by Cherie Priest
Ballantine Books, $15.00, 337pp
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Priest does a good job of making this sequel to Bloodshot stand firmly on its own two high-heeled boots, as it were, deftly summing up what went before; so while it is more enjoyable if you have read its predecessor, it is not essential.
Raylene Pendle is a cat burglar who looks like a petite French gamine, with a flair for acquiring the unacquirable. As a vampire, she’s been around long enough to take advantage of human systems of finance, but the increases in surveillance and documentation not to mention in human height are beginning to make her undead existence a leetle more challenging. Raye is also that anomaly: a vampire loner, unaffiliated with any House, and this can be both an advantage and a liability. Sure, there’s the freedom, but it also means that any other vampire who comes gunning for her has no fear of repercussions.
Raye is not as alone as she used to be; she accumulates strays and feels a certain responsibility for them: two orphans, a blind vamp whose own House ties are putting him in a difficult bind, and a vamp of another color: a drag queen who used to wear Phoque camouflage. And now, as she accepts a commission to, ahem, reclaim a set of valuable baculas (look it up!!! It’s toooo good!) of mythical creatures, she finds conflicting obligations actually converge. Along the way, she encounters a remarkably sympathetic villainess, whose objective and motive are quite the most intriguing aspect of this well-wrought adventure.
Priest obviously has a hell of a good time writing her books, and she has a flair for sharing her enjoyment. ~~ Chris R. Paige
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