Two Doll Review: Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter
With the ring of sorrows still missing, and the covenant between othernaturals and mortals broken, Chrysabelle and Malkolm’s problems are just beginning. Chrysabelle still owes Malkolm for his help, but fulfilling that debt means returning to Corvinestri, the hidden vampire city neither of them is welcome in.
The discovery that Chrysabelle has a brother could mean reneging on her promise to Malkolm, something that might make him angry enough to loose the beast living inside him. And fulfilling her vow could prove devastating for Chrysabelle — especially when you throw in power hungry witches, dead fringe vampires, and the Kubai Mata.
***Possible Spoilers for Previous Books***
Noa: I am so excited to get to share another review with Kitt, and since this is a series we’ve been waiting for and discussing for quite some time, it seems only natural that more than one Doll would show some interest in reviewing it. I reviewed the first book in Kristen Painter’s Comarré series Blood Rights (was supposed to be a trilogy but has now been extended to five books…so far) and had extremely high hopes for Flesh and Blood… So, where to start? The good? The bad? The ugly?
Kitt: To tell you the truth, Noa, I have no idea either. There are some really fabulous things about this book – and series for that matter – but also some things I had very big issues with. Like you said, we’ve been waiting on this series for so long and when you got your
grubby little hands on Blood Rights at BEA I was SO jealous! I think it’s the covers. Have you seen such beautiful covers?
Noa: I love the covers! They are so intriguing and mysterious – and that was one of the things I really enjoyed about Blood Rights. It was intriguing and mysterious and a whole new take on the vampire genre, and I couldn’t wait for more. Flesh and Blood is a great installment in that it moves the story forward and does give additional insight to both of the main characters, yet at the same time I felt as if we stayed in the sameY spot that Blood Rights left off and started a whole new series – Flesh and Blood introduced sooo many new characters and it seems like there are quite a few plots developing, it kind of left what seemed like the ‘main’ plot behind. Did you get that sense?
Kitt: It’s amazing how we both see the same things sometimes! I think those feelings of the “main” story not moving forward comes mainly from Chrysabelle and Malkom. We’re so busy with all the new characters and plots introduced that there isn’t much time left for our two main protags other than some back story, and then in what little we did see, not much else was happening. Though, in that short amount of time, a couple of things did still manage to happen that had set my teeth on edge – the introduction of a second love interest with out there being enough exploration of the first muddying everything up was the first. It doesn’t help that Hero #2 isn’t all that likable or trustworthy working for a secret organization that appears more self-serving than it’s continued insistence that they’re there for the protection of humans against vampires.
On the other hand, not all the pov swapping was that bad. I really liked Ms. Painters direction with Doc and Fiona. The whole idea of a vampires victims haunting them is very unique. Fi and Doc are very sweet – even if what happened to them was a little heartbreaking – and provided a bit of comic relief in a surprisingly darker story. I also really liked the mix of paranormals from Fae to Shifters along with the further explanation of her whole Comarré culture. In this genre, it’s has to be really hard to find a new spin on the classics. Her new ideas help to keep everything fresh and I’m intrigued to see where the story will take us next. What about you? What were some of the things you loved or disagreed with?
Noa: I really do think we’re on the same page with this book. Mal and Chrysabelle were putting off so much sexual tension and chemistry in Blood Rights, I was sure that we would at least see that moving forward, it did in a way. But as you mentioned the new man in town is not getting me at all excited, he seems like another distraction.
Though I do have some theories on that distraction’s purpose ;)
Then there’s Fiona and Doc… Ooh, I love them and was so heartbroken for the both of them, and was extremely happy to have Fiona back in the picture to some extent, but again, felt like it was all sidelined by witches and dragons and secret societies oh my!
Now, the issue we all find a bit…aggravating: The Cliffhanger.
Noa: I mentioned in my review of Bad Blood that there was a series cliffhanger but that the book itself came to a nice comfortable conclusion. Well, Flesh and Blood was slightly different. Lately I have had to endure many a series where a book ends on a cliffhanger that is so big it makes the jump from Mount Kilimanjaro look like a skip and a hop. I understand that writers use cliffhangers to keep the reader intrigued and to make a plot exciting. But people, have some pity!
And yes, the third book in this series will be out in less than a month*, not at all bad considering a few one and two year nail biting waits, but this makes me very apprehensive of future books. The abrupt ending to Flesh and Blood left me checking if my book came with all its pages… Kitt, I believe you said something similar, how did you feel about the ending?
Kitt: *Shakes head at Noa* Nuh uh uh! Oh, No you don’t! As to what you’re referring to – it wouldn’t be prudent for me to say exactly what I really said right after I found out that NO indeed, my copy was not in fact actually missing pages… BUT anywho… Oh Em Gee! That ending was HEINOUS! It’s also my second gripe about Flesh and Blood. I hate, hate, HATE cliffhangers already, but this is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. And to add even more OH NO YOU DIDN’T! for me with Flesh and Blood’s ending was that we were finally seeing some significant movement in Chrysabelle and Malkom. Suz says it best in that “cliff-hangers feel as though a contract has been broken.” When we buy a book, unless prior knowledge is given, we’re (mostly unconsciously) expecting a self-contained novel with a broader story arc for future installments, but when the story just STOPS, it always leaves me with a bad feeling of WTF?! It never makes me feel more eager for the next installment – it actually does quite the opposite. The only saving grace for this cliff-hanger, though is that Bad Blood will be releasing in less than a month on the 22nd. If it was next year, I may have waited until the series ending for fear of more abrupt incomplete editions.
Noa: I am still very much looking forward to Bad Blood and really hope that the problems from Flesh and Blood are simply part of second book syndrome – too much to introduce plot wise but not enough time to do so in first book. There is so much potential in this series – the characters are multi-faceted and interesting to read (I’m hoping Chrysabelle gets more ninja Comarre and less innocent damsel), there’s humor and the dialogue flowed for me – in spite of the many POVs (I don’t mind it and thought that Ms. Painter made the switches between POVs flawlessly) I can’t wait to get more Mal and find out if there is a solution to his curse… I just really hope the wonderful story introduced in Blood Rights doesn’t get left in the dust by the new plots introduced in Flesh and Blood. I still have faith in Ms. Painter and am anxiously awaiting November 22.
*Small postscript: I realize that now that the series has been extended to an additional 2-3 books we may not get the short gaps between publications – please, please, no abrupt cliffhangers?