Title: Blood Secrets
Author: Jeannie Holmes
Page Count: 307 pages
Genre: urban fantasy
Copy for review provided by the publisher in anticipation of an honest review
50 words or less: The storm clouds are gathering as Alex Sabien is investigated for corruption by the Tribunal, Varik's got more secrets than anyone knows what to do with, the relationship between them is rekindled, and a seriously creepy killer called the Dollmaker is on the loose and focused on Alex.
I read and loved Blood Law last summer, and Blood Secrets was on my seriously-want list for 2011. Dear readers, it certainly belonged there, as my attention was grabbed from the first page and held right until the end. I think I blinked maybe five times while reading this story.
I love Alex and Varik as a couple. Normally, a couple where there are so many secrets and half-truths and issues to overcome would leave me with that "you are a flaming douche and I hate you" taste in my mouth, but here I desperately wanted (still want, actually) for things to work out between them. There is so much heartbreak here- Alex still loves Varik, she admits it and owns it, but she doesn't know how to navigate out of the quagmire between them. With every secret that gets revealed, Varik realizes it's a blow struck to Alex's trust in him, but he can't figure out a way to keep her trust, nurture their relationship, and keep the wolves at bay at the same time. I enjoyed that the burden of furthering the relationship is more equal here- Varik certainly needs to work on honesty and not keeping everything so close to the vest, but at the same time Alex has to decide what level of disclosure she actually wants, since if she wants to know Varik's entire history from conception to today then that means she'll be finding out stuff she may wish she didn't know. You can't have it both ways.
The Dollmaker is seriously creepy and an awesomely drawn villain. I enjoy stories where we know the identity of the villain and we read along as the other characters catch on and this element was excellently done here. I found the interplay between the shade of Alex's father and the other characters to be very interesting as well. I think the storm is going to seriously break when his secrets are revealed. It's painful enough to realize that our parents aren't perfect as a part of growing up, but things are going to get messy when Alex realizes just how many secrets her dad kept, and that her family are keeping to this day.
Tasha is an interesting character. Where she once was Alex's friend and a woman of honor, alcohol, circumstance, and bad decisions have made her into a seriously weak individual. She's also a serious threat to Alex and Varik because she has the moral integrity of a bowl of guacamole. It will be interesting to see whether she can regain some of her former character or whether she'll continue her downward spiral in future books.
Not to be left out is Morgan, the special investigator from the vampire Tribune sent to shadow Alex on the job and determine if there's any substance to the charges of corruption that Alex is facing. Come to find out, she has a tangled past with Varik as well, and her motivations for doing the things she does aren't clear. Is it just straight up jealousy, or is there something more? I'm anxious to find out what her deal is in future books too.
Have you noticed how many times I used the word secret in this review? That's not a coincidence, as the secrets all the characters are keeping and reveal throughout the story are almost characters in and of themselves. I enjoyed that Alex's fate isn't a slam dunk at the end of this book and there's still fighting to be done and obstacles to overcome. I have faith that she and Varik will end up together and happy but they are certainly going to have to want it badly enough to fight for it. I'm on board with this series for the long haul.
Overall Grade: A
Be sure to come back tomorrow, because Jeannie Holmes herself will be here for a guest post and a giveaway that is seriously awesome. I can't wait!
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