Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review: Blood Rights by Kristen Painter

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle's body bears the telltale marks of a comarré -- a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world...and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter is a fresh take on a genre that has been done...and done...and done. Vampires and their culture has been around for so long that so many readers (including me) is getting pretty sick of them. However, Painter's new series has me sticking with vampires a while longer.

In Blood Rights, vampires believe that they are the superior race. Their society structure is based on status determined by wealth and strength but the pinnacle of said status is truly gained by the quality of their comarré and the price in which they paid. These quality blood servants who are born in an academy of sorts and trained to be the best of the best go to live in their new master's households as a cherished member of the family. Comarré are raised without family ties, without even knowing who their parents were, so that their identity truly is supposed to be influenced by whoever purchases them. The comarré need to be fed upon - their bodies are unable to self-monitor and control the amount of blood in their veins like regular humans - and so their relationship with their masters, while usually impersonal, is a necessary one. Comarré are trained all their lives to fight vampires but they are not allowed to let anyone know so in essence, the comarre are like foxes in the vampires' henhouses. (And here the vampires think they're the biggest bad in all the land. I love the irony.) Chrysabelle is incomparable; she is considered to be the highest achievement in comarré lineage. Accomplished in everything, she is purchased by the master of the most prestigious House and has lived a satisfactory life until recently, when she decides to leave. This is where Chrysabelle's troubles begin when her master is found murdered in their home. She flees and becomes a fugitive.

Being a cursed vampire who is tormented by the guilt and voices of everyone he has killed in his long vampire life, Malkolm now spends his time searching for a way to break his curse. He refuses to drink blood straight from the source and when he sees Chrysabelle, a comarré in disguise walking around in a vampire night club, he realizes that he's in deep trouble: she's beautiful, her blood sings to him, and she's a damsel in distress. So he tries to help her and after a rather rocky introduction, they end up working together in an unsure alliance to find out who killed her master.

I really liked Blood Rights. It felt more like Malkolm's story to me than Chrysabelle's, much to my delight; in comparison, Malkolm's life has been much more interesting. So much of the plot is wrapped up in his history whereas Chrysabelle's life is really just beginning. Neither Mal nor Chrysabelle are in a position to be feeling romantic and I appreciated that the chemistry between these two is kept in check. The villain is a bit of the evil monologing-"I've got you in my clutches" type but it meshes rather well with the black humor and dark tone. All in all, I am most certainly going to be reading book two, Flesh and Blood, out on October 25th. 

Thanks to Hachette and Netgalley for letting me read this book.

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Jen D. @ Not Now...I'm Reading! said...

Great review roomie. I've been wanting to give this book a try. I'll definitely be more inclined to now that I know you enjoyed it. =)

Jen said...

Yay! I really think you'll like Mal - he was my favorite part :)