Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Review: Bloodborn by Nathan Long

NOTE: Bloodborn was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by the Black Library.

Everyone knows the old and grossly over-quoted adage, “Never judge a book by its cover.” Everyone also knows that that is nearly impossible to do. A book with a garish cover just isn’t as appealing as one with a wonderful cover, and when making a choice on a new author or book, most people won’t go with the garish cover. It’s neither good nor bad, just how it is. Another aspect of book covers is that they help identify genre and audience. That can be critical. If I see a book that has a man, in a bold stance, with shirt torn so that his unbelievably muscular chest can be shown to greatest effect, and who has a woman wearing a rather scantily-clad ensemble clinging to him, it can be called War in Space and I’m still going to be thinking it is a romance novel. So when I received Nathan Long’s newest novel, Bloodborn, I saw the Victorian-esque cover of a lone female vampire in the candlelight, and thought, “Not for me.” In an attempt to be a slightly better reviewer than that, I read the back, and realized that it seemed to be exactly the kind of book my fiancĂ©e likes to read, and in the interest of getting a review out there, I gave it to her to read and review. I hope you enjoy the first guest review here at Luke Reviews.

I, like many of my generation, have been caught up in the new vampire sensation created by Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight. So when Luke suggested I read Nathon Long’s new Warhammer novel, Bloodborn, I could hardly refuse! What I found though was not a novel of fanciful vampire romance – it was much more than that.

Bloodborn follows a Warhammer character from previous books, Ulrika, who at the start of the novel has been unwillingly turned into a vampire by her captor. As she struggles between her new vicious nature and her humanity, her mistress, the Countess Gabriella - responsible for not only her life but modeling her into a vampire worthy of her coven - is called upon by her queen to bring an end to a series of murders against her fellow vampires in Nuln. Together they travel to the city, where Ulrika assists in the mystery, makes unlikely friends, and begins to understand who she is in a world of vampires, witch hunters, ghouls, and other strange supernatural beings.

It has been a long time since I was so completely caught up in a book that it took me a matter of hours to finish, that had me laughing and crying along with Ulrika at every turn. The only negative that I could possibly find with the book was all the Warhammer terminology and culture that eludes and distracts the new reader, but it quickly falls to the background. Long brings all the original elements of the vampire myths and blends them flawlessly into the Warhammer world to create one of the most fun, thrilling, even heart-wrenching tales I’ve read this year.


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