It’s no secret that I have a bit of a vampire fetish. It’s safe to say I owe my sexual awakening to vampire movies I watched in my misspent youth. Vampires just resonate with me. In my pants.
Now that I am a mature, grown-up lady, I also very much appreciate vampire stories for their rich world-building, interesting and unique societal structure, and the way a skilled author can create a whole new universe from an age-old legend. These are the main selling points for me in Jordan Castillo Price’s HEMOVORE.
Price creates a unique and incredibly detailed world in which vampirism is the result of a virus that kills more people than it converts. Her writing is refreshing in that she doesn’t pander to the reader and spend endless chapters info-dumping and presenting this new vampire society. She drops the reader directly into this realm and educates them along the way, making them feel a part of this world of V positive and V negative people. Most fascinating for me is the fact that this vampire story isn’t paranormal.
HEMOVORE gives us characters that we can’t help but relate to, even in this extraordinary world. Again, we’re dropped right in the middle Of the relationship between Mark and Jonathan. Instead of following them from the first meeting, we get to know them after they’ve been working together for several years. While we understand that there are romantic feelings, we don’t see that play out much on the page for a good while. I was captivated with how Price developed their relationship. Mark and Jonathan felt like partners without being partners, in my opinion, the romance between the two was subtle but felt oh so natural, they seemed so “together” from the beginning. This was one of the least steamy vampire stories that I’ve read, but that just made their brief moments of physical connection that much more meaningful and powerful for me. I mean…THAT KISS. Wowza.
Then there’s the suspense of it all. The mystery and action in this story excited me and kept me on edge throughout the book. I didn’t even have time to second-guess things, to try and predict what would happen and whodunnit, all due to Price’s writing and the stellar narration that kept me wrapped up in each and every word, I was laser-focused on precisely what was going on in the moment as opposed to trying to see what was coming down the pike.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Joel Leslie. I’m not saying I’m on a mission to listen to everything he’s ever recorded, but I may or may not be in a bidding war for a bootleg copy of his seventh-grade student council campaign speech.
His versatility makes each character wholly unique, allowing the listener to truly immerse themselves in the world that he helps create. He’s not just telling you a story; he’s helping you experience it right alongside the character.
HEMOVORE was an exciting and well-told story that blended so many elements flawlessly and manages to do so in a brand-new world. I loved the balance of Mark’s snark and inner dialogue with Jonathan’s more reserved nature, and I giggled about as much as I gasped throughout the story. This story was interesting and intense, and I would love to experience more in this world. Add in a satisfying and heartwarming follow-up story in SWEET, and I don’t think I could have asked for much more from this book. I’ll be picking up more from Jordan Castillo Price for sure.