Published by: JCP Books
Format: Kindle ARC
Genre: Paranormal of the Southern Gothic Vampire variety
Reviewed by: Judith
If you’re looking for a Twilight reboot, this ain’t it.
Warning to all: there be slutty vamps here!
Plot: Staking a vampire isn’t so easy now that Michael’s got a vampire of his very own. Although killing them is no longer an option, he’s as determined as ever to stop the spread of vampirism.
Wild Bill is a lover, not a fighter–so he’s tickled when Michael’s new agenda, to dispense condoms and sterile phlebotomy gear among vampires, replaces the old “heads will roll” approach.
It takes courage to track down vamps in their own territory and deliver a lecture on safe sex, and more importantly, safe bloodletting. Michael’s never been short on audacity…but he’s finding that he and Wild Bill aren’t the only ones with agendas.
Review: I hate to say this cause it just makes me feel so old (sob!), but I’m a child of the 80s and 90s. I grew up reading gritty paranormal books like Poppy Z Brite’s Lost Souls and Nancy A Collins’ Midnight Blue (if you haven’t read either, rectify that stat). These were moody, gothic vampire stories where you weren’t quite sure if the vamps were the good guys or the bad but you really didn’t care cause they were so deliciously, wickedly, cravenly hot. No books since these have been able to evoke the broody highs and lows of being a vampire. Twilight tried and failed, turning vampirism into something that looked like one huge cat and mouse game of high school, baseball, and teenage roleplaying. It downplayed the grit and gave us glam.
Well, thank god for the undisputed mistress of paranormal cause you ain’t read nothing til you’ve read Jordan C Price’s version of vamps. Think of the filthiest, sluttiest vampires you can. Got that disturbingly sexy image in mind? Good. Now double that and throw in a high octane dose of bloodletting, violence, and roadtripping. It’s a heady mix and one you will not want to miss.
A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion is the next set of 5 novellas taking place after Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary. You will have to have read the latter before this set otherwise the whos and whys will be missing and you’ll be extremely confused about how a slightly vamped human and pacifist vampire have come to throw their lot in together. And by the beginning of Sweet Oblivion, they are most decidely a couple in all senses of the word.
This set of novellas is focused on the evolving relationship between Wild Bill and Michael. There’s plenty of blood coupled with pretty constant HOT sex as is only fitting in a gothic vampire novel. There’s also a more in depth look at the vampire mythology as it works for this series. We learn the extent of Michael’s mutation and we meet quite a few new vampires. These two spend a lot of the books attempting to get blood in the least violent ways possible while avoiding the crazies who seem to find them in droves.
I must say it yet again: Jordan C Price is a superlative writer. She builds worlds with the simplest of phrases. A twisted turn of phrase from her will impart so much more than another writer’s paragraph and everything she touches is so wickedly dark. What I like best about this whole set of novellas is that like the vampire novels of 20 years ago, she doesn’t make a distinction between good and bad. There are absolutely no good guys here. Every character is tinged with a layer of moral miasma; no one is blameless. It’s this sort of darkness leeching into everything that gives her books a moody, nostalgic quality that will stick with you long after you’re done.
In the end, I’m giving this 8/10 for amazing writing, a sexy couple willing to work through difficult circumstances, and a nostalgic reminder of those gothic vampire tales of my youth.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroes: 10 Michael; 10 Wild Bill. We all have types and oddly, Michael and Wild Bill, both push all my buttons. Even ones I didn’t know I had…like guys who smoke or guys with tongue studs or sexy bleached blond haired dudes with six-pack abs. They have an easy comraderie between them, an effortless relationship that is at times mushy “awww” inducing and others incendiary. I dare you to pick just one of them.
How believable is the plot: 8. Uhhh, it’s vampires, you know this going in so…suspend all disbelief?
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Jordan C Price can write. She writes so well you will be in awe of her talent. Like I mentioned above, she crafts and creates. It’s not like a word slinger who throws so much bad phrasing on a page; NO! She sets a mood. It’s ambient and lush and you will not ever want to leave.
How much did I want to keep reading: 8. The unique thing about these novellas is that while they are linked by time and main characters, pretty much anything can happen and can continue happening with infinite story lines. Each novella is a vignette of Michael and Wild Bill’s time together traveling so the possibilities are endless! Their story was nowhere near finished but I didn’t feel a pressing need to learn more about a happily ever after or see a storyline where they end up married or exchanging “this is forevers”. These aren’t that kind of vampires.
Final Score: 8/10. These books are not for everybody. I get that. They’re highly sexually charged, very violent, very moody. You have to truly enjoy a mind-screw and like a sort of softly plodding narrative to enjoy them. Luckily I do (and so do most of YOU) so…read it! With Jordan C Price, you will never be disappointed.