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cover-10001Vampires are a tricky subject. On the one hand, they are the classic monster, all inhuman and brutal. On the other, they are a form of rape fantasy and loss of control for the victim. On the gripping hand, you have the insane modern takes, from pretty boys to sparkling statutory rapists.

And sometimes they take over the world. In Courtney Sloan’s debut novel that is exactly what happened. Humans were too close to wiping each other out, and the world’s vampires stepped up to save us. You know, the food. While the world is not fully fleshed out in this installment, there are some hints – some places are virtually depopulated, the system of governance in the new world varies, but the vampires are always at the top. Of course. In the US, that means that we have a President For Unlife, and a tithe in blood expected from all citizens. There is also a school/Hunger Games/Olympics that takes certain children with the potential to be Scions and trains them for the position. Scions are the Renfield-like assistants, who can be the eyes and ears of their vampire partners, and receive accelerated healing, enhanced senses, strength and so on from the vampire.

And in that world we meet Rowan, a police officer and enforcer used against the feral vampires (those who don’t toe the line in relation to not killing people for blood).  Her job involves dealing with these feral types, psychics, shapeshifters, and run of the mill humans. She works at a job she is good at, and also hates, to keep her brother taken care of.

When a delegation arrived for negotiations into a blood-sharing treaty with Canada, things rapidly go pear-shaped, and Rowan and crew need all the help they can get to survive. And yes, that felt as weird to write as I am sure it was to read. But it is accurate.

All in all, this is a very, very solid book. The world is well fleshed out, the characters are real, and while my personal desire is always for more background, there is a good amount of background to be had. I also suspect that, given the political nature of the book (in-universe politics, not real word – it is safe!) and where things wind up, more background is all but promised.

I held off writing this review for a reason. It is sometimes a challenge to figure out how to write a review for a book that I very much enjoyed, but have trouble explaining exactly why. This is that kind of book. It was a very good read, with all the superlatives I mention above, and not much in the way of negatives.

Either way, thank you again to Curiosity Quills for the review copy. I look forward to the second book.

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