Black Blood by John Hennessy
A unique mix of sci-fi, urban fantasy, and post-apocalypse that will appeal to fans of YA.
Publisher’s Description: Vampires, werewolves, witches, magic—no one in the Sanctuary, home of the survivors of the nuclear apocalypse, believes in such imaginary creations, including Aberdeen Dareday. That is until the day Abby wakes up with black veins bulging under her skin. The day she learns everything she’s been told about the world is a lie. Forced to flee humanity’s last refuge because of her abnormality, and the corpses left in its unexplainable wake, she finds herself on the run in an entirely new world. A world in which darkness reigns, full of supernatural creatures bent on her execution.
When all seems lost and facing certain death, Abby is saved by Ash, a quiet yet striking young man who shares her black blood, and her mysterious powers. After Ash reveals a clue regarding an old witch, they head north to her home in Montana, determined to beat the piling odds and obtain the answers they seek. Now hunted by everyone from vengeful humans, to the alluring vampire Prince of Texas, to the Lord Alpha of the largest werewolf pack ever to exist, Abby must discover what is so special about her black blood if she hopes to live and fight another day, but time stands against them as their enemies close in for the kill.
Black Blood is a spellbinding cross-genre mutation unlike anything you’ve ever read, weaving paranormal fantasy in a post-apocalyptic world.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
What I Liked: Black Blood is a unique mix of urban fantasy, sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic fiction. I think my favorite part of the book was the culture of the moonborn and the sunborn. The moonborn are shifters, called by the moon and susceptible to death by gold — a sun substance. The sunborn are sorcerers, called by the sun and susceptible to silver — a moon substance. Sorcerers have hunted and killed moonborn for years, believing they were saving their world. Then the aliens arrived…
We didn’t learn a whole lot about the aliens, or the organization structure of the werewolves or vampires, but there are hints that there will be some interesting story bits there as well.
Of course, the animals were awesome! The two enormous dogs, the raven, and the eagle were fantastic characters in the story.
What Didn’t Work For Me: Though I believe the main characters to be in their 20’s, they’ve been on their own or isolated so much that they feel younger and naive, giving the story a YA feel. And though appropriate for the age and maturation of the character, the frequent focus on adolescent sexual daydreams just wasn’t interesting to me and didn’t really seem to add anything to the story.
Having a character instinctively know things and able to do things previously unknown is always a bit problematic in terms of believeability. The author does make it part of the story that the main character, Abby, doesn’t have a clue how knowledge and skills come to her, but it takes a lot of suspension of disbelief to buy everything she can do. She seems to stay very trusting of people and creatures they encounter, even after repeated proof that no one can be trusted. I expected to see a bit more Walking Dead type paranoia, given the world they are in, but it doesn’t ever manifest.
Conclusion: The world the author has created in Black Blood is very unique and I want to learn more about it. But the book’s young, naive feel doesn’t appeal to me that strongly. It is a good read and reviews are very positive, so if the premise sounds interesting to you, I’d suggest giving it a try.
If you like this book…