Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a wonderful breath of fresh air in the BDB world! Sure, there are some other stories from earlier in the series that had something new, but this book gave me a much needed break from the monotony. It even convinced me to continue on with the original series.
Paradise is the daughter of the much loved king’s advisor. She has been eking out a little bit of independence while being the receptionist at the receiving house for the king. It’s there that she first meets Craeg, the mysterious stranger who wants to apply for the new training program. As she had already decided to join the program, she’s left hoping that Craeg will show up, too, so she can get to know him. I guess a big part of me liking this book was Paradise. She’s tough, strong, and determined to break through the restrictive binds of the world that she’s been raised in. Craeg was more predictable in his stance that he wasn’t good enough for the pure and perfect Paradise. Don’t worry – that doesn’t last very long.
The other story (because god forbid there just is a single storyline in one of these books) is between Butch and Marissa. We all know that Marissa’s life revolves around Safe Place, so it only makes sense that we get a deeper dive into the day-to-day operations. This story, however, begins with a horrible arrival of a beaten woman. The poor girl can’t even be identified because she is in such bad shape. The only thing that she leaves behind when she finally passes is a mystery key and a very determined ally in the form of Marissa. Somehow, the stress of the everyday, coupled with this horror is enough to nearly strangle Butch and Marissa’s relationship. They’re both hiding things and it finally comes to a tipping point in this book. I guess we’re supposed to compare the new relationship of Paradise and Craeg with Butch and Marissa’s story? I never really get why there’s always multiple stories going on in one BDB book…
The two love stories (or romances, or whatever) interlock in the mystery of the abused woman. It was neat to watch the gears turn and the mystery slowly get solved. I was especially happy when it turns out that there isn’t a damsel in distress moment so much as a damsel kicking butt moment. It was refreshing and had me nearly cheering aloud. If this is how this spinoff series starts, I can’t wait to see where it will go. But, please, can we just have one story next time?
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