[sigh] I had such high hopes for this book. With world building comparable to Ilona Andrew’s On the Edge series, I was immediately taken in with the idea of a vampire city overlaying the ‘real world’ of Washington, D.C. The vampires that live in this parallel world, Washington, V.C. (Vamp City- I kid you not), are complete monsters, where in addition to thriving on human blood, they also enjoying feeding off the fear and pain of humans. Humans are beaten, whipped, tortured, and enslaved, all to satisfy the desires and bloodlust of their master vampires. There are no sparkly, loving vampires here! I loved the rough, gritty feel to the world and all its occupants, but the book still ended up falling flat for me. The fault lies in the characters.
The main character, Quinn, has some magic in her blood, enabling her to see into V.C. When a friend goes missing, she accidently stumbles into the vampires’ world and meets Arturo. This is when everything hits the fan. Quinn ran me through an emotional gamut. She would be terrified of Arturo one minute, then desire him, and then hate him, all within a couple of paragraphs. Her emotions and feelings toward Arturo would shift so quickly that it was impossible for me to keep up with them. She would be scared witless but still crave him. I thought emotions like fear, hate, and desire in a relationship were mutually exclusive (unless someone is an extreme masochist, which Quinn is not). Even at the end of the book, her feelings were still ambiguous, where I was unsure if she trusted him and how much she liked him.
Another thing about Quinn is she is weak
, both physically and emotionally. Arturo told her not to trust him, that his allegiance was to his vampire master, Cristoff, first and foremost. However, she would believe him when he was lying to her, expect something from him, and then cry when he betrayed her. This happened over and over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. She also couldn’t fight to save her life. I kept expecting her to pull out some big guns and show the vampires who was really boss, but she spent most of the time cowering in fear. It is hard for me to get behind a character like that. It also gives me a newfound respect for other characters like Kate Daniels or Mercy Thompson, who always stay strong and fierce, regardless of what is being thrown at them.
Arturo is a whole other type of monster (literally). He lies and betrays Quinn so much throughout this book that I had to keep asking myself, Is this guy really Quinn’s love interest?
I still question whether he actually cares for her. There were a few snippets in the book where the reader knew what he was thinking and begins understand why he did what he did, and just when I think he is about to redeem himself in some grand gesture, he goes and demolishes any progress he made. I am all for the dangerous bad boys or the dark, broody types, but when a guy shows how much he ‘cares’ for you by turning you over to his master who he knows is going to torture you, I quickly fall off that guy’s bandwagon. No, thank you, sir. Even at the end, after he helped Quinn escape, he says that he will kidnap her again at a more convenient time and once again give her to his master (who has threatened to cut off appendages next time he finds her). Hmmm, I think this guy does not understand one crucial thing….
Dear Arturo, that is not the way you care for a lady. Allow me to help you out here. A real woman would prefer chocolates or flowers, maybe even candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach for the more romantically inclined, not torture and pain and death. Most women do not find physical and mental torment romantic. Just some advice you should take note of. From a concerned bystander, Bri.
Overall, the world was intriguing and I loved Palmer’s take on vampires, but the characters were lacking. I found Arturo and Quinn’s relationship to be extraordinarily unhealthy and disturbing, making it hard to really appreciate what this book had to offer story-wise and romantically. I may try out the next book in the series, but I am going to be hoping it turns out better than A Blood Seduction.