Review: A Taste of Blood Wine

taste of blood wineReviewed by Janell

I haven’t read a vampire book in a long time, and only decided to read this one because it also included some post-WWI British society.

Karl von Wultendorf is a vampire, and in this interpretation, vampires are immune to pretty much everything: sunlight, crosses, holy water. Karl isn’t as angsty and self-loathing as some vampires tend to be. He’s curious about his existence and wants to learn from scientists because he doesn’t believe in God. He’s also disobedient to his maker, Kristian. Kristian is an egomaniacal power tripper who wants all of his “children” to love him and join him in doing God’s work to purge the world of evil humans.

Charlotte is a wallflower, the middle of three sisters, and her aunt is trying unsuccessfully to launch her into society. Charlotte prefers working with her father in the basement of their Cambridge home, running experiments to determine the secrets of the universe. When a charming Austrian named Karl asks to join their work crew, Charlotte’s father gleefully shares all of their knowledge with him.

Slowly, Karl gets Charlotte to open up to him. She’s not the perfect, naive girl that her father and sisters believe her to be, she just doesn’t know what other options she has. Karl opens her eyes, with the help of the “forbidden dark fruit” between his thighs. Soon, Charlotte is doing lots of forbidden things and questioning what she really wants out of life.

And then, things kick into high gear. Karl’s true nature is revealed, people die (!!!), Charlotte questions her love, there’s a hostage crisis, scary creepy tunnels, more death, more betrayals. I hesitate to use the word epic because epic is a big word, but this was a very long book that had a lot of big plot twists. A different author could have split this into smaller books, and I was so grateful to get such a full narrative in one chunk.

The book is told in third person, multiple points of view. Charlotte’s father, brother, and sister-in-law were all interesting characters to watch as their perceptions of reality changed and their familial bonds strengthened. Her family was amazing and supportive, and I liked the depth given to their characters.

I really enjoyed reading this book, even though parts of it were scary (I’m kind of wimpy about scary books). I thought it was a complete story, as well. All the plot threads seemed to be tied up until the very end, which was a set up for the next book. It’s not necessarily a cliffhanger, just a peek at new conflicts to be thrown at the characters. I’m actually more interested to hear about Charlotte’s family, but I think the next book will be more vampire-centric.

I appreciated that this book didn’t concern itself with vampire politics. The vampire population was quite small, and its self-appointed leader was crazy, so it didn’t deal with territories and hierarchies. In that sense, it was a different sort of vampire book. So if you’d like to try something new, something dark and scientific and deadly, give this a try. The heat level is low, just one vaguely described scene, but the drama is high.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Taste of Blood Wine
by Freda Warrington
Re-Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Titan Books

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