Full Moon ♍
Two posts on the same night? Aren’t you lucky!
Going with the flow of Awen and with the “Creativity comes with other people” theme from my other post, I felt compelled to write this one!
I haven’t done a book review before and I am thrilled that my first is for my fellow blogger and friend, Aspasía S. Bissas’ novel ‘Love Lies Bleeding’.
Firstly, ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ is a romance. I don’t do romance books, but this was a first. Ok, technically Dracula could be classed as one- alright, a love story!
Secondly, this is a story in a world that has vampires in it.
I love vampires. I especially love the modern version of vampires being sexy, having cool powers and using blood drinking as a metaphor for sex.
Our main protagonists are Mara and Lee. Mara’s a young (looking) vampire who is older than she appears; loves her garden and dreads spending anytime with Nigel. Nigel’s a vampire of the Enlightenment, the vampire high society. He’s also a bit of an arrogant sod who loves the sound of his own voice.
Lee is human, he has a cheeky demeanour and punky sensibilities. He is all life and daring, which is a contrast to Mara’s ebbing Humanity and this flutters something in her undead heart as she begins to feel again.
Problem is, Nigel presents serious problems for them both….. and there’s also the problem of Dominic. Did I mention Mara has a stalker?
When I first started reading ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ I was totally confused. There were British words and turns of phrase, yet there were Western dialects and prose. Mara was from Ireland and, of course, is going to use words such as “arse” and not “ass”.
Bissas has great skill in setting the scene, you can see grand houses standing tall, gothic and dark. You can imagine shadows dripping down the walls to hide whatever might be haunting them. And this all set against the urban noise of bright lights, thumping music and sweat of the mortal populace. You can imagine the grime of the alley way and feel the thrill of the victim thinking he’s getting lucky…. only to be the latest feeding opportunity.
Bissas also eases you in slowly, introducing the characters at a good pace so you aren’t bedazzled in some Tolkienesque saga. She also sets the stage and scene so you come to see what the Enlightenment is all about and what it will cost for Mara to join it.
In terms of the romance aspect, we aren’t talking Twilight, here. Mara and Lee fall in love and they pursue it, knowing full well, this can’t last. But how long can they ignore that fact? How long until they have to make sacrifices until the cost is too high? In this world, vampires aren’t supposed to fall in love with their prey!
I met Mara with curiosity, she comes across independent and a bit of a high-profile-almost-anarchist. But as we discover, she’s putting on a mask to hide the fact she feels dead inside. Mara is dedicated to her garden, allowing opportunity for the insertion of plant lore which was a wonderful touch and adds to the story.
It’s Lee who enables her to feel alive and give her a cause.
Lee, I didn’t like Lee at first. I found him annoying and cocky when he’s trying to be charming and funny oh, wait…. like all men when we’re trying to impress someone? Yeah. Lee, fortunately, grew on me. He also has layers which make him completely relatable. Which I found a great foil to Mara’s ennui. A ghost is trapped in the past, Mara is trapped in her immortality. One of my favourite conversations is in a later chapter when they bicker and snap at each other where I thought “Yep, definitely been there!” Rather than being a rebel for the sake of it, he has his own reasons for flipping authority the finger.
The novel is written in 3rd person, but primarily follows Mara and Lee’s perspective. Any other characters are part of the narrative, but we don’t read their thoughts or what they’re planning. This was a brave choice to write following only the two main characters. But I would like to have seen events from the perspective of others. Nigel is boring. We know this because Mara’s point of view says so. Dominic is dangerous and obsessed, again we see this from Mara’s eyes. For me, it would have fleshed both male antagonists out with a bit more from their side of the story and dislike them more. Although we do come to learn more about them in time.
At the end of the night, vampires are monsters. And ‘Love Lies Bleeding‘ is not afraid of this; whether it’s Mara’s hunger becoming uncontrollable- is it her age, or is it something else deep within her? Is Nigel really boring or is it that he’s so inhuman that he is above such a paltry thing such as emotion? Is Dominic really stalking Mara or does he see her as prey…. even if they are both vampires? And what of Mara and Lee? Can they pursue their love? What lengths will all go to get what they want?
These are the questions that can only be answered by reading the book!
Get it, read it and enjoy it!