Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blood Rules - Christine Cody


Blood Rules
Christine Cody
Ace

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Note: If you haven’t read the first book in this great trilogy, BLOODLANDS, this review contains some serious, but unavoidable, spoilers.  Do yourself a huge favor and read the first book before proceeding here.

This second installment picks up roughly two months after the events of the first book.  By this time, Mariah and the rest of her neighbors have found a new homestead.  They managed to defeat Stamp, a former Shredder, in their last home, but they know that men like him will never stop.  They know that, at some point, he’ll be back to wipe them out, or die trying.  Because Shredders, monster-killers, never stop.

The community faces a new threat now.  Mariah continues to lose control over her were form, and even the peace that Gabriel, a vampire, passes through their shared link is beginning to lose effect.  In desperation and with the tacit approval of the group (whose very existence is constantly threatened by Mariah’s problems) Mariah decides to leave the new homestead and head for the hubs in search of a cure.  This rumored, almost mythical, cure may not even exist, but she feels that she must do everything she can to find it.  Not only for herself, but for her neighbors.  Gabriel accompanies her, partly out of a sense of duty, but also with a cautious hope than any cure for Mariah might affect him, too.
 
Sometimes, the second book of a trilogy serves only as a way to get the characters from the Big Conflict A to Big Conflict B.  Not this time.  This second installment is at least as good as the first, and possibly better.  Watching Mariah and Gabriel travel through the New Badlands into outposts and finally a hub, the reader gets an expanded sense of the world.  While the story is set in a dystopian future, there are plenty of aspects of the world that are recognizable projections of society today.
 
The author’s world-building skills are undeniable.  This is a multi-faceted society that resulted from natural and economic disasters.  Members of each social ‘layer’ have concrete reasons for acting as they do.  There are hard choices, and no clear answer, but each solution is, ultimately, understandable.  Layer this realistic society with were-creatures and vampires and various other monsters, and you’ve got a post-apocalyptic Western action paranormal urban fantasy that’s as difficult to put down as it is to define.
 
Rating: 8
September 2011
ISBN# 978-0-441-02076-8

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