by Susan Sizemore, fantasy (2002)
Ace, $5.99, ISBN 0-441-00984-0

I'm a strange reader in that I really dislike picking up a book outside the romance genre and realizing that it's actually a typical romance novel. Am I making sense here? I finally pull Susan Sizemore's latest addition of her Laws Of The Blood series only to find it populated with Mary Sue Vampire Matchmakers and two failed romances. Failed romances, ie romances based on lust rather than love, are okay with me and this book will be okay if the author hasn't used the "Love" word as if she's trying to salvage Barney's last fifteen seconds of fame. (What, Barney isn't going away anytime soon? I can't hear you.)

This series is a much less gory than Laurell K Hamilton's books and a little sexier than PN Elrod's books, so it's a little bit in the middle of these two extremes. The heroine Olympias is a powerful Enforcer (vampire cops who make sure their people behave) and she keeps a female servant, Sara, but don't expect any lesbian undertones here or in Olympias' reminiscences of a female companion she had in the past. If there is any, the author carefully phases it out. Bummer. Doesn't this author know that bisexual hedonism is half the fun in vampire stories?

The plot is simple.

Lora the evil ho vampire wants our human hero Mike Falconer.

Olympias shags our hero Mike Falconer.

Mike Falconer is psychic.

Lora and Olympias - hiss, meow *scratchscratchscratch*!

Rose the vampire is being manipulated by her Companion Roger Battencourt. Battycock here wants to rule all vampires through Rose, but he too loves Rose, just like Rose loves Battycock. I'd love to read about Rose and Battycock as opposed to the Ho-Lympia-Falconer Meow-Meow Hour, but the author just has to make Battycock batty. Hmmmph.

Sara, Olympias' 100% heterosexual servant, loves Andrew the hippie vampire, and he loves her back.

Sara wants to see Olympias happy and in love, awww.

Everybody loves everybody. Awwww.

Olympias is nice in one aspect in that her vampire nature isn't actually very genteel or nice, and that there's no sugarcoating the unsavory nature of the Companion-Master bond. That's good. No Spikes in the house, yeah.

But the author just has to push the luuurve thing around, this is like Birds Of Prey on TV - any crap show that utilizes a Full House alumnus as a semi regular is beyond redemption - the characters and the relationship development are underbaked and everything is apparently motivated by love and kisses and hatred for your fellow sisters (the latter because all your sisters are sluts who just want your man - die, sluts, die!).

Oh, and newcomers should start out with the first book, The Hunt. With three half baked story arcs taking up space here, there's no room for information for newbies to get a grasp on this author's world. The Hunt is a much better book anyway.

This is a story about Barney-esque vampires in love pretending to be a story of a super vampire queen kicking ass. Ergo, the title of the book: Deceptions.

Rating: 65

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