Friday, 30 September 2016

Book Review: Darkly Dreaming by Chloe Hammond



Darkly Dreaming  by Chloe Hammond

Fantasy Fiction

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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3 comments:

  1. I'm not so much a vampire fan (I do love DARK SHADOWS, but only because I just love Barnabas & Quentin & Dr Hoffman & Angelique & all... 😁)...

    But your review is so positive that it tempts me!!

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    1. I am pleased to be able to tempt you Mary!! LOL

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    2. I'm pleased she tempted you too Mary ;-) It's only 99p on Amazon at the moment. x
      Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkly-Dreaming-Book-Vampire-Trilogy/dp/1518834388/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1456321659&sr=8-1&keywords=darkly+dreaming

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