Blood Magic by Jennifer Lyons conjured some interesting mental pictures because of her characters’ names. But, since I like Pride and Prejudice and I adore Guns ‘n’ Roses, it could be worse. The mental soundtrack that played while I read could have been worse. And the GNR library is big enough that there was something for every scene. What am I tlaking about? Well, Blood Magic gives us Darcy and Axel (and every time I read “Darcy” I thought of Mr. Darcy despite the fact that here Darcy is a she and every time I read “Axel” I pictured Axel Rose or Eddie Murphy in Bev. Hills Cop, but anyway…). Darcy is an earth witch and Axel is a cursed witch hunter. Totally forumlaic in nature – they are cursed, can’t be together, have wicked sex and can’t keep their hands off each other afterwards and call that love, big battle, one rejects the other and then the paranormal causes them to see they are destined to be together forever. I’d say that is a spoiler, except if you read anything regularly in this genre, I gave absolutely nothing away.
I was excited to read something about a different aspect of the paranormal (versus the werewolf and vampire). Although I can only take so much when it comes to references about chakras (why the Alyson Noel Immortal Series took a serious turn for the worse at book 4). Luckily, the mysticism behind it all was limited.
The curse that set this whole book up threw me though. First, why would there be hunters in the first place – maybe it was a terminology thing, but if the original purpose of the hunters was to protect them, why were they called “hunters” from the beginning? I also am a little tired of feeling like the authors in this genre simply steal from one another. Shades doomed to walk the earth without their souls and that would be terribly painful – we haven’t seen that too often (she says sarcastically). And a curse that requires sex to take the edge off (again… in law school plagiarism was an offense punishable by keel hauling. Ok, I exaggerate. But only a little. But I have felt lately while reading this genre that I am getting a course in how to plagiarize.)
And then there are the tattoos. Don’t get me wrong, I love ’em (even have some ink myself), but why is it in this genre the tattoos are always sort of alive? Who is this tattoo artist, and how do I get an appointment, so that I can get some ink with magical properties?
And then back to the curse itself. Why would demon witches want to curse the hunters so that all other witches were killed. From a plot perspective, this wasn’t really ever explained so that I totally understood it. I had to give up on the understanding and just go with it. And I hate it when I need to do that – totally sucks some of the enjoyment out of reading books like that. When the plot isn’t carefully enough planned for me to understand and carry that forward and start to have little “ah-ha!” moments while reading, I feel gipped. And while I love a good mystery – even one that crosses multiple books in a series – what the heck made a witch a demon witch, wasn’t really integral to the plot and could have been explained much earlier. Then I wouldn’t have felt so disappointed when I found out (my thought was “that’s it? Is that really what I have been waiting to find out?”).
Finally, while I know there is another book after this, I am wondering how far this series will go. I like the serial para-romance stuff. Seems like we could get a number of books out of this – Sutton, Key, Ram and others (maybe there will be more to Joe too, in a sort of Butch/JR Ward kinda way). Maybe some of my complaints are really a reflection of my inability to find any info if this book will go beyond a 2-parter (**Update: I originally wrote this review some time ago, and realized I hadn’t posted it. Now that I am looking to read the next books, goodreads lists 5 installments. So I have some reading and updating to do**) and much of it was a set up for the next book(s). For example, we get the sense that the demon Asmodeus is really important – he was involved in the spell gone wrong and the curse, but we see a door literally shut him out at the end and then the focus is put back on Quinn and Reed (sorry, 2 big-wig rogue hunters) and we hear no more about him. That was sort of a let down as there is a lot of paranormal possibility in his involvement. But again, maybe that’s for later books.
On the positive note, I liked the idea of the Wing Slayer (tempered by the notion I mentioned earlier about needing hunters – or slayers – who are supposed to protect the witches) and the tapestry and the lore about how a witch gets her spells was interesting. It was fun to see the “Crone” manipulate technology and Eve and Hannah were great additional characters. I will read the next one, but will be hoping for a little more planning with the plot and hope that if the next is the last, I feel a little more satisfied. Finally, turning to the heart of this genre – the steaminess (I think I need to create my own scale for my reviews of these books…) was good. It was a little repetitive at times – taking away from how steamy it could have been. But it was enough to make me a little pink in the cheeks at times. So – good, but not really juicy. It was also a really quick read – 4 hours – for those that are looking for something light and quick, with some semi-steamy scenes.