Amazon | Red Sage Publishing
*Novel provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
For more information please visit Angela Knight's website.
Elyn Castel spent 50 years as the slave of a vampire sociopath. Now, thanks to cyborg bodyguard Jarl “Blade” Bladin, Kruz is dead. But Blade is after Elyn now, and she has to do everything she can to get away from Blade. But that’s easier said than done…
Blood and Steel by Angela Knight was something of a surprise. With well under a hundred pages, this was marvelously written with an interesting mix of science fiction, paranormal romance and some exquisitely erotic romance. This may have been my first time reading this author, but I can safely say that it will not be my last!
Initially, I was ensnared by Knight's amazing writing style which instantly propelled me into the story. The words flow smoothly creating a highly developed world that I felt that I could submerge myself in. It's the subtle details and nuances that build this novella and I was blown away by the attention to detail. This amazing descriptive quality not only extends to the atmosphere and world building, but to the characters as well.
Quickly developed and yet fully three dimensional, these characters really grew on me. The tidbits of information about their previous encounter is perfectly timed within the story to help build up the connection between them, creating a richer history that helps bring their simmering chemistry into focus. And while usually back stories given within short stories can throw off the pace, that wasn't an issue here. Instead, you find yourself revisiting those moment as if you are tagging along within the character's memory of a previous time in their history. And while I liked the inner machinations of the pair, the overall personalities are nicely described as well. Elyn, a vampire previously enslaved by her maker, comes across as tough, resilient and yet vulnerable with painful memories of her past. Blade on the other hand, is strong, determined and loyal as he tries to get vengeance for the murdered members of his team of bodyguards at the hands of her maker. And while he may be a tough fighter, there is still the flicker of vulnerability in him as well, that made me love him all the more. And the smoldering connection between the two grows quickly, it feels quite organic, as they join forces to exact their own revenge.
And while the romance between these two may have been enthralling there is still plenty of action to keep the pace moving quickly. In fact, the action scenes were wonderfully written and had me utterly ensnared. When the final showdown comes, much sooner then I had realized as I got overly engrossed in the story, the only word that comes to mind was thrilling. Perfectly planned and wonderfully executed, I could see every move as the pair engage in a fight to the death against their two powerful nemesis.
And while there may have been a few flaws given the compressed nature of the story, I didn't feel that they detracted from the story. In fact, I was more then a little impressed by the quality of such a short story with so much packed into it. While I would have loved to see more exploration within this world so I could spend more time in this unique and interesting universe Knight created, I loved the brief glimpse that I received and found myself overlooking the minor inconsistencies within the characters.
Overall, short though it may be, this was a great story that really sucked me in. Angela Knight is definitely an author I'll be watching for in the future as this little glimpse into her writing was amazing! Great characters, a unique and engaging world, with action and romance that made me loose myself in the story. My only wish was that this short story could have been longer as I definitely would have liked to see more of not only the world, but of these two characters.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars
Advisory: Crude language, sexual content, short scene involving torture/rape