Wrapping up my coverage of Zoe Winter’s Blood Lust trilogy, below lies my review of the third and final novella. On Monday I’ll wrap things up with a quick and fun interview with the author herself, in the meanwhile check out my review below!
Blood Lust is made up of three novellas — Kept (free!),Claimed, and Mated — each serving as a teaser into the Preternatural series. Mated picks up where Claimed left off, and this time follows Jane, who was a pretend vampire groupie in the previous novella.
Because of the vampiric blood that has run through her veins since birth, Jane has been a target for vampires who resent a human being “kindred.” She’s forced to disguise herself as a vampire groupie to appease them and safeguard her life. When she’s abruptly given to Cole, the leader of the werewolf pack, to satisfy a gambling debt, she discovers the blood running through her veins has a far greater impact on her destiny than she ever imagined.
In Claimed, Jane was dating the vampire Paul, who seemed like an alright guy at the time. You soon find out how awful he is — at the beginning of Mated, Paul has incurred a load of debts and decides to literally use Jane to pay them off. Cole takes her as a hostage/guarantee and she ends up living with him for the duration… but Cole’s pack don’t make living arrangements simple.
As with the previous novellas, Mated was a fun and entertaining read, the kind of light-hearted fiction which you devour in one sitting. And it works great as a teaser: not only are the main characters different, but the kind of preternatural involved differs between novellas, meaning that you get new insight into Winter’s creative world. The werewolf society is rather different from any I’ve read about before — I love how they live in underground cave systems of a sort, and their magical protection (thanks to Cain the incubus) is pretty unique. Of course the usual pack politics remain, making Mated an instant hit with werewolf fans.
However, I have to say that — despite enjoying the story — Mated was my least favourite of the Blood Lust trilogy. For some reason, the characters and plot didn’t quite capture me as in the previous two, and I wonder whether it’s because all three novellas share a similar plot that, with familiarity, loses its effectiveness. In all three the female lead is in some way endangered by a preternatural force beyond her control. In all three the male lead, reluctantly at first, takes the female under his wing to protect her from said force. The two then proceed to live in close quarters, leading to misunderstandings, arguments, and sexual tension. They get together, solve the looming menace, and live HEA. It’s a formula that works, but I couldn’t help noticing the similarities when reading the three novellas back-to-back.
The other issue I had was with the characters. Now, I like Cole. He’s one of those dark and dangerous bad boys who’s actually a sweetheart inside, which as always is a great combination for a sexy male lead! But I actually wish he was darker, more conflicted — perhaps more like Anthony, the lead in Claimed.
Jane, on the other hand… Perhaps the fact that she annoyed me in Claimed biased me, but I didn’t really connect with her. She lacks the sparkle that Winters’ characters normally have, the snarkiness and clever wit. Yes, she’s got the worst background out of the three, and I admire her strength despite all the adversity she’s faced, but she just felt more passive as a character compared to Winters’ other heroines.
Despite my nit-picking, I must reaffirm that I did enjoy reading Mated — it was a fun, light-hearted read with great world-building. I especially liked the hell dimension, where Cain the incubus was, and look forward to reading more about that in the sequel to the Blood Lust trilogy, Save My Soul.
In sum, there is no doubt that Zoe Winters can write a good paranormal romance. It’s just the teasers aren’t enough any more — I want a full-length novel! Just as well Save My Soul is due for release soon.
This book is one of my 100+ Reading Challenge!