Blood Sinister by Celia Rees

Blood Sinister - Celia Rees

Okay, in all honesty, I’m not quite sure where to start because I fear this review may sound like a book bashing, which isn’t my intent. But there was so much about it that bugged me, I truly struggled to find anything about it that I did like. Let’s take a look at the niggles:

The cover – it looks creepy, it looks sensual, it looks as though the reader is about to dive into a vampire novel, for sure, as though the main character could potentially be heading into a thrilling/terrifying adventure she will have to overcome. I don’t often comment on covers in my reviews, but I have to say, what’s on the outside is an extremely far throw from what’s on the inside.

The MC: Ellen – um … I have to say she was a dreary soul with little personality. Yes, she had some conflicts to overcome, but they didn’t seem to do anything toward making her more endearing, I’m afraid. She also seemed totally devoid of emotion. Over everything. Even the grand finale at the end, which I’ll come to further down.

The Count – I think he was supposed to be the creep factor. Unfortunately, I just found him a little irritating and pretty much hoped he’d buzz off out of the picture. The same for his sister: the Countess.

The supporting characters – Ellen’s father in the diary: Yes, he’s wrapped up in his work, but I find it pretty unbelievable that he would ‘use’ his own daughter for medical purposes the way he did. Ellen’s mother: what kind of mother would simply say yes to her daughter being transported to a ‘hospital’ for treatment without fully checking it out—especially considering how ill her daughter had been; and I don’t understand why Ellen was palmed off on her gran to begin—that didn’t seem very well developed; also, her mother hardly visited her in the time she spent at her gran’s, which seemed bizarre for someone who acted very controlling when she was around.

The flippancy – when I say this, I mean the flippancy with which the existence of vampires is accepted, the flippancy in the character’s behaviours when dealing with that, and their actions toward solving it. Ellen tells a couple peeps that vampires exist, and they’re pretty much ‘Oh, okay then’ and ‘Hey, how shall we kill him,’ and ‘I barely know you but I’ll gladly take your place and let the vampire suck on my blood so we can act out our master plan.’ Not one of these actions/reactions/behaviours were at all believable. In fact, going back up to the lack of personality in Ellen, pretty much all dialogue—bar Tom’s & Andy’s—also lacked personality and visual expression.

The plot – it was pretty unbelievable. Most of it, actually. I’m sure it could have been made into a decent tale if more time had been spent bringing the character’s to life, and more time had been spent developing the parts that had just been slotted in without any kind of conviction or solidity to their being there, which meant things just … happened, without any kind of explanation and the readers are just expected to accept that this is how it goes because not one of the character’s question it. One prime example is whenever Ellen reached a blank spot in the diaries, she suddenly seemed to dream up what happened instead, as though she were in the original Ellen’s body, and she never seemed to even question it—heck, she didn’t even want to tell anybody about it. It seemed to be a case of: these pages are empty, sleep, dream herself as Ellen, oh, so that’s what happened and I just dreamed up the missing pages—oh, okay then. No questions asked. It’s a pity, really, that this wasn’t given the depth it deserved.

The tone – I’m sorry, but it was dreary, and depressing, and pretty flat and expressionless throughout the entire read. I spent the first 75% of the book hoping it would get better and the story would redeem itself, but when I had only 50 pages to go, I began to realise there was little chance of that happening. And I was right.

The ending – this one kind of links back to the ‘flippancy’ point I made. So there are three of them who’ve decided they’re going to take down the count. They plot, they carry it out, yet there was not once a sense of urgency in their actions, not once did they show any emotion, and certainly no fear. I mean, the two females left poor Andy to go off after the count on his own but only noticed after HOURS had passed that he’d been gone a while, yet all they were doing was sitting in the car and waiting for him. Then there was the crypt business. Tom had spent HOURS trying to locate the count, yet when they come upon his crypt, its description makes it sound so prominent and huge, and obvious, that I had to wonder how the hell he hadn’t spotted it on his own when it didn’t seem to be that much of a problem with the two women helping him. Which leads to the fiasco of finding his ‘coffin’, and going about killing him. I have to say, it was like reading an old black and white horror film, and the final paragraphs fell pretty flat. First, the trio of ‘slayers’ are outside the crypt because the crypt chooses that exact moment to collapse despite the count obviously having slept in there for years—yes, the count, who is obviously wealthy, sleeps in a crumbling crypt that has dodgy repair jobs on it with odd pieces of wood—and not one of them is breathing heavy or acting even remotely weirded out by the fact the vampire just tried sitting up in his coffin with his red eyes glowing. Then there is the count by count (excuse the pun) description of the building crumbling around the count and what he can see, and what he can feel, and the stake through the heart and the decapitation … but the count is no doubt already dead by this point with no witnesses of his demise. It was very odd, to say the least.

So now you’re probably wondering why I read on, and why I rated it at all. Right?

Well, I give my rating wholly to the two male counterparts in the book: Tom & Andy. Because they were both pretty likeable and about the most animated in there.