Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Blood Warrior" by H.D. Gordon

"Blood Warrior" is the first installment of the Alexa Montgomery series by author H.D. Gordon. It is a debut, indie novel, and as such it isn't perfectly written. However, I heard many positive reviews in one of my Goodreads groups, and so when it was given for an R2R, I thought I'd check it out.

Here are my thoughts:

This is a paranormal/urban fantasy novel, directed at the young adult audience. It talks about werewolves, vampires and warriors - who are a mixed gene pool from all non-human races.

Alexa Montgomery is a seventeen year old girl, who lives in an ordinary American city, goes to an ordinary High School and lives with a... not so ordinary mother and sister. For years Alexa hates her mother, because the woman is abusive. Or so does Alexa think. But in fact, the extensive training that always leaves her with black eyes and painful rib cage are Alexa's preparation for her life ahead.
Which life isn't going to be easy, or full with cuddly little bunnies, and she understands this way too early. When the blood thirsty Lamia (a kind of vampire) attack Alexa's house, she kills two of them in a mad state of rage that burns inside her. But more keep coming, and the odds are not in favor of Alexa, her sister Nelly and their mother. Seeing that it's impossible for all three of them to get out of this alive, Alexa's mother makes the girls leave her behind.
After a wild game of hide and seek with the Lamia, and a visit to an old friend of her mother's, Alexa, Nelly and Jackson (a werewolf boy, who's the only friend of Alexa) end up in the city Two Rivers. It is like a heaven - it's bright, and posh, and gorgeous. It is a city of the non-human races. But it is also a city of many secrets, which are up to Alexa to figure out.

To be honest, I liked the plot. It wasn't the usual vampire/werewolf kind of story - there was a certain dose of originality, and it made me read on. There was also mysterious magic, secrets and romance that had me hooked.
But I can't say that I loved it. Or that I was crazy about it. Mostly because it felt really dry at parts. Gordon was talking of feelings, the action, Alexa's thoughts, but I don't want to be told, I want to be shown. I want to be drawn into the story along with the characters, to experience what they experience. And I don't.
The descriptions of Alexa's inner "monster" are inadequate and incomplete, and I was left to wonder what that character was experiencing exactly. Yeah, I'm told that she's in rage and can't control her anger, but ... it simply wasn't enough for me. I want to feel her insides burning, I want to hear her muscles straining with the desire to control herself and her inability to do so.
Also, I know that this isn't a particularly romance oriented novel, but there are some moments when romantic feelings are described, and they sound like something so casual, I couldn't help but wonder if I was actually reading a hot scene or a cooking manual. There was some kissing between Alexa and Jackson (after they hooked up), but it was on the cheek, on the forehead.. when it was on the lips it honestly felt like nothing. I've never read a novel where all the romance consists of: "I kissed him on the lips. It was sweet." or "He pulled me in for a hug and kissed my forehead." It sounds so absolutely devoid of emotion. At least I didn't feel anything. Because seriously, if you're leaving your boyfriend to go on a mission, would you just kiss him like he was your brother? I know I wouldn't. I'd hold onto him, and suck the love out of him to keep me going.
No such luck here.
And the love triangle isn't what it should be either. Kayden was the person who was destined to be with Alexa, because together they balance each other, and make each other's rage subside. But they're so blind to see beyond their noses, that neither notices that they have fallen in love. Alexa is too stubborn to let Kayden close to herself, and this kind of ruins it all. There were moments when I waited in anticipation for a hot scene between the two. It felt natural somehow, but the most I got was hugging. Hugging!!!!!
I wanted to love the characters. I really really tried to, but it just didn't come to me.
Last, but not least, there were the grammar problems. Lots of mistakes, repetitions and pointless observations. In the beginning there was a certain black bird that Alexa had to kill to save it from suffering. This bird was mentioned like twenty times in the first five chapters, and that made me think it was something important that I had to keep in mind. Guess what - it wasn't. The bird subject was dropped.
Then there was too much overthinking, too much overreaction, that seems so very unnatural. Something else that bothered me were repetitions of the sort: "My sister saw the hesitation in my eyes, and knew instantly that I was keeping something from her. "I see in your eyes that you're keeping something from me." She said (...)" Why describe it in the narration, when the character's going to say it anyway? And this happened a lot. It really irritated me.

I understand where the problem is however. It's in the fact that there was no revision or editing of the manuscript. It sounded unprofessional and unpolished, like a rough draft.

Still though, I give it three stars, because if it's edited well, it could be a really great read. I think that it even has the potential to reach four stars. Sadly though, not at the moment.

Only one quote came to my attention:

"Just before we were led through the gates, he pulled me to a stop and looked me up and down. I felt heat flood my cheeks.
"If you take a picture, it'll last longer," I whispered."

That's it guys, let me know what you thought of this book if you got to read it ;)

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