Saturday, 4 January 2014

Blood From a Silver Cross: Not Bloody Bad!

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Publishing House: eKensington
235 pages
Publication: 6th February 2014
Review written by Lady Entropy

Book 4 in the Kat Redding Series
"Some people still call Kat Redding by her hunter name: Lady Death. But she’s not eager to see more violence brought to her doorstep. The neverending tide of hungry supes and vicious humans doesn’t change the math—sooner or later Kat’s one-vamp battle against the nightmares that infest Columbus is going to leave her dead. And she has innocent people—well, a werewolf and a demon-summoner—depending on her now.
But when a rogue werewolf who’s opted out of the bloodbath is found crucified and mutilated with toxic silver, Kat knows she’ll be tangling again with the dangerous Pureblood murderers of the cult of the Left Hand. She already has an undead countess blackmailing her into taking out the city’s garbage and a demon playing with her head. Add to that her serious suspicions about changes at the house of her uneasy ally Jonathan Alucard, werewolf denmaster, and Kat might have finally gotten in danger so deep, not even Lady Death can survive…"

Received as a free ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Blood from a Silver Cross" grew on me, I will admit it, even if it has a character (werewolf!) called Alucard. Seriously. During the first third of the book, I was annoyed, irritated, and I quite thoroughly disliked the character and her Anita-Blake-like constant "I could kill this guy" approach to things. I like protagonists who kill, but only as last resort and with great personal cost. I despise Anita Blake for her constant approach to murder as something simple, easy and not something they worry about. Kat, however, much to my annoyance, thought of shooting and killing too easily and that made me not like her for a long time (also, her nickname is Lady Death. I can't take a character seriously with a nickname like Lady Death. Too much time reading old Chaos Comics).

Ultimately, this was what this book reminded me of: Anita Blake. Sure, a less annoying, less crazy-cakes, less "self projection" Anita Blake, but Anita Blake all the same. And you know what? It's okay. Anita Blake was once a character I quite liked.


Then, there was the little problem of me not having realized this was a sequel book (the 4th, as I end up finding out), and for the longest time, I was puzzled by the setting and the constant reference to people and situations I had never seen and met. I decided to give the book a mild pass on that one, since yeah, I should have checked the other books first, and done my research to figure out this book wasn't the first one.


The book is solid, but the conflict is kinda meh, and I swear to God, I'm tired of "crazy religious fanatics" as villains. Character development is not bad either, but if you don't know Kat from before, you won't be able to tell how much she evolved and grew up. The character also does some growing up in the book, which is quite good, and made me like her more, when the book went past the halfpoint. The characters have complex motivations, and the main character doesn't win "all the time". The setting is meh, but at this point of life, I doubt few Urban Fantasy settings can make me do little jigs of joy (I blame my love of the World of Darkness for it).


It's not a bad book, and you should enjoy it if you enjoyed the previous ones, but as a stand-alone, be ready to be sometimes puzzled, sometimes confused, and sometimes wondering why are people talking of stuff and characters that you never heard of before, instead of focusing on the current events.


There was a minor plot twist, but I called it. It was still well done, and other female characters are still competent, interesting, and strong (ie, threats to the main character) without being killed or turned into the villains, so, bravo.


The writer doesn't write\does setting as well as LKH, but, frankly, I don't think she needs to. I'll take lacklustre writing over the sex-insanity that is Anita Blake these days.


Recommended for people who like Anita Blake, hardass female characters who solve a lot of problems physically and other female physical empowerment fantasies. You won't get a great plot or an amazing setting, but the character development should keep you entertained for a while.

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