Publisher: Roc Trade
Series: Siobhan Quinn #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Paperback (288 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
My name’s Quinn.
If you buy into my reputation, I’m the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I’m an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or…whatever.
Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn’t commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was “saved” by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too.
So now…now, well, you wouldn’t think it could get worse, but you’d be dead wrong.
Siobhan Quinn (but don’t ever call her anything but “Quinn”) is a foul-mouthed junkie runaway whose greatest allegiance was previously only to her next fix. Now, she’s pulling double-duty as a lupus garou and a vampire, and staying alive while finding a way out of the mess she’s currently in has taken center stage. Not that she is without skills, but it’s fair to say that a heavy dose of luck would certainly come in handy if she’s going to survive. Oh, and you can’t believe much of what she says, because the first rule you learn on the streets where Quinn’s from is a simple one: junkies lie.
Blood Oranges is the first story I’ve ever read that led me to simultaneously consult Google Earth and undertake some fairly in-depth research into the world of Mr. William S. Boroughs, patron saint of junkies everywhere. Quinn is as unique a narrator as I’ve ever read, flinging out obscenities and fabrications with abandon, the latter justified by repeated early warnings that any revisions to the story would be done entirely at Quinn’s discretion. Toss in a trail of bodies, a couple of trolls, demon prostitutes, and a British handler who goes by random names beginning with the letter “B,” and you have quite a unique tale. In short, this story can be classified as “weird,” but, if you like Urban Fantasy novels, it’s the good kind of weird, I think.
Certainly not for those looking for something warm and sweet to snuggle up with before turning in, Blood Oranges is fast-paced and thoroughly graphic. Quinn’s inner beast is ravenous and undisciplined, and, while she laments any harm befalling those she counts as friends, she is impressively conscience-free when it comes to her own kills. Feeding her vampire side does burden her with a modicum of guilt, but Quinn is nothing if not a survivor. It’s a disposition that suits her, though, and I couldn’t help rooting for her while she stumbles her way towards some sort of resolution.
Blood Oranges is a unique work of Urban Fantasy that lets its anti-hero shine without any “pesky” romantic entanglements. Quinn is, in fact, as romantic as an acid bath, yet I couldn’t help but be morbidly fascinated by her story. Ms. Tierney has crafted an enjoyably frustrating suspense with Blood Oranges, providing hardly any clues to follow, the first person narrative guaranteeing that the reader is only privy to whatever Quinn sees fit to tell us. If it were possible to have any sort of faith in our narrator, as is typical of most novels, the story might have been more predictable, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. However, as mentioned before, Quinn lies. And I wouldn’t have her any other way.
Liked it – recommend (B+)