Series: House of Comarre #1
Published: 2011 by Orbit
Genres: Fantasy, Horror/Gothic, Urban Fantasy
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Blood Rights by Kristen Painter is set in a futuristic world filled with vampires. Chrysabelle is a Comarre, or, as the vampires call them, a blood whore. Think of a skillful courtesan or geisha, trained to entertain with grace, but also bred and raised in such a way as to have the tastiest blood imaginable. There isn’t usually sex involved, because that’s not what vampires are interested in. They’d rather just drink their blood. Purchasing the services of a Comarre is very expensive, and they’re something of a status symbol among the vampire nobility. And what does the Comarre get out of it, you wonder? Wealth and eternal youth. A vampire’s saliva contains properties that halt the normal aging process. Chrysabelle looks young and sexy, but she’s actually 115 years old.
Chrysabelle’s patron is the head of the Tepes clan. He’s one of the most powerful vampires around …until he turns up dead. The problem? Everybody thinks that Chrysabelle did it, which has earned her some powerful enemies. She just wants to clear her name. However, Chrysabelle’s patron had in an ancient powerful ring, which ended up in Chrysabelle’s possession. A power-hungry and demented vampire named Tatiana will stop at nothing to get her hands on it, and will use its power for her own gain. She wants to get her hands on the ring, and she wants to kill Chrysabelle in the process.
Chrysabelle ends up in the company of an outcast vampire named Malkom. Mal is more like your typical angsty vampire. He’s under a curse which causes him to hear the voices of every person he’s ever killed. He’s haunted by a ghost. His life has been filled with pain and suffering, and he’s currently spending his days moping around and feeling sorry for himself. He and Chrysabelle become unlikely allies, and of course romance ensues. It’s very much the I-hate-you-but-I-think-I-like-you kind of romance that reminds me of something you’d find in an anime, and even though at times I wished they’d just get it over with and confess their feelings, it was also amusing to watch them be all awkward with each other.
The worldbuilding in Blood Rights was fantastic. Even though vampires stories have been written countless times, Kristen Painter stands out from the crowd. The world of the Comarre and the vampire nobility was fascinating. The fact that it was set in the not-so-distant future also gave it a nice touch, allowing it to be a little more technological, but within the realm of what’s conceivable based on our world today.
My only wish was that Tatiana could be a bit more interesting. I mean, she’s evil and she’s crazy, but she’s also a bit flat. And even though there’s a neat explanation as to why and how she’s so evil and crazy, I wanted more depth. I wanted to feel a glimmer of empathy for her, I suppose.
I impulse-bought Blood Rights ages ago when it was on sale as a Kindle monthly deal without knowing anything about it other than the fact that it was about vampires. I loved the cover and just had to know what the book was about. It did not disappoint, and I’ve already ordered the next few books in the series in hard copy so I can stare at the pretty artwork. Muahaha.