Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blood Secrets by Vivi Anna

Category: Romance – Paranormal
Series: Yes – Book 1 of The Valorian Chronicles

Necropolis … where desire and death flood the streets.

Caine Valorian and his Otherworld Crime Unit crack all the unusual cases before any humans take notice. When a young woman is found ritualistically murdered, it’s his team of professionals with paranormal gifts who must stop the nameless evil stalking the streets. But the toughest case of Caine’s 200-year career gets even harder when a new member, Eve Grant, is assigned to their unit. Not only is she green and eager to impress, she’s human.

As they sink deeper into the workings of the case, Caine’s attraction to the alluring Eve is causing his blood to boil. And with war brewing between species, the all-consuming passion between a human and a vampire won’t be the only thing to spill on the city’s mean streets …

Think Crime Scene Investigation, TV series, with a paranormal twist and you’ll get the premise of this series.

Kat, Mel and I *finally* read this book after letting it languish in the TBR pile for some months. Read our discussion below. It may contain some mild spoilers.

Jace: This is the first time I’ve read of a paranormal Crime Scene Investigation unit that’s totally staffed by vampires, lycans, witches, etc. It’s an interesting premise. Reading how the crime scene investigators went about their duties brought to mind the TV series, CSI, so it was easy to “see” what the characters were doing. On the downside though, I kept seeing Gil Grissom and his team, especially when they were working in the lab. LOL

Mel: Me too, J. LOL I also kept picturing Caine as Grissom even though I knew Caine would be way hotter than Grissom. LOL I really liked the book and the premise of the otherworld crime investigators. It was different and fresh.

Kat: The only CSI series I ever saw was Navy CSI (and that only once or twice) but you're right, J, that it felt like reading a TV series.

As you both know, I was really sick of reading paranormals in the last months, so I wasn't all that eager to jump into this series. SURPRISE! I ended up really enjoying this book. I like Anna's writing style. The pace of the book was good. There also weren't too many characters to follow … that's very important in my current state of confusion! LOL

Jace: Yes, her writing was brisk and very readable and it just hooked me in. The setting up of the world, Necropolis, was well done. I could almost believe that a whole other world existed behind those barbed wires.

Mel: I thought that was well done too, but it did bother me a little to think of a city designed to contain a group of Others. I found that to be a tad disturbing.

Jace: Yes, me too. I felt sorry for the Otherworlders, to be honest. It was as if they were animals to be contained and controlled. And the animosity and prejudice humans had for them was horrible.

Kat: The world-building was very interesting although Necropolis felt a bit like a reservation for Indians or a very large comfortable prison, but I think there's no use thinking too much about that.

Jace: At first, I wondered why the Otherworlders (with all their supernatural abilities) allowed themselves be confined by humans in Necropolis. Why didn’t they fight back, since humans were certainly no match for them? And why did they even have to play nice? Then I read that humans outnumbered them by a thousand to one. I still wondered if this was a plausible enough reason?

Mel: I wondered at that a bit as well but I got the impression that most of the Otherworlders had been hurt by humans in their past and that was why they agreed to having their own city. I also thought it was odd that humans weren't allowed in for the most part.

Jace: Woohoo … Caine Valorian!!! One heck of a big, sexy vampire! His intelligence, silent strength and restraint came across vividly. When he let loose his control, whew … he was hot! And I don’t mean just the sex scenes. I mean when he got mad and clobbered the baddies real good. He was the character that kept me reading.

Mel: I fell for Caine ... hard. He was steadfast and such a good leader for the team. Not to mention he was totally hot to boot!

Jace: Eve … the best word I have to describe her right now is “eh”. She did not appeal to me at all. First of all, I thought she was stupid to volunteer at the OCU (Otherworld Crime Unit) without fully preparing herself to respect how things were done or how that world was different from her own.

Mel: Eve didn't bother me. I was all about Caine. *grin*

Jace: Bloody idiot – it took her so long to realize that those Otherworlders could kill her within seconds – she had to go gung-ho ALL THE TIME, had to prove she was capable, that she didn’t need protection, etc. Oh, spare me! Caine had to save her time and again, and she was a liability more than anything else when she was out on field work.

Mel: She did have a few TSTL moments when she wandered off on her own, even though any citizen of Necropolis could have eaten her at any time. She was no match for any of them.

Kat: Eve was very afraid of her own courage. I think she was a person who acts first and thinks later. When she realized she had jumped in at the deep end, she thought about back-paddling very fast. LOL

Jace: I can go on and on about “spunky” Eve, but I’ll spare you. I couldn’t see why Caine fell for her. And I didn’t feel that she loved Caine either, so yeah, their love story did nothing for me.

Kat: I think Caine fell for her because she was strong, but had this fragile insecurity about herself. A really strong kick-ass heroine would have been too much for Caine, so I think she was okay and served her purpose.

Jace: To sum the whole thing up - I read the book for Caine, his team members (Lyra and that crazy Kellen were intriguing), the setting (Necropolis) and the action sequences (the crime and how it was solved). My rating is 3.5 out of 5. A fast-paced, intriguing and highly readable page-turner hampered by a TSTL heroine. Sensuality: Warm.

Mel: I, too, am intrigued by Kellen. I wonder if he'll get a story. I give it a 4/Warm.

Kat: Kellen intrigued me too. I'm also looking forward to his book. I also liked Lyra. The ending wasn't what I wished for, but it fit the book and the series. I rate it 4/Warm.

So, finally a Harlequin Nocturne that I liked. I think I'll follow the series beyond Book 3. (I have Book 2 and 3 in the TBR).

Mel: I will be following her Nocturnes too. She has a short story in a holiday Nocturne anthology coming in December. I already ordered that. I'm also curious about her erotic romances.


Anonymous said...

A really interesting discussion. Even I haven't read any paranormal book with CSI. This one sounds good, I might give it a try.

The Otherworlders is a funny word.

Melanie said...

Great review J! You're so good at putting all of our jumbled thoughts into something that makes sense LOL.

Jace said...

Violet: If you want to try a paranormal CSI story, this is a good one to start. This was my first Vivi Anna book, and I liked her writing. :-) I've read Book 2 too ... comments coming up soon.

Mel: Thanks, M. :-D

kat said...

Thank you, J!

Brandy said...

I haven't read a Vivi Anna book yet, but this one makes me curious. Thanks for the discussion.

Jace said...

Kat: I should be thanking YOU and M for submitting to my "mind probe"! LOL

Brandy: Now that I've read 2 Vivi Anna books, I can say (with a bit of authority *wink*) that her writing is completely easy to read and her stories fast-paced and interesting. :-)