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Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey

November 16, 2010

Drake Chronicles, Book 2

Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: June 22, 2010

Format: Trade Paperback

Status: Second in the Drake Chronicles, preceded by Hearts at Stake. Book three, Out for Blood, will come out December 21, 2010. It will be a Private School Paranormal and will feature Quinn Drake. Yea!

Source: Purchased by self

Genre: Teen Paranormal (Vampire)

Location: Unsure. Someplace rural, with lots of forests and underground caves. Likely Canada as that’s where Harvey is from.

Other Info: Essentially the same from my review of Hearts at Stake: There will be at least four books in the Drake Chronicles. Book four is already contracted and Harvey is working on #5. Here’s hoping there’s one for each Drake brother!

Description: (From Amazon):

It’s been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she’s made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That’s if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.
The clans are gathering for Helena’s royal coronation as the next vampire queen, and new alliances are beginning to form now that the old rifts of Lady Natasha’s reign have started to heal. But with a new common enemy, Leander Montmarte—a vicious leader who hopes to force Solange to marry him and usurp the power of the throne for himself—the clans must stand together to preserve the peace he threatens to destroy.

First of all, it was a nice touch to make the both people on the cover have green eyes. Logan and Isabeau do in the book, so a point for accuracy!  I don’t however, think that Isabeau would wear that top. Just because she’s a vampire doesn’t mean she wears black leather. And Logan wouldn’t be caught dead in a plain black t-shirt. Oops. Sorry. Unfortunately choice of words. Do I say he wouldn’t be caught alive in a plain black t-shirt? I really don’t know.

This book made me realize how much the first book suffered from the dual storylines. It’s not that Hearts at Stake was bad–far from it–but I think I would have preferred Lucy and Nicholas to have their own book rather than share Solange and Kieran’s. Blood Feud has three alternating points of view: first person from Logan Drake’s p.o.v., first person from Isabeau’s, and third person limited from Isabeau from before she was turned. Though the narrative shifts probably as often as it did in Hearts at Stake, Logan and Isabeau are together for most of the book. This means that, while the perspective shifts, the action doesn’t. In Hearts at Stake, when we went from Lucy’s narrative to Solange’s, we had to remember what was happening to Solange the last time we checked in with her. I didn’t realize that I found that disruptive until I read Blood Feud.

As the back cover blurb mentions, Isabeau survived the French Revolution. Her father was a duke, and therefore his life was pretty much forfeit to the guillotine. So was her mother’s. Isabeau lived on the streets of Paris for over a year. She disguised herself as a boy and picked pockets to get enough money to travel to England to her uncle’s home. It was there that Isabeau met the Earl of Grayhaven, the man who would turn her into a vampire and leave her buried in a coffin, to make her own way to the surface.

In the Drake Chronicles, there are a number of different factions. There’s the regular vampires, like the Drakes. Then there’s Montmarte and his host. Montmarte, you might remember, is the one who wants to marry Solange to solidify his own rule. Montmarte’s Host are the vampires that he turned and left below ground to make their own way to the surface. This process of turning humans into vampires has an iffy success rate. Some survive and join Montmarte’s forces. Others are found, dug up and recruited by the Hounds. The Hounds, predictably, have a special connection with dogs. They have a lot of them and their bones are involved in their beliefs and rituals. Kala is the Hound leader, their shamanka. Isabeau is their princess. Then there’s the Hel-Blar, the rabid vampires whose bites are infectious. Oh, and the hunters who want to kill vampires. Complicated, yes? I hope I didn’t confuse you too much. Seriously, read the books even if you are confused. I have no doubt Alyxandra Harvey explained it better.

Blood Feud picks up two weeks after Hearts at Stake ended. Lucy and Nicholas are a couple and so are Solange and Keiran. If you were hoping they would get some screen time, they do. Lucy’s, hilariously, does so with a purse full of stakes. Heh. Helena and Liam (Solange and Logan’s mother and father) are beginning to reform the vampire “kingdom”. They have an entirely different philosophy about ruling than their predecessor, the late Lady Natasha, and so have many enemies already. Still, they’re interested in forming treaties, so Isabeau has come to the Drakes’ home in order to forge an alliance between the vampires and the Hounds. It’s just a bonus that she meets handsome, lacy-pirate-shirt-wearing Logan Drake.

Isabeau is a fascinating character, not least because she was born and raised in eighteenth century France. After she was turned, she was left in a coffin for two hundred some years. The world has changed drastically, but due to the Spartan lifestyle exemplified by the Hounds, she has lived simply. She has a lot to get used to, but a year on the streets in post-Revolutionary France had already stripped away most of Isabeau’s ability to be shocked by human behavior. I found it an interesting twist that the girl was the tortured character in the relationship. Mostly, if the female is tortured, so is the male. But Logan’s pretty ordinary. I mean, yes, he’s a vampire and he wears shirts with lace cuffs, but he never saw his parents decapitated or anything. In that way, he’s really good for Isabeau. He can offer her the perspective of the undamaged, which he does in a really strategic moment.

I think what I liked best about Blood Feud was that there was plenty of action and plenty of romance. Isabeau is a great heroine. She’s strong-willed, a good fighter and she’s not too stupid to live. She is believably driven by her desire for revenge, but she doesn’t allow it to rule her or to put others at risk. I would have liked Isabeau to come to some sort of realization about what being turned had done for her. If she hadn’t been turned and left for dead, she would never have become the Hound Princess, which is something she’s proud of. She also would never have met Logan. I think it was the only thing missing from the resolution of her story.

Isabeau is really the star of this book. It’s not that I didn’t like Logan–I did. He’s funny and I think he’ll be really good for Isabeau. But due to the fact that he’s a pretty happy character on a pretty even keel, he doesn’t really need much character development. It would have been nice for Logan to have some of that, I think. He should have been given a little something to struggle with. It wouldn’t have to be a big thing–but a small little bone to chew on would have been nice.

The best think about Blood Feud is that it’s totally revved me up for book three. We’ve already met the heroine, which is nice. It’s like that all important conjunction in a sentence. It connects one story to another. I can’t wait until December. I’m delighted with what I’ve seen of the Drake Chronicles so far and I don’t think book three will be an exception.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2010 5:42 pm

    All these sound good! I think you would enjoy The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare! It’s a wonderful and exciting trilogy, the first book is City of Bones, I think you should read it!

    • November 17, 2010 6:35 pm

      Actually, I’m already a big Cassandra Clare fan. I absolutely devoured the first three Mortal Instruments books and I’m looking forward to book four next year.

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