Signet Eclipse, $14.00, ISBN 978-0-451-23156-7
Fantasy Romance, 2010
Blood on Silk is of course the first book in a series, called Awakened by Blood. I’ve always found Marie Treanor an author of interesting paranormal and urban fantasy stories that tend to be refreshingly different in one way or the other, and therefore, I didn’t mind putting down $14.00 for her Signet Eclipse debut. Imagine my disappointment when this book turns out to be something akin to a throwback to Christine Feehan’s first few Carpathian books.
Elizabeth Silk is working on a thesis for her PhD and she is in a village a distance away from Bistrita, Romania, when the story opens to interview the locals and poke around the place to get a more complete picture of the fragmented historical of the local vampire, Saloman. I won’t spoil this story much, so let me just say that she ends up discovering his tomb, with her blood nourishing that vampire back to action after over three hundred years of vampire coma. Saloman has plenty of unfinished business to look into, some of them may or may not be good for mankind in general, and Elizabeth will have to figure out where her loyalties lie – to the vampire that bewitches her or to the people who want to make sure that Saloman is put down for good. Oh, and Elizabeth’s blood is special. She’s a heroine in a paranormal romance, after all – they are all special.
I initially have high hopes for Blood on Silk because Saloman seems to be a genuinely bad and mean vampire who has all intentions of killing Elizabeth once she has outlived her usefulness to him. Of course, we all know this won’t happen, as there are more books to come in this series, and therefore, it is up to the author to keep the story interesting despite the foregone conclusion.
At first, Ms Treanor succeeds. I am initially taken aback by how much the relationship between Saloman and Elizabeth at first resembles that of the relationships in Christine Feehan’s popular series. The lines between genuine attraction and attraction created by compulsion are blurred a lot in this story, and indeed, Elizabeth’s line of defense when she wants to keep Saloman at bay is to insist that she slept with him because she didn’t want him to kill her. The fact that Saloman believes her speaks volumes about the lack of political correctness in this relationship. I actually like the touch of danger lurking underneath the whole “Mine, you are mine, the hot babe to my alpha hot vampire self!” drama because it adds a tense edge of suspense and delicious danger to the whole proceeding.
But as the story progresses, the momentum deflates. Elizabeth and Saloman just won’t stop whining and wringing their hands about how much they like the other person despite knowing that they should kill that person. Elizabeth turns into an emo twit endlessly bemoaning her attraction to Saloman. Saloman turns into a wimp, letting his enemies live and ceaselessly sighing over the fact that he is attracted to Elizabeth but she is just sleeping with him to save her life. All that whining becomes really tedious after a while, and the circular hot-and-cold games they play become utterly boring. When these two finally decide that they have to be with each other, I can only feel relief that the endless moaning and whining will finally stop.
If the author had ruthlessly exorcised the interminable whining from her story, Blood on Silk might just be an entertaining and dark romantic read. As it is, this story eventually becomes mired in repetitive emo whining of its main characters, killing off whatever goodwill I may feel at first and leaving me bored witless.