Ellora’s Cave, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-4199-1196-5
Fantasy Erotica, 2007
Our hematologist heroine Dr Cecilia Barnes is in the car park one evening when she is attacked by – and I quote from the book – “Ohmygodthey’revampiresohholyshitthey’re FUCKING VAMPIRES”. Apparently her research, of which I have no clear idea of even after reading this story, is making her the target of the mean bad vampire Valentin. Our hero Julian Mansfield saves her and then takes her in, wooing and dining her while offering her protection. Cecilia and he fall in love – he’s obscenely rich and good-looking, so really, what’s not to love? – but Julian is hiding a secret from her. He knows more about the bad guys who are after Cecilia than he lets on. Even better, he’s a vampire himself, only he doesn’t tell her that. Oh, what will happen now?
Under any circumstances, which is to say, in a story that has a plot different from this one, I will enjoy Blood Will Tell so much more. Julian lies and lies constantly in this story but he also apologizes so prettily towards the end and Cecilia has plenty of correct things to tell him when she learns of the things he’s been keeping from her. Under any other circumstances, I will find these two adorable, if a little bratty at times, and likable. Their relationship is also most palatable to read, really, being wonderfully free of “mate” or “destiny” mumbo-jumbo that makes falling in love with these critters seem like an inevitable collision with a train that one cannot escape no matter what. These two actually fall in love, albeit at an accelerated speed because we need to have those sex scenes burning up the pages, before deciding that they want to be together at the end. Imagine that.
Unfortunately, I have some difficulty in getting past the fact that despite having encountered vampires for the first time and nearly losing her life in the process, Cecilia starts turning into a sassy heroine with plenty of comebacks for Julian in a matter of pages. The transition feels too unrealistic to me. I also wish that the author has delved more into the nature of Cecilia’s research. The details in this story are too vague to give me a good idea of why she is so important. Ms Quinn doesn’t even use the word “hemoglobin” in this book, hmph. Is she worried that her readers will see stars if she puts in too many scientific details about Cecilia’s research? These details would have actually made the story seem more credible, I believe.
Oh, and I do have my worries about a hero who drops references to The Princess Bride. Especially since he’s a vampire and we all know from Anne Rice before she turns her claws into poor Jesus Christ that all male vampires will love nothing better than to neck and cuddle with other male vampires if such actions will improve their emo street cred with the teenage Goth girl community out there.
Anyway, Blood Will Tell is a very readable story with characters who are easy to like and root for. However, the story doesn’t feel too deep or substantial due to the lack of details in several aspects of the plot as well as a rushed feel to the character and storyline development. I can’t help feeling that this is one story which is finished and submitted for publication when the author could have expanded it a little and flesh it out some more to make it better.