, I highly recommend this novel for young adults and older folk who thought Twilight was pretty good but want something more serious, and likewise for the Twilight-haters that who want to sink their teeth into a good vampire romance.