walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Blood Lust_, Zoe Winters (kindle)

A while ago, I got all cranky about the agency model and decided to go see what the e-only publishing market was producing. I started by looking over winners of Eppies and buying a few. The results were mixed, altho I ultimately found a couple authors I've been enjoying reading since.

I've also been occasionally looking in on J.A. Konrath's blog, and noticing a community of e-only/independent authors growing who are assembling a theory of How to Make It as an author in a world in which print-publishing is (sort of) optional. I haven't found anything in that group that was overwhelmingly appealing, altho I kept looking because I very much respect what they are doing and how they are doing it. Somewhere along the line, however, I decided to give Zoe Winters a try.

She had published three shorter-than-novel length works, and then assembled them in a compilation that is the first of a series of "full-length" novels, whatever that might mean today. I didn't pay close enough attention to any of this, so I was a little startled by the pacing of the first part of _Blood Lust_, originally published as "Kept". Relying heavily on genre conventions (werefolk, vampires, some magic users) and deploying a wicked sense of humor, Winters makes the fastest play for reader attention I've ever encountered. After meeting Anthony, a vampire, Greta goes home very suspensefully but nothing actually happens. From there, she changes to her feline form, then visits the woman who raised her, where she learns, (a) not her mother (b) her mother was killed because (c) Greta has therian special powers and (d) her clan is about to sacrifice her to harvest those powers and only (e) scary magic user Dayne can keep her safe.

That's a whole lot to happen in a few paragraphs. Most of the rest of the novella is claustrophobic (appropriately -- that's not a complaint), with a remarkably consistent motif of women's cycles (menstruation book, forgetting to take a pill that damps down going into heat, etc.). There's some sex. There's some violence. Given how negative my response was to the end of that last Jim Butcher novel, I was surprised to be That OK with the ending of the novella, but it is what it is and there were no minor children present.

Second entry involves the vampire from the first entry and the best friend of the first heroine. Third entry involves the "vampire groupie" who brings Charlee up to speed in entry 2 and the alpha of the local werewolves.

The series as a whole has some interesting and somewhat unusual characteristics. First, Winters really has it in for vegans/vegetarians and she takes swipes at them in a variety of different ways. Second, while the magic system remains completely undeveloped, there is decent world building go on without resorting to "infodumping" -- this is all so rare in this genre that it stands out. Third, _people watch TV_ or at least videos, in these stories. I can't tell you how charming I find that.

I will almost certainly read the next one in the series. I suspect, altho I am not sure, that the second novel will be about Cain the demon (and how what demons do has been horribly misunderstood and/or misrepresented, odds on).

If this is the kind of thing you like, it's pretty good.

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