Friday, 30 September 2016
Book Review: Darkly Dreaming by Chloe Hammond
Darkly Dreaming by Chloe Hammond
I went through a bit of a fad with Vampires in my early twenties and so a quick dip into another series of books about those on a blood based diet from new author Chloe Hammond(Who was kind enough to allow me an ARC) was a rather welcome little holiday.
When it comes to vampires it is always the mythology that keeps me coming back for more. It is the rules and parameters of their existence that always intrigues me the most and so I always pay particular attention to these elements of the stories. Where there is a firm foundation any number of twists and turns in the plot, are just seasonings to delight the palate. I approached this book with much joyous anticipation.
This is a quite an unusual book that at the start was a little bit more in the established style of Women’s fiction than paranormal , but this in of itself made the book a little different. The story settled into a style that it reads equally as well for fans of vampire fare and also as a book about the loyalty of true friends in the face of personal tragedy.
The focal point and hook here is that two best friends Layla and Rae are inflicted with the “Vampire problem” simultaneously and their reactions and adjustments to their predicament are juxtaposed with the inevitable shifting in their previous human relationship as they struggle with new abilities and needs . As they become part of a community hell bent on secrecy and the sacrosanct nature of keeping their place amongst normal humanity cloaked, their relationship must adapt and evolve.
Layla and Rae are Best friends who have dealt with and come out of, a period of self imposed estrangement after both were embroiled in unsuitable marriages. Brought together again as vital support systems after those marriages unravel, they were in a kind of coexistent bubble at the story's opening and so the evolution of their friendship itself is a nice counterpoint.
Personally I would have preferred just a tad more transition in their reactions between the infection and total acceptance of their new natures but that is purely subjective.
What of my precious Lore? Well there is much here to get my teeth into (So to speak!) The vampires in Chloe Hammond’s imaginings are not other worldly, undead or another species, they are a result of a virus that retro activates genetic history to exaggerate traits already within the genetic make up. All are longer leaner and much stronger that your average human, but as with any subspecies there are variations. Some are blessed with the kind of ethereal beauty we have come to accept as the norm with vampirism but others are twisted and gnarled from inner ugliness that was present in a person's character prior to turning.
These Vampires are stronger through their gifts and knowledge rather than it being age reliant which is a refreshing change. The two women attempt to refrain from the ingestion of Human blood and are able to survive on animal blood, something used to great effect by another rather popular series about vegetarian vampires, but more meaningfully applied and adapted here. There is a brutality to the action pieces on occasion but it is fitting to the plot and the peril at hand.
The High Council who police the Vampire communities do have a whiff of the Volturi about them, they are collectors of " gifts " and ancient overseers, but that is no bad thing as it is a very useful device to have the "monsters" being afraid of retribution from both Humans and their betters and Elders and their Genesis from ancient times to present day is just the kind of Lore I love.
The romantic entanglements are well realised and I particularly enjoyed the interactions between Rae and Guillaume which is a stuttering and reticent love affair that is not satisfying in the least and as such ALL the better for the fact at it is not tied up neatly in a pink heart bow and I am certain (or at least hopeful) that it will feature more heavily into future volumes of the series.
The plot clips along at a fair old pace but always maintains it's accessibility for people who might not necessarily be genre fans. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and think it is a worthy addition to my list of vampire series to watch out for. There are some editing issues that I will be passing onto the author, but overall an incredibly promising start and a really good opener to get the vampire fan in me sharpening her canines for another tasty bite in the next book.
A Solid Four Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️