December 23, 2010

Review: Bonded By Blood by Laurie London

Bonded By Blood
Author: Laurie London
Publisher: HQN Books
Series: Sweet Blood, Book 1
ISBN: 9780373775446
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

*Novel generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

For more information please visit Laurie London's website.

Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors. Now Guardian team leader Dominic Serrano will be forced to choose between the vengeance he craves and the woman he can’t live without…

Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations— vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.

For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her…


Bonded by Blood is the debut novel in Laurie London's Sweetblood series. A new twist on the old vampire lore, this novel is wonderfully written with great attention to detail and masterfully developed.

In fact, it was the world development that struck me most about this novel. The lore is perfectly explained and the settings are meticulously described making them seem to spring to life from the pages. I loved the little details that painted the scenes so vividly and that fact that this really mirrored the artistic temperament of the main character, Mackenzie. Likewise the atmospheres are lushly built around the various settings within the novel. For instance, Mackenzie's art studio is very comfortable and homey. Her calming influence a wonderful setting for a classroom and her brash nature contained to the artistic implements within, much like in her own life. Dom's loft is also warm, but it has a very strong male feeling about it. The organization and luxuriant furnishings perfectly reflecting the character. But, not all the atmospheres are so inviting. The dilapidated prison that serves as the base for Pavlos, otherwise known as the Overlord, is suitably creepy conveying the feeling of a scene from a horror movie. It is flawlessly captured to reflect the monstrous intentions of the vile creature and their despicable plots.

The characters are equally well developed. The highly detailed thought processes of the characters are both engaging and enlightening. I loved being able to see so easily into the psyches of the characters, to be able to ascertain their inner struggles and feelings in a way that I know my own mind. Mackenzie is a wonderfully complex protagonist, her fearless natures balanced by her acceptance of that idea she has no foreseeable future. Her artistic sensibilities add a wonderful emotional quality to her, while maintaining a somewhat stoic outer facade. The progression of her character is great to watch, how her cautious emotional nature gets stripped away layer by layer until her true desires finally surface. Dom is likewise composed. His rigid emotionless quality crumbling in Mackenzie's presence. Yet, while she is unaware of the changes within her, Dom is painfully aware of the growing bond between them no matter how much he tries to rationalize his responses to her and her blood. While the secondary characters are just that, secondary, we come to enjoy them even in the brief moments when they appear. They add to the relationship between Dom and Mackenzie, helping to guide the two to the only obvious conclusion: that they are meant to be together.

The romantic appeal of this novel was wonderful too. The suspense and drama of their relationship always kicked up something to put their happiness off. The blood bond, while self explanatory, is still a mystery throughout much of the novel in as much as we never truly know exactly what effects it will have on the two. For instance, Dom's seemingly unusual ability to share energies with a human and the fact that her blood seems to give him exaggerated strength, where as it has no such effect in others. The tender protectiveness between the two is engrossing as well. While Dom tries fervently to protect her even from himself, her fearless belief that he couldn't hurt her is endearing. While Dom is usually much more intuitive about their relationship and their feelings, it is Mackenzie who feels the soul deep attachment between them. This adds a nice balance to the relationship.

The writing style is easy for the reader to connect to, instantly drawing you into the characters lives. The point of view shifts throughout are a wonderfully deep look into the varying characters. I enjoyed this aspect immensely due to the scope of the insight which most authors tend to gloss over. The pace was steady though not overly quick, the development of the world hindering it a bit. But, the payoff of the masterfully detailed world was worth it. Despite the often slow pace of the novel, the action scenes are still marvelously written and add propulsion to the storyline. However, while the pace may not be as quick as I have become use to, I have to say that I was never bored or put off. Instead, the writing had a hypnotic quality that I loved and in truth when the novel ended I was a little saddened.

Overall, this was an interesting and original vampire romance that has me eagerly anticipating the next installment. With some wonderful characters and vividly described setting, this is one world any fan of the paranormal romance genre should not miss!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

Advisory: Some sexual content

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