Title: Blood Song
Author: Rhiannon Hart
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Romance
Publisher: Random House Australia
Publication Date: September 2011
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
I wanted to turn but I was held captive by the song on the wind. I’m coming, I told the voices. Please, wait for me.
When her sister becomes betrothed to a prince in a northern nation, Zeraphina’s only consolations are that her loyal animal companions are by her side – and that her burning hunger to travel north is finally being sated.
Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more.
Zeraphina must be willing to sacrifice everything if she’s to uncover the truth – but what if the truth is beyond her worst nightmares?
From the first few pages – and you see that Zeraphina has a craving for blood – it would have been easy to dismiss this for yet another vampire story. But you’d be wrong. This book is so much more than that.
I loved it. I am surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel.
Zeraphina’s homeland is freezing to death. Their winters are getting colder and their people are starving. The only solution the Queen (Zeraphina’s mother) can find is to marry the heir to the throne off to a wealthy prince. Zeraphina’s sister, Lilith, is fine with the decision as she’s fallen in love with her wealthy groom-to-be. Only tragedy strikes when the prince is killed in a hunting accident.
And that’s where this story really starts. Broken hearted and in mourning, Lilith doesn’t want to marry anyone if she can’t have her true love. The country is still starving and the Queen needs to do something quickly so she arranges another wealthy groom to wed her eldest daughter and help pull her kingdom out of its financial turmoil. Zeraphina, content to spend her days with her loyal pets (an eagle and a cat) and practice her archery, is seemingly uninterested in the matters of the kingdom. Except when she starts to feel the urge to go north. She sees a Phantom with blue eyes trying to force her to go north and when the incorporeal spirit steals a piece of jewellery from the young princess, she knows she has to investigate. So she convinces her sister to marry the wealthy prince (who coincidently resides in the north) and together with their mother in tow, the princesses go north.
After a long journey, the royal family finally make their way to the kingdom of Lilith’s intended. Everything seems to be going perfectly – the Northern prince seems besotted with Lilith – but the King’s advisor is instantly suspicious of Zeraphina. Her colouring is different from her sister and her mother and Zeraphina is worried that her secret of desiring blood is going to be discovered…
I loved this book. I know I already said that but I really enjoyed it. The characters are interesting – Zeraphina’s sister and the Northern Prince + family are all a little flat and two-dimensional but in a way I didn’t mind that. It meant they were less distracting from the main story and the only one I was really interested – Zeraphina and the Lharmellians. I thought the creatures were fascinating and I loved the world that Ms. Hart created. You can have blood-sucking creatures that aren’t vampires!
Rodden (the king’s advisor) was my favourite character. I enjoyed how he was equal parts villain, hero and love interest. He perplexed Zeraphina and that amused me greatly. She deserved to be confused! Rodden is such an interesting character – he’s multi-faceted and there was so much about him and his past that I’m eager to find out. I hope the second book in the series delves into his background a little. And as much as I want to know more about him, I liked being as clueless towards him as Zeraphina was. It added a little extra mystery and suspense to the novel.
The world that this book exists in is an interesting one. You start off in a fairly standard fantasy world – crumbling castles and princesses – and then we’re brought into a very different and exciting magical land. And unlike most magical lands that I’m acquainted with this one is toxic. I loved it. I thought it was new and original and intriguing.
There is so much I could (and want to) say but I’m trying to hold myself back from any huge plot revealing spoilers. I really enjoyed this novel. It started off a little slow for me and I wasn’t really into the story until we met Rodden – after that I was hooked. It’s an original story that has a lot which sets it apart from other fantasy vampire novels.
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