Order of the Blood, The (Book)
Written by Nicole Vlachos and Lane Morris
Published by Black Bed Sheet Books
I'm about to write something that will likely annoy the authors of this book and put off many of the readers of this review. In advance I ask both to KEEP READING past this statement, as it's not what you think.
The Order of the Blood is Twilight for grown-ups.
Now DON'T LEAVE. Seriously. Let me finish.
Twilight is a terrible series of books and films. The books are badly written, the movies are badly acted, and the whole thing is just handled in the worst way possible.
That being said, Twilight is not a bad idea. The concept is sound: vampires living among humans based on a basic set of rules enforced by a hierarchy of vampire elders keeping the younger set in check. A human girl becoming entangled with a vampire and thus in his universe. Political and relational conflicts within that vampire world and their repercussions on the human/vamp couple at the heart of the tale. A love triangle that forces the human to choose between humanity and eternity.
It's only once Meyer and her cinematic henchmen start putting fairy dust on the bloodsuckers and insert jailbait werewolves running around half naked that things go all sideways. This book has none of that nonsense, just the similarities I mentioned above.
The Order of the Blood is set in a rather unique world: a UK where vampires were once very honored members of society. Kind of like an eternal fraternity only accepting the finest of human specimens, The Order ruled over the vampire race and was held in the highest regard by humankind. Taking care not to kill humans when feeding or taking an unwilling victim as a meal, as well as limiting the creation of new vampires to carefully vetted and selected men (no women, this is a fraternal order), The Order maintained the relationship with humans very carefully.
Until one man broke it all.
A political leader in the UK, jealous and hateful of The Order for rejecting him, raises hatred against the vampire race, leading to a witch hunt and slaughter. Vampires are effectively outlawed, persecuted, driven underground. Robin is a human woman who assists them, as her brother was a member of The Order. Eventually she pays a high price for that collusion, and her fate is forever bound to the remains of The Order and vampires in general...especially a particularly troublesome vampire named Gideon.
Gideon leads one of the two factions of the remaining vampires. He believes the relationship with mankind cannot be regained. As such, he kills and turns with impunity. While Robin disagrees with these actions, she cannot deny her attraction to Gideon. When she goes to him for help for an old friend who has recently been turned, her relationship with Gideon intensifies...just as the political pressure to wipe out all vampires increases.
What follows is a love triangle amidst the political and territorial wranglings of the remnants of The Order. Robin is again thrust into the middle of this fight just as she is torn between her love for the morally reprehensible Gideon and the pure but lacking Ian.
The Order of the Blood will also primarily appeal to much the same group of readers as Twilight, just older: women in the mood for romance with their biting. However, you'll find none of Meyer's prudish Mormon-inspired chastity here; these vamps get very randy once they've fed, and there's quite a lot of Skinemax-worthy bodice ripping going on. To put it simply, there's just a great deal of nookie going on here.
The book might appeal to male readers who are interested in vampire politics, the kind of guys who would role play a Ventrue in Vampire: The Masquerade. The relations within The Order and outside of it are intriguing, and I almost wish the book had spent more time on them rather than on what Robin was doing in the bedroom.
The book, then, does suffer from schizophrenic tendencies. Some sections seem to be pulled straight out of vampire romance novels, others out of Anne Rice's tales of vampire society. Part of the issue here is the length: The Order of the Blood is in need of a good edit or two. At nearly 500 pages, there's some fat that could be trimmed to make things more digestible. While straddling the line between romance and intrigue is what makes the book unique, it does lead to some bloat.
I'll say this: Vlachos and Morris have created a unique world for their horny immortals to fornicate in. The characters are well-developed and, especially in the case of Gideon, fun to read. I did find myself occasionally screaming internally at Robin for some of the choices she makes, but I suppose that's just a sign that I was invested in her as a character; otherwise I wouldn't have cared.
If you're looking for some spicy vampire intrigue, you could do much worse than The Order of the Blood. It is indeed Twilight for grown-ups with its romance, politics, and drama among humans and vampires attempting to co-exist. Completely glitter-free, thankfully.
3 out of 5
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