The Blood That Bonds by Christopher Buecheler
- free download for Amazon Kindle as of July 10, 2011
"Her name was Two, and she sometimes thought she could smell her death."
With that opening line we begin the story of Two, whose real name is Ashley Majors. She is a heroin addicted teenage prostitute. It's almost impossible to feel anything but sympathy for her, as the opening scene has her on her hands and knees begging her pimp for her day's ration of smack. We learn how Two ended up in this house of hell, and she immediately becomes the underdog we all want to win.
Two's services are requested by the mysteriously dark and debonair Theroen who shows up to save her in a shiny black Ferrari. He takes her to a swanky Italian restaurant then drives her at breakneck speed away from New York and into the country where, unbeknownst to her, he turns her into a vampire.
Life at vampire central, although filled with luxury and priceless antiques, turns out to be anything but fabulous. Enter the villain of the story, a completely nutters master vampire called Abraham. Added to the mix are a Dr. Jekyll/Ms. Hyde vampire named Melissa/Missy and a night walker named Tori that has almost completely regressed to a primal state as a result of the vampiric change.
The romantic arc between Two and Theroen does not always make sense. Although this writer believes in love at first sight, it would seem an impossibility that Two, as street-smart as she is, would not only fall head over heels in love with someone she just met, but the idea that she would trust him as completely as she does just doesn't sit well. She should be suspicious of him, at the very least for turning her into a vampire without her consent.
And, although most of the characters and their relationships with others are well developed, we aren't told much about Abraham, other than that he's as powerful as a god and apparently as mean as a snake.
With that said, the story itself was interesting and portrayed vampires as the human-hunting blood-thirsty beasts that I think they should be. The urge to hunt and kill is primal. They know they are the top of the food chain and they revel in it.
As events unfolded, I found myself alternately wanting to praise and throttle the writer. He takes us on roads that we don't expect to travel and the story itself is often the polar opposites of dark and gritty and bright and heartwarming.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written tale involving the darker side of vampires. I wouldn't necessarily consider this book to be a paranormal romance, as it doesn't seem that the romantic angle is the prominent plot point. It is important, but the main character's struggles are what's important in this story.
On a zero to five scale with zero being the worst, this book gets FOUR STARS!
Available for free (as of July 10, 2011) as a Kindle edition at amazon.com.