Tag Archive | Cherie Priest

Hellbent by Cherie Priest

HellbentSource: ARC for review
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn’t need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can’t resist an old pal’s request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way. But Raylene’s biggest problem is that the death of Ian’s vaunted patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths.  Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe—all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won’t be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen—right?

If you’re looking for an urban fantasy book that is not your run-of-the-mill vampire novel, then Hellbent has got to be your first choice. I don’t consider myself to be an urban fantasy reader, but I just love Cherie Priest’s style and her characters; especially Raylene Pendle, the vampire narrator in the book. Her wit, charm and honest assessment of herself, and those around her, are refreshing, and one cannot help but be sympathetic to her and her causes.

In Hellbent, following hot on the conclusion of Bloodshot and the events in that book, Raylene has multiple issues that she needs to deal with: some personal, others purely business. When Horace calls her in for a lucrative gig, Raylene readily agrees to take it on – until matters at her first destination turn rather destructive. Matters aren’t helped when Ian’s House attempts to recall him, and the fact that Adrian/Sister Rose’s sister’s whereabouts are still unknown is a further problem.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a well-written urban fantasy, even if they don’t like vampires much. One doesn’t have to like vampires to love Raylene’s take on life – or is it the undead life? This fast-paced book will stop you from putting it down until it’s finished, and you’ll definitely be left wanting to know what happens next.

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Bloodshot by Cherie Priest

BloodshotSource: ARC for review
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Raylene Pendle (AKA Cheshire Red), a vampire and world-renowned thief, doesn’t usually hang with her own kind. She’s too busy stealing priceless art and rare jewels. But when the infuriatingly charming Ian Stott asks for help, Raylene finds him impossible to resist—even though Ian doesn’t want precious artifacts. He wants her to retrieve missing government files—documents that deal with the secret biological experiments that left Ian blind. What Raylene doesn’t bargain for is a case that takes her from the wilds of Minneapolis to the mean streets of Atlanta. And with a psychotic, power-hungry scientist on her trail, a kick-ass drag queen on her side, and Men in Black popping up at the most inconvenient moments, the case proves to be one hell of a ride.

When I picked up this book to review, I was an urban fantasy novice. The only vampires I had ever met were those in Terry Pratchett Discworld novels. I’m just not ‘into’ them.

Having finished reading Bloodshot, I don’t think I’m a vampire – or urban fantasy, for that matter – novice, and if not a fan of urban fantasy in general – or vampires in particular – I am a fan of Cherie Priest’s writing and her characters.

As a fellow writer, I admire Cherie’s demonstration of the craft. Bloodshot is a phenomenal work, not least because it is written in the first person. Cherie grasps this writing technique with both hands and turns it into a treasure trove of images and concepts. Through Raylene, the narrator, we see the world through a vampire’s eyes. Her running commentary is lively, witty, at times biting, and altogether entertaining. We are also not spared the vampish tendencies – such as thinking of their last killing as supper.

The story begins with Raylene, an accomplished thief, receiving a note from a fellow vampire, Ian. From Raylene we learn that this is not good news. For one, she is pretty untraceable, and she makes it clear to the listener that she does not like other vampires. Intrigued, however, Raylene meets up with Ian to find out his story, and discovers a job that will test her research and thieving abilities. Captured by Project Bloodshot, a military project intent on trying to capture vampire abilities for military uses, Ian was blinded before he could escape. Now, with the assistance of a kind doctor in Canada, he is trying to regain his sight – for which he needs paperwork from Project Bloodshot, decommissioned years earlier. This is where Raylene comes in, as he hopes she can locate the paperwork.

The task sends Raylene across America, and into more hives of angry wasps than she usually cares to attract – if one is to believe her. These do, however, bring out the best of her vampire abilities, which are really cool to experience. While dealing with the intricacies of her project for Ian, however, she must battle against some personal invasions as one of her warehouses is located and invaded by the Feds.

This book will take any reader on a roller-coaster ride through Raylene’s life, and I recommend it very highly.