While I’ve always found vampires and their associated to be fascinating, with my fascination comes a picky, almost elitist view of how they should be: monstrous, dangerous, and—while they can and should have intelligence and character, the fact that they’re monsters should always lurk in the background. Also—and really, does this even need to be said?—NO SPARKLING.
Camela Thompson’s Blood, Spirit, and Bone comprises the second book in a series that, so far as I’m concerned, does vampires right. I still love the idea of how vampirism manifests itself in this series, and Blood, Spirit, and Bone deepens the lore already established in the first book. (One example: blood is only useful to a vampire when drank fresh from a living creature. A vampire in Thompson’s world can’t live off of bagged blood, and I absolutely love this detail.)
I won’t explain the plot here; you’ve already read that from the back cover description, after all. What I will say is Blood, Spirit, and Bone is an engaging read. Thompson is very economical with her characters: each character here has a purpose and a clearly drawn agenda (well, save for Sean, whose agenda is primarily just to figure out what the heck is going on with him). Thompson does an excellent job drawing those characters. Even the one I didn’t like and hoped would die (yeah, I can be an unfeeling bastard sometimes) was strongly defined. Thompson made me get to know him, just to make me all the more sure that I didn’t like him.
I should mention that this character had a definite, vital purpose to the story, and there are plenty of characters I did enjoy having around. I especially enjoyed the interplay between Josette and Lucian, two vampires who must guide Olivia’s evolution into a hunter even as they realize she may at some point find either of them to be a tasty snack. (I loved that dynamic, by the way.)
Along the way, we get a few other creatures of the night, and dangers out of legend. Adding to my own personal enjoyment of the book is the fact that it’s set in Seattle and areas near it, which made things all the more real. Ever driven across Ebey Island? You’ll never look at it the same way again.
Additional kudos to Thompson for avoiding another vampire book cliché I dislike: There are no werewolves here, and no vampire/werewolf love-triangle. Very refreshing! This is the second book in a planned series, so of course there’s a few threads left dangling, but the book does give closure on its plot and character arcs. (It doesn’t just end.) I’m anxious to see what’s surely to develop in book three…
Full disclosure: While this as an unsolicited and honest review, Camela Thompson and I share the same publisher, and shared a reading event last May at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington.