I saw Blood Song, by Rhiannon Hart, in bookstores before I was given a review copy. Every time I saw it, I picked it up because of the appealing title and cover, and then put it back due to the summary on the back describing the main character\’s craving for blood. That was a mistake. Sure, if you\’re craving blood, or at least a book touching on vampires, Blood Song will definitely hit the spot. But this is not really another vampire novel. As I read it, I wasn\’t thinking Dracula, or even Twilight; I was thinking Pride and Prejudice!
Told from the perspective of a younger sister who doesn\’t quite fit in, the book has a fairytale feel to it. Zeraphina is a princess, but a poor one. The king has been dead for many years, and times are tough. The Queen knows that the solution is for First Daughter Lilith to make an advantageous marriage, which she is set to do when disaster strikes. Now a new suitor needs to be found, with the family\’s meagre resources being sacrified to make a good impression.
Luckily, Zeraphina is Second Daughter, so she doesn\’t have to worry about such things right now. Athletic, independent, with eagle and cat in tow, she cuts an unconventional figure. What she does have to worry about is debilitating pain, a craving for blood and a strange pull from the north. When Lilith receives an offer of marriage from Prince Amis from the northern kingdom of Pergamia, Zeraphina chooses to accompany her mother and sister to the betrothal.
There she meets Rodden, the prince\’s offsider, and starts to find out more about who, or what, she is. I loved the character of Rodden, who is arrogant, patronising and, not to put too fine a point on it, rude. The book doesn\’t really have a clear antagonist until he turns up, but I didn\’t feel that was a flaw. Rather, the early chapters build suspense as the reader anticipates conflict and excitement, which the book delivers. This is a clever strategy on the part of the author, tempting me to flip ahead to discover the answers to the mysteries which kept arising.
The book is colourful, with beautiful descriptions and was a really enjoyable read. While complete in itself, a sequel beckons and I definitely won\’t be leaving that one in the bookstore!
Available now: Random House RRP$18.95