Review: Blood Oranges

Reviewed by Jen

This book begins with a fair warning to its readers:

If your ears, eyes, and sensibilities are easily offended, this book is not for you.  If you want a romance novel, this book is not for you.  And if it strikes you odd that vampires, werewolves, demons, ghouls, and the people who spend time in their company would be a foulmouthed, unpleasant, unhappy lot, this book is not for you… Also please note: Siobban Quinn is not a very good writer. Fair notice.

I’d say that all of this is a pretty fair assessment. The story is told as sort of a recounting of Quinn’s life in her first person POV… sort of a memoir.  The delivery is very conversational. It’s also rambling at times and hard to follow in others.  Quinn is nothing like your average UF heroine.  She’s a 19 year-old junkie, lesbian, homeless girl who sort-of fell into the life of killing supernaturals.  And as the book begins, she becomes one herself.

The very short version of the plot is that a scary vamp turns Quinn into a vamp-were hybrid, shortly after she is bitten by a shifter.  Said vamp is taking revenge on Quinn for killing her lover.  But Quinn comes to realize that she is actually part of a larger machination, and she has to figure out who dragged her into this mess, what part she is really playing, and how to get out of it all.

As far as the plot goes, it was ok. Nothing earth shattering.  I think what you’ll either love or hate about the book is Quinn’s voice.  I kind of went back and forth on it as I was reading.  Like I said, she rambles in her storytelling.  She gets distracted and takes left-turns into bits of backstory or some other musings.  She misleads you and comes back with other versions of events. She drops big hints that things are not what they seem, them waits until much later to explain.  She talk to you, the reader. She repeats herself, fixates on some things, and maintains a “who cares what you think” attitude throughout.

Just read back over the first three chapters of this thing, and seeing everything that’s been left out and told the wrong way round (never mind the bald-face lies), I feel it’s necessary to call attention to the fact that I’m not a writer. In fact, I am most emphatically not a writer. An actual writer, he or she probably wouldn’t be making all these stupid mistakes right and left, the omissions and continuity errors and whatnot…As for the lies, I’m guessing writers lie as much as junkies, maybe more, so I’m gonna cut myself some slack in that department. Oh and if you’re thinking, “But wait, Quinn, she ain’t a junky anymore. She’s a vampire.” To which I would reply, only difference between the me of now and the me of those days before the Bride is now it’s blood, not heroin… So there you go, constant reader. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Anyway, just remember this is a book being written by someone who dropped out of school when she was twelve, and after that whatever she learned about grammar and composition was cribbed from library books.

Jesus, why do I even feel the need to explain such a thing.

The book isn’t emotional.  In fact, I don’t feel like we ever really know Quinn, even though the entire story is told in her voice.  I don’t think that’s an accident. She maintains that whole tough street kid persona until the last page.

There are hints of what is still to come in her life.  Threads left hanging.  The main arc is resolved, but the story kind of just stops.

So what did I think of it all?? I’m not sure.  In the first half, I almost put it down.  The second half, I wanted to keep reading to see how it would all play out.  It was interesting, but hard to follow, and I wasn’t very invested.  It was also a little to self-referential for my taste.  But it’s different. Definitely not stale.  I think some people will really like it.  But I didn’t love it.

Rating: C+

*ARC Provided by Roc

Click to purchase: Amazon
Blood Oranges
by Kathleen Tierney (Caitlín R. Kiernan)
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Roc

Comments

  1. I’ve been dieing to read this book ever sense I ran across it on goodreads.

    After reading your review I still want to read it but I’ll hold off on getting at the moment.

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