Monday, 4 May 2009

The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout

The Turning is the first in the Blood Ties series by Jennifer Armintrout.

"I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. CarrieAmes just eig ht months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck. So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I'm bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he's one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn't get much worse -- except I'm attracted to them both. Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn't exactly how I'd imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that's what I'll do. Fangs bared."

That summery from the back of the book sums up the plot really well. That is pretty much what happens, with a few surprises thrown in along the way. So I'll bypass that and talk a bit about the characters first. Carrie is a strong woman, but with a vulnerable side. She wants to be needed and loved desperately, almost to the point where she'll destroy herself to get it. But she won't sacrifice those she loves for anything. Carrie doesn't have any family or real friends before she becomes a vampire, so she's not dealing with the pain of leaving that behind. She does however, have to deal with walking away from her job. Her career was her life and she didn't want to give that up.

The vampire who helps her through her change is Nathan. He's a 'good' vampire, he belongs to the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement, a group of vampires dedicated to wiping out their own species, and as such, he should kill Carrie. Nathan has an adopted humanteen aged son, Ziggy, who is awkward and knows too much darkness for someone his age. The relationship they have is very, very sweet. You get to see from both sides just how much they love the other, without it really being said.

Cyrus is Carries Sire. He's a very dark and twisted vampire, but there are times when you almost feel sorry for him too. Until you see just how evil he is. Thenthere's Dahlia. She's a human witch with a lot of power and she is in love with Cyrus. She would dearly love to see Carrie dead. For some reason I quite like her character. Or maybe she's someone I just love to hate. Either way, she's pretty entertaining.

This book isn't for the faint hearted. It's really graphic and gruesome in places, and generally very dark. Everyone has deep, dark secrets to hide, things they don't want anyone to know, things they blamethemselves for with no reason at times. You think you know whats going on for one particular character, and then something happens and you realise it wasn't even close to that. Life, orun-life, for these guys, is not easy.

The plot starts a little slow, but it picks up and then flows pretty well. There are a few laughs thrown in to keep it from being too dark, and they work really well. The balance of the Movement vampires against the evil ones, and how Carrie feels stuck in the middle, is very well done. The world created here is pretty intense, but it helps give everything more depth. Overall, a really, really great read!

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