Born in Blood
Author: Alexandra Ivy
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Born in Blood is the first book in a new series by Alexandra Ivy in which humans co-exist with and have knowledge of and paranormal beings (aka high-bloods). High-bloods live in a protected compound called Valhalla on the outskirts of Kansas City. Most humans refer to the high-bloods as “freaks,” and either ignore them or feel they should be wiped from the earth.
Duncan O’Conner is a sergeant in Kansas City, Kansas police. His current case involves the murder of young woman who has no visible signs of trauma, but is missing her heart. Callie Brown, a necromancer (diviner), is called to help uncover what happened to the woman. Unlike most humans, Duncan doesn’t mind being around Callie, and is in fact, attracted to her, and it bugs him that she doesn’t respond to his flirtatious charms.
With the protection of her Sentinel, Fane, Callie goes through the process of recovering the dead girl’s memories. However, she is interrupted by a male necromancer who intrudes into her connection and ends the memories. This has never happened before and it worries Callie, Fane and Duncan alike. With dire predictions looming over the pair, Duncan and Callie must work together to stop the lurking evil.
The first book in a new series generally focuses on world building, and Born in Blood is no different; however, it is done in a way that is transparent and free-flowing. Ms. Ivy shares her world with the reader through the thoughts and actions of her characters rather than telling it via long backstories. I find the mythology interesting, although a little complex, but that isn’t unexpected for a first book.
Duncan and Callie give in to their mutual attraction fairly quickly, which I appreciate. However, I am on the fence on how I feel about the pair as a romantic couple. Individually, they are each compelling and exciting. At times, the pair hit right on, but at others they seem too hokey, naive, young… I just can’t place my mind on the right word. They spend a lot of time talking and realize that they share similar backstories and fears; however, there doesn’t seem to be real emotion in the conversations. They can suddenly open up to someone after feeling alone for so long, but I don’t feel any passion provoking their connection. And there are times when Duncan forces a discussion that are completely inappropriate.
The mystery of what happened to the woman and how it involves Callie is a good one. I enjoyed this part of the story, and was intrigued by the intricate mythology and mystery. We are privy to the actions of the antagonist and know early on his plans from scenes written in his POV. There is a bit of a twist involving Callie and the bad-guy that I pretty much figured out ahead of time, but still enjoyed.
The series is named for the Sentinels who are magical warriors that protect high-bloods who cannot defend themselves. Fane is just one that we meet, and I am hoping that future titles will involve these sexy warriors more intimately. However, I was a bit dismayed at some of their judgement calls and lack of abilities to figure out what was going on in prelude to the climatic battle.
Overall, I liked Born in Blood. I found the mythology and world building interesting and entertaining. I want to learn more about the history of the high-bloods and what secrets they hold. The storyline is solid and flowed well. There are a few twists that didn’t floor me, but weren’t completely predictable either. Callie and Duncan make a great pair on paper – each empathetic and sympathetic to the other’s lifestyle, fears, beliefs, etc. However… I just didn’t feel the sparks I hoped for. It is hard to put a finger on exactly what didn’t make this story WOW me, but it just didn’t. I cared about the pair, and it’s not that they rubbed me the wrong way, but I just never fell in love with the couple. In the end, I enjoyed the direction the story took, and I plan to read future installments of The Sentinels series.
Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.
Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally.
Release Date: December 31, 2013
Series: The Sentinels #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (373 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Born in Blood (The Sentinels #1)