May 18, 2013

Jeri Smith-Ready: "Let It Bleed"

Title: Let It Bleed [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: WVMP Radio (free-download novella - book 3.5 of 4. See Jeri Smith-Ready's site)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Year: 2012
Age: 18+ (though Jeri's site actually says 16+, but I think the whole series would be better handled by more mature readers. All the more so because of what stated in the Cons below).
Stars: 3/5
Pros: Original take on the overused vampire theme. Interesting, mostly tridimensional characters.
Cons: Abundance of gore. A graphic sex scene. Nonetheless...slightly boring.
Will appeal to: Those who like this series...duh.

Blurb: Con artist-turned-radio-station-manager Ciara Griffin hopes to settle into a normal un-life as a fledgling vampire. But Ciara’s best friend mourns her like she’s dead instead of undead, and her own maker clearly wishes she’d never been born (again). Worst of all, hippie vampire DJ Jim has murdered a pair of humans - humans who share Ciara’s true last name. Ciara finds herself face to face with her Irish Traveller cousins, a not-so-welcome family reunion that might hold the key to Ciara’s anti-holy blood. Jim’s spiral into madness makes Ciara an unwilling prize in his deadly feud with Shane. As Ciara clings to what’s left of her humanity, she’ll need her new vampire strength - and old con artist cunning - now more than ever. (Jeri Smith-Ready site excerpt)

Review: So, well - the cat is out of the box. I was extremely careful not to spoil anything in my review of Bring on the Night (the previous chapter of this series), but since the very blurb for this one is a tattle-tale, there's no point in being cryptic anymore. So Ciara got vamped in the end. And as those who read BOTN will already be aware, it only beat to be truly dead. She had to make a choice between relinquishing her life or losing her humanity, and she painfully did. So now she has to live (erm, un-live?) with the aftermath of that.
A necessary premise to my review. This novella was originally intended to be the official fourth installment in the saga, which meant getting its own paperback status. But for reasons that the author herself states here, it came out as a free-download novella instead. While I can only commend Jeri's decision, and thank her for the hard work poured into a no-profit (to this date) project just in order to comply with her own trade honesty, I have to be honest myself on the other hand. I didn't find LIB nearly as exciting as the rest of the series so far. Maybe it was to be expected, given the rough path this story had to travel and the unusual format. Of course, many of my fellow readers have enjoyed it nonetheless. Me, not so much. [...]

LIB begins the very day after the ending of BOTN. Lori and David are getting married, and Ciara is still trying to adjust to her new condition. Things get complicated by a Code Black involving Jim, who has just murdered a pair of humans. To make things even worse, said humans turn out to be two long-lost members of Ciara's family. And to top it all, some more family members were on their trail, and show up on Ciara's doorstep.
Basically, this novella deals with (issues are listed according to their significance level in the story, from medium to huge): 
1) a friendship tested after a pivotal change; 
2) (unusual) family ties; 
3) a vampire's descent into madness;
4) Ciara's anti-holy blood. 
I feel like Lori's and Jim's issues could have profited from more fleshing out (= a novel-length span), while the family reunion slightly bored me as it is. I understand it strengthens the focus on Ciara's anti-holy powers, but I couldn't connect with Ciara's cousins enough to enjoy their story. Mind you, this is still an adventure, a fast-paced story in parts - and a blood-filled one at that - but the "quiet" bits didn't do anything for me. I did like the ending though, especially the part with Ciara and Monroe bonding.
As far as novellas go, I suppose this is a good one (not that I have a lot of experience with novellas). My main problem with it is a slight feeling of boredom. I guess the cousins' story would have had the same effect on me (and maybe some more) if told at length. So, in a few words...this is a decent transitional chapter between Bring on the Night and Lust for Life, but don't expect wonders
Note: again, the title of the novel comes from a song  - "Let It Bleed" by The Rolling Stones, 1969. And again, every chapter is also named after a song, while Smith-Ready provides the usual book-related playlist.
For my review of "Wicked Game" (first installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Bad to the Bone" (second installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Bring on the Night" (third installment in the series) click here.
For my review of "Lust for Life" (fourth installment in the series) click here 
For more Adult books (also by Jeri Smith-Ready) click here.

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