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Hemovore Paperback – May 4 2010
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“Hemovore is a complex and absorbing read that draws upon horror and science-fiction while avoiding the magical elements present in typical vampire urban-fantasy. It is character-driven fiction with a lot of action, and features a sophisticated level of world-building that we readers aren't often lucky enough to find in most m/f or m/m paranormals.”
~ Val Kovalin, Obsidian Bookshelf
“Ms Price is well established as the creator of some of the most intriguing vampire yarns in an overcrowded genre, and she also has a reputation for her damaged, fascinating characters. In Mark, she doesn’t disappoint – lovelorn, OCD, paranoid and entirely too bound up in his irritating, mysterious boss, the HHV positive artist, Jonathan.”
~ Ann Somerville, Uniquely Pleasurable
“Jordan Castillo Price creates unique heroes that are realistic and lovable...Action-packed and fast-paced, Hemovore is study in relationships and how people respond to danger. Jordan Castillo Price has created another book that will entertain us and keep us up long into the night.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Things are humming along quite normally for Mark and Jonathan. Mark is trying to locate more feline donors for Jonathan, Jonathan is painting his black canvases that only V-positives can see, and Mark is still hiding his ever-growing attraction to Jonathan. Then all hell breaks loose. Dead bodies suddenly start turning up and Mark and Jonathan are on the run. Price creates another fascinating world with Hemovore, where the unusual becomes the norm, and the norm becomes odd. A good portion of the world has become V-positive in Hemovore, and most of those who aren't, wish they were, or wish they knew one. Price's twist on the vampire is fascinating and fresh. Mark is attracted to Jonathan but afraid of him at the same time. It's not a great relationship builder. Bloodbonding is an act as intimate as sex. Mark and Jonathan's romance is angst-filled and inevitable. I wasn't ready for Hemovore to end when it did. Hopefully there will be more to come. Jordan Castillo Price is the Quentin Tarantin of urban fantasy. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
There are a lot of allusions to HIV with the vampire virus since it can be transmitted through body fluids. The vampire virus is far more contagious though (like a condom isn't good enough protection) so being in a relationship with a V+ person means you need to think creatively about expressing affection.
Which brings us to our main characters and story--Jonathan Varga is a famed Vampire artist, gorgeous and forever looking 25, even though he's decades older. His assistant Mark is in his mid-40's and feels very schlubby in comparison to Jonathan's sleekness. Mark is V negative, which means he religiously cleans everything that Jonathan touches, all the while trying not to think too deeply about his feelings for Jonathan, both lustful and otherwise, since consummating anything would be impossible without risking catching the virus. This is their existence, day in and day out--V+ employer, V- employee, neither communicating about what they feel about each other.
Then trouble comes along in the form of a deadly vampire from Jonathan's past, and both Jonathan and Mark are forced to flee together to stay safe. Their journey and choices over the following days will test their relationship, and force them both to confront all the things that had been unsaid before then.
I enjoyed Hemovore--it's a very creative, well-written story with very consistent world-building. The author really excels at introducing an alternative-world idea (in this case, vampire virus) and rolling it out so it's very believable. The characters are also engaging, and some of my favorite parts where the conversations between Jonathan and Mark--they have an interesting way of communicating with each other, especially during times when Jonathan, normally very reticent and serious, tries to lighten the mood. You can sense that they have known each other for years, but at the same time, you can feel some of the silent underlying frustration between them because of the virus and the obstacle it plays.
My only notch down about the story is that it's grimmer than other works I've read by the author. There's nothing wrong with grimness, but it meant for me that it was easier to put down and leave for a while whereas normally I speed right through her work.
Part of the grimness is because the virus is depressing--most people don't live through it, and the risk of Mark catching it (and the possibility of dying) weighs on Jonathan as heavy as the guilt he feels for getting Mark mixed up in the mess they're in. Mark's acerbic, sarcastic voice adds some levity, but overall, I found it a heavier read than say, her Psycop books, or some of her other stand-alone novels. At the same time, I'm not sure how one would lighten the mood a little bit without wrecking the overall tone of the story. (I'll be honest, the ending helped pick me up from the heaviness of the middle third.)
It's a good read though, and I recommend it, especially if you're already a fan of the author. It's very creative, great characters, and as usual, fantastic writing.
- As is usually the case with this author, the world is fascinating. Its basic premise is familiar, but a number of unique details are included that throw it out into its own category. I was hooked from the first scene.
- The narrator’s mind is full of endearing little musings (example: “I’m not sure why her oral hygiene was so poor. Other bodily odors I could understand, given the shortness of her arms relative to the size of her body. But it looked to me as if her hands should be able to reach her mouth just fine, especially since a toothbrush would add three, maybe four inches to her range”). These musings take the reader off on fun little tangents and create a sense that Mark is always about two steps away from madness in this hellish world he lives in.
- I found the conclusion to be a bit disappointing. Not the *way* it ends, but rather *where* it ends. I wanted to see more of the resolution. I can enjoy a romance with or without sex, but this one has a decent amount of buildup on that account and not much payoff.
Overall comments: The story has a macabre tone that I found both funny and slightly disturbing. However, I had heard the book described as “romantic horror, heavy on the horror,” and I found it less gross/disturbing than most of the other JCP books I’ve read.
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