Bloomsbury, £6.99, ISBN 978-14088-3190-8
As the fifth book in Alyxandra Harvey’s The Drake Chronicles series, Blood Moon is the very definition of a “halfway book” – it serves to bridge the previous book with the next book in the series. Nothing gets resolved here, it starts with a “Since we last met…” moment and concludes in a “To be continued…” manner, so this is not a good book to start if you are new to the series. For convenience, I am going to assume that you are already familiar with the series, as I don’t fancy having to explain who is who and what happened in previous books in a review for a story that has no closure.
So, where we last left off, Solange is slowly becoming crazy or evil, depending on how you look at it, due to her blood lust and the presence of a cute guy who abets and encourages her to embrace her darker passions. Kieran, her boyfriend, shows impeccable timing in wanting to take time off to study abroad, so in a way, I can’t blame that girl for going crazy. Between constant assassination attempts and worrying about her wilder impulses, the last thing anyone needs is the guy telling her that he’s going to another country.
Basically, this story sees Nicholas, Lucy, and Kieran inexplicably tiptoeing around Solange, acting like she’s a fragile princess when anyone can see that this princess is slowly turning into a bloodthirsty creature with impulse issues. It’s not too shocking, therefore, when Nicholas goes AWOL in a plot development that may be tied up to folks who want to see Solange turned to the dark side in an effort to seize back the vampire boss seat from Solange’s mother Helena. In the meantime, we learn that there are more than meets the eye to the Hel-Blar issue.
What has me puzzled here is the lack of Isabeau’s presence, as she knows more about the Hel-Blar than the other members of the family. Yet, she’s basically shoved aside here, leaving me with three people who are running around in confusion as they try to figure out what to do with Solange. In many ways, this is a frustrating development, making all three characters pretty silly, just like that fellow in zombie movies that refuses to put down a friend that had been infected with the zombie virus and causing that zombie friend to go around killing everybody else. Solange could have been stopped if these three twits have actually done something other than wringing their hands, and Nicholas may end up collateral damage to their silly antics here.
Still, it’s hard to draw a neat conclusion as to whether this is a good or bad story, because it has no conclusion by the last page. I can’t tell how well the plot developments work, not until the next book at least. All I can say is that while the main characters can get annoying with their moments of contrived stupidity, the author can still tell an entertaining fast-paced tale.
The best I can tell you is to start with the first book in the series if you want to figure out whether you want to invest time in this series. If you are already invested in this series, like me, you’ll be reading this book anyway, and you’ll be forced to read the next book to find out where things go from here, so it doesn’t matter what I say about Blood Moon, really. The book is out there, on sale, and that’s about it.