Series: The Circle #1
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy, Erotic Paranormal Romance
Published by: Loose Id on December 10, 2013
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When Claire became a vampire, she hoped she could forget her abusive past. But her mentor, the sexy, perfect Parker destroys her dreams of a new start. Soon, Claire devotes her new found psychic powers to helping abused women.
Drawn to the mysterious and handsome Andre, another master in the London Circle and Parker’s archrival, Claire enters into a passionate clandestine affair which causes her powers to ramp out of control. Wild, sensual sex morphs into something deeper and, for Claire, terrifying. Andre soon discovers her abilities and realizes he is her trigger–the one vampire in the world who can help her control her spiraling powers.
Bonding with him requires Claire to trust and accept his love, two things she cannot bring herself to do. The gift of love is something her past won’t allow her to accept. Even so, Andre will have to reach her in time to save her life or stake her when her powers drive her insane.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
An original and emotional vampire tale I couldn’t put down!
Marked by a dark and abusive past, Claire sees her new life as a vampire as a fresh start in London with her new family. She lives with her master and mentor Parker, who’s as cold hearted as he is gorgeous and spends her nights developing her newly discovered psychic powers and saving victims of abuse. When Claire rebels against Parker by becoming involved with his rival and fellow master vampire Andre, her powers are amplified and become too strong to control. The truth about Claire’s abilities are soon revealed, tying her to Andre forever and testing her ability to let go of the past and accept her blood gift.
Every once in while you read a book that rocks your world and blows you away, Blood Gift is definitely one of those books. At first glance I thought this was going to be one of the usual vampire romances with the brooding alphas and beautiful heroines and after the first page I realized this was going to be one of those books you didn’t see coming and completely devour! I’m so glad I was wrong about this one. This is my first book by Ms. Burgess and she’s definitely going on my auto-buy list!
The vampire society in Blood Gift is like no other I’ve ever read. Vampires are made, but must stay within their Circle (vampire family) and exchange blood with each other and their Circle master in order to survive (I really found the blood exchange element sexy and messy but fascinating). Fledging vampires live with their mentors, known as masters, for thirty years before becoming masters themselves. Some of the usual mythology applies to this book, such as death by sunlight or staking and I commend the author for giving us a fresh new take on my favorite supes. Ms. Burgess’ vampires are beautiful, sexual creatures with a lust for blood, but also flawed…the perfect predators with a touch of humanity. The vampires have little to no contact with the human world outside of a food source and prefer to socialize with their own kind, each city has a Circle and usually stay within that group.
What I love most about this book is the character development. The author gives us just enough detail of her paranormal world to understand the vampire hierarchy and delves right into the characters and their relationships. I always enjoy reading about imperfect heroines and their emotional journeys of self actualization, they always turn out to be the strong leading ladies you end up loving. Claire is definitely not your usual heroine, she has a very dark past filled with abuse and destructive relationships that have tainted her view of life and self-worth, you can’t help but connect with her. Even with her supernatural powers she’s not some kick ass chick, she’s self-loathing and has “real girl problems.” In order to find her happiness she must confront the demons from her past. Claire’s not a victim, she’s a fighter who refuses to be defined by her past and begins the path to healing and taking her life back, especially when she falls for Andre.
“When I became a vampire, I had this romantic notion that the world would morph and shift, and through my vampire eyes everything would be different. Beautiful. Especially me. Mainly me. Sometimes I have to laugh at myself and the things I think…”
Parker, Claire’s master is sexy as hell but a bit of a mystery. He’s not a very supportive mentor, adding to Claire’s insecurities by bedding her and keeping her in the dark about the vampire world. I have a love/relationship with him, there are times where he can be charming and compassionate and others where he’s just a possessive, insensitive asshole. A bit of his past is revealed throughout the story and I’m dying to find out more. The master/apprentice relationship between Parker and Claire is a very sexual one, but not based on emotion and more on primal need.
Andre on the other hand, is everything Claire wanted from her master but never got. He’s attentive, charming and is a great teacher. He’s the real deal, but Claire struggles to give herself completely to him out of fear and possible abandonment. There are three parties to this story but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a love triangle. Parker plays a large role in their relationship for a bit, but everything is hashed out
“You and I would be beyond words in bed,” he said as I sucked his blood. He tasted like melted caramel with a hint of eternal darkness.
We are also introduced to the rest of the London Circle in Blood Gift. Oliver, the Circle’s master vampire is their wise leader, Ursula, the feisty female master (and Andre’s old apprentice), Gareth the charming level-headed one of the group and Neal, Gareth’s apprentice. While their roles are not huge in this book, their personalities are well developed and definitely add to the story. I can’t wait to hear their stories.
Blood Gift is brilliantly written with raw emotion, sympathetic characters and a lot of heart. It’s a dark and edgy read with some light at the end. It’s not often you can say that you are emotionally invested in all the characters of a book you’re reading, especially when some have undesirable qualities, but that’s what great storytelling will do. Amy Lee Burgess has created a dark and sensual world of vampires that will have you enthralled from the first page!
RtDS Recommendation: Fans of dark urban fantasy and imperfect characters will love this new vampire world!