Sex, Blood, Violence, Parental Abuse, Physical Abuse
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Michelle Heron, Imogene Nix, and Total E-Bound Publishing for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
I want to say that this series went through a rewrite and republication, but Goodreads didn’t have the new dates, so I’m pretty sure I have the old information in my graphic. If I end up finding the new information somewhere, I’ll update the graphic sometime! *Edit: I ended up finding the updated information so I did update the graphic! Yay me!* But this was such a fun opportunity, and I’ll be reviewing the next two books in this trilogy sometime soon, so stay tuned for the rest of my reviews hopefully before the end of the year!
If I remember correctly, when I was first found out about this series, I was asked to read the second book since that was coming out earlier this month. Since it’s a series though, I wanted to make sure I read the first book – this one – to make sure I understood the story. From what it looks like, it may not necessarily continue like other series, so I may not have had to read this, but either way I think it was a good idea to read this one. Now, when I first saw the title and read the synopsis a little bit, I didn’t know what to expect. I did get a vampire vibe, so I was correct in assuming that vampires would be involved in this novel. As far as how or what kind of role they would be playing in this story, or what their relationship would be to humans or in the human world, I wasn’t sure and I usually don’t like to assume or I’ll think it’s going to be like “a typical” vampire story.
I wasn’t sure what to think about the term “blood bride” though. Maybe some sort of sacrifice to a vampire since they need blood to survive, and having to do with marriage, but hopefully it would be something amicable for both parties.
don’t allow your family to mistreat you and bring you down
This was one of the most frustrating things about this novel, and it made me so angry as I was reading this novel. I don’t feel like the “reasoning” behind Hope’s family’s actions towards her after her college years when she returns to the nest – everything that we witness throughout this novel – is remotely justified or makes sense when it is explained towards the end. I felt like it was a cop out, and I truly, truly hope that there are serious ramifications against them. But that’s neither here or there.
I bring this theme up because that was one of Hope’s inhibiting qualities to her identity. Despite the fact that she wanted to be her own person after getting her degree, and wanting to have an important job within the nest even though she developed a connection to the Xavier, she would constantly belittle herself due to the fact that her family would degrade her and slut-shame her. It didn’t matter that there was no outward proof of anything that they said about her, or the fact that it didn’t even matter since she was an adult and could do anything that she wanted to do with her body and her self, they would physically hit her or shove her against the wall, call her a slut, or emotionally break down her character every single time they came into contact with her. And yet, Hope would continue to question what she did to make her family treat her that way, and want to do whatever she could to fix it on her end so that her family could find it in themselves to love her again, and find it in themselves to treat her like their own again. And why should she? Why should she when it was very clear that she didn’t do anything, and she shouldn’t have to change herself or put herself through such emotional strife for people that clearly had no respect for her and her well-being?
It didn’t matter how much Xavier wanted to be the one to handle the problem for Hope, and be the one to save Hope from her jerk family. She needed to be the one to do it for herself.
And clearly I had a lot of issues with this part of the story, so I had a lot to say about it? My bad.
trust but verify that the people in your circle are on your team
Without spoilers, I would say that even though people claim to be on your team, you still need to do your due diligence to make sure that’s really the case. In this novel, Xavier is the newest Master of this nest of vampires and “nestlings” – which I’m understanding are the humans that live and work with the group of vampires within each nest? Or at least the young adult humans? I’m still a little unclear about that since Hope’s parents weren’t called Nestlings, but I don’t really remember them being called anything besides whatever Hope’s father’s official title was…. which I forgot what it actually was…
But yeah, what was I saying? Oh right. Even if they are part of your home, your nest, your team, make sure they are actually trustworthy and aren’t looking for a way to usurp your authority or working with the enemy to find a way to murder you. That’s not fun.
As far as how to do that without letting the traitor know that you’re looking for them… well hopefully you have at least one person within your midst that you trust absolutely.
Well looking up at the huge dissertation above – hahaah but really – clearly I was not very impressed with Hope’s development. I actually don’t know if she really did have much of a development through this story, at least for me. I also don’t really feel like Xavier did as well, although I also feel like I’m at a disadvantage in this because it feels like there was so much more to their backstory prior to the events of this book, but we can’t really find out.
I also wish that I could have learned more about Xavier and seen him more when he was alone. I appreciate the fact that he wanted to support Hope as much as possible, and gave her a lot of access to resources that she probably wouldn’t have had without his approval, and despite all of the sex that they had, maybe he did actually feel some emotional ties to her that weren’t solely based on the physical side. But I didn’t really get to experience it, and to me, I felt like the relationship was a lot more physical and things that happened were based on the physical aspect. I may have read it wrong, I may have understood it wrong, I don’t really know. I just felt like that’s what the relationship was really based on, especially with some of his earlier internal monologue before he had sex with Hope. It was more of a “how do I get her in bed with me?” type of stream of consciousness.
Well besides the previously mentioned anger and frustration…
Honestly I don’t think I felt much when I read this one. Which I guess in this case is okay since I felt like I was supposed to be more intrigued by the sex scenes. I mean, they weren’t bad? Pretty darn graphic for sure – not like blood graphic but descriptive graphic ya feel? – and I’m still not the kind of reader that is super comfortable reading smut in front of other people, but it was okay.
I personally didn’t like how the separation of Xavier and Hope were done, but it didn’t take away from the story at all. One thing that I noticed a lot in this novel as well were that Nix used a lot of words that weren’t the usual words that we see in novels. Does that make sense? I don’t have the book in front of me, but there would be sentences talking about doing something, there’s a word in there that isn’t easily defined unless you’re aware of that word – which I definitely wasn’t – and then you find that the synonym for that word was… really equally easy to use or easier to use. I don’t know how I feel about this. I always look up words that I don’t know the definition to when I’m reading anything, because I want to be able to know what the sentence and/or passage is talking about. But I also feel like this happened a lot of times, and it also affected my flow of reading the story. Now, maybe you’re more aware of definitions than I am so you won’t have to look up as many of the words as I did, so it won’t really affect you, but I could think about others that would rather get to the point, are looking for something that tells it like it is without the word fluff, and this wouldn’t be the book to read. So it’s really a matter of what kind of writing style you like, or whether or not you’re someone like me who tries to look up words as you go. Either way, it was interesting for me to notice when I read it.
I feel like this ended as a full story, so maybe the trilogy isn’t really related to one another besides being in the same world? Either way, I do appreciate being able to read this first novel to get an idea of the lore that Nix created, the writing style that she has, and the kind of pace that I can anticipate for the rest of the trilogy. I have a feeling that there are going to be some other couples that I’m going to be introduced to, so I’m interested to see how those couples compare to Hope & Xavier.