Series: VAMP CITY
Plot Type: Urban Fantasy (UF) with a touch of horror
Ratings: Violence--5; Sensuality--4; Humor--1
Publisher and Titles: Avon
A Blood Seduction (6/2012)
"A Forever Love" in Vampires Gone Wild (3/2013)
A Kiss of Blood (6/2013)
This post was revised and updated on 8/5/13 to include the second novel in the series, A Kiss of Blood. That review appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and a review of the first novel:
NOVEL 2: A Kiss of Blood
After the gory horror of the first novel in this series, book 2 is almost a walk in the park. Palmer has drastically dialed down on the bestial brutality this time around, changing the focus to the developing romance/lust between Quinn Lennox, the series heroine, and her one-time captor, now hot lover, Arturo Mazza. At the end of book 1, Arturo helped Quinn and her brother, Zack, escape from Vamp City (aka V.C.). Now three weeks have passed and they are still safe, but their lives are by no means normal. Zack is sick with some sort of magical illness that is related to V.C., and his girlfriend, Lily, is still a vampire captive somewhere in V.C. When a pair of Traders breaks down Quinn's door, Arturo appears out of nowhere to rescue her, with the help of her new neighbor, Mike, who turns out to be Arturo's friend Micah.
Arturo convinces Quinn that the only way her brother will get well is for him—and her—to return to V.C. so that Quinn can fix the broken magic. Quinn is smart enough to know that Arturo can't be trusted, but she desperately wants to save her brother's life, so she reluctantly agrees. The rest of the story follows two tracks: the romance (which is much more important in this book) and the action plot that involves tracking down information as to why Quinn's magic isn't working as well as it should.
Thankfully we don't see much of the evil Cristoff in this book, but he's just as depraved as ever in the brief scenes in which he appears. At this point in the story, Arturo has come to grips with the fact that the broken magic has transformed Cristoff into a monster who probably can't be saved, and he has also come to realized that he's in love with Quinn. Quinn has her own problems as she wavers between lust and distrust for Arturo and tries to get control over her sorcerous powers so that she can fix the magic and save her brother—and her treacherous over. In this book, we learn that Lily is indeed still alive and trying her best to survive, so the Zack-Lily story will probably appear in a future book or novella.
A few facts are added to the mythology in this book, primarily the fact that the Traders are actually a race of demons, which explains their super strength. We also meet the werewolves, the Rippers, and the Fae for the first time. Since the magic broke in V.C., these groups have not been able to leave V.C., so they are having severe food shortages that are being made worse by their enemies' attacks on the few Traders that will still deliver to them. Speaking of the broken magic, we also learn exactly what caused the magic to fail two years ago. The Fae play a key role in this story as they have important information about Quinn's magic problems. In one humorous scene, Arturo bribes a Fae woman by giving her the latest DVDs of CSI and So You think You Can Dance.
This book is not nearly as dark as book one although it does have several scenes of mindless violence—just not as many and with fewer horrific details. Love is now a possibility—really a probability—between Quinn and Arturo, so we have a number of hot love scenes and lots of angst-filled conversations between the two. Arturo's friends are much more important in this book, particularly Micah, Neo, and Kassius. This means that Quinn begins to realize that all vamps aren't evil, and that's a difficult concept for her to accept after her treatment during her initial trip to V.C.
This book reads more live a dark paranormal romance, but if you want to read it in the context of the series story arc, you'll have to get through book 1, which is really an effort, unless you're really into sadomasochism, over-the-top torture, and sociopathic behavior of the worst kind. Click HERE to read an excerpt.