Monday, January 13, 2014

Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Born in Blood by Alexandra IvyBorn in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

Genres: Paranormal Romance
Series: Sentinels #1
Published by Kensington on December 31, 2013
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley

Purchase: Amazon|Book Depository

In a stunning new series, Alexandra Ivy lures readers into the dark, seductive world of the Sentinels—humans outcast by their hidden abilities, treading the line between life and death, good and evil, pleasure and pain. . .

In The Heart Of Darkness

Sergeant Duncan O'Conner has seen it all before. Beautiful erotic dancer, murdered at home, no suspect, no motive. But there's one clue: she's missing her heart. It's enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro--one of the dead-channelling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It's a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desparate measures.

Lies The Kiss Of Death

Unlike the other "high-bloods" in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer's final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie's skills to the test, O'Conner's career at risk, and both their hearts on the line. . .literally.

I’m a fairly prolific reader but BORN IN BLOOD is my first Alexandra Ivy novel. Her Guardians of Eternity series never appealed to me but I had to try BORN IN BLOOD after reading the cover copy. I love a good murder mystery, especially when it’s coupled with fraught tensions between groups, in this case regular humans (“norms”) and high-bloods, people with magical mutations who live apart from the norms in Valhalla, a domed and secretive city near Kansas City.

Ivy has created a very interesting world for her newest series. I love the origin of where all of the high-bloods’ abilities come from. It’s wonderfully original. The idea that soul gazers, witches, necromancers, physics, healers and more are all the result of mutation gives the Sentinels series a more scientific feel — but the book actually isn’t science-y at all, which was a bit of a disappointment but okay in the end. Once she mentioned mutants, I figured things might develop more of an X-Men vibe, which was not the case. I do still like her approach to magical abilities, though. And Valhalla is a really interesting society, one I look forward to seeing more of in future novels.

Callie and Duncan are made for each other. Their chemistry is off the charts and they both have distinct, strong personalities. You get a really clear sense of who they are from the get go, which I always appreciate. I love it when a character comes alive and Ivy does a wonderful job of giving each of her primary and secondary characters their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. And while Duncan comes off a bit strong at first, he’s quite endearing by the end of BORN IN BLOOD. I had a soft spot for Callie from her introduction and I liked her more and more as the novel progressed. I was particularly fond of some of the supporting characters, like Fane, Callie’s Sentinel bodyguard, and Serra, Callie’s best friend, and I’m very curious about the Mave and the Tagos and what’s going on between them. (C’mon, future novel!)

Small quibble: the female cover model looks nothing like Callie is described in the book. Callie is supposed to have spiky dark red hair and brilliant sapphire eyes. She also owns shirts that cover her top half, not leather tube tops, but I can get past the questionable outfit. The model is lovely and gives good smoulder but she really doesn’t match the Callie from the book, or the mental picture that I created. The guy is a bit better.

On the whole, BORN IN BLOOD is a solid paranormal romance. The chemistry between Callie and Duncan is intense and the plot is nicely developed, if somewhat lacking in surprises. I’m not sure if this is a typical Alexandra Ivy book but I’m definitely intrigued enough to pick up the next Sentinels novel, and to see if my local library has any of Ivy’s back catalogue on the shelves.

Read an excerpt

Jenn
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Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn is now in northeast England after a 10 year stop in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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