In Blood Storm (Random House Australia) Princess Zeraphina and Rodden, the King’s right-hand man, are both “harmings,” a kind of vampire who isn’t actually undead, but does need blood; it doesn’t have to be human and they make the most of small creatures such as rabbits and squirrels. But now beggars and other unlikely-to-be missed folk have been found drained of blood in the streets. Sailors and their ships are going missing.
In Blood Song, the previous book, Rodden and Zeraphina made their way north to Lharmell, home of the vampires, and stopped a mass Turning, killing the leader of the harmings. Back then, the harmings weren’t too bright, but now someone is actually planning. They have to be stopped, but Rodden’s kingdom has been refusing to believe anything is wrong and Zeraphina’s mother wants her to come home and get married. And they are both running short of yelbar, the stuff they need to tip their arrows if they’re going to kill the horrors up north…
This novel is better than the first. The universe is more developed and we learn why the south part of the continent is colder than the north, and it isn’t because Antarctica is nearby. We learn about Rodden’s past, which isn’t pretty.
Despite the pretty cover, Blood Storm is not a standard paranormal romance; it’s an action adventure with romance in it, although Zeraphina’s love for Rodden is an important part of her motivation. The heroine is not a Mary Sue, nor a Chosen One, and if she’s good with a bow and arrow, she has earned it with a lot of practice; any other abilities she has are the result of being a harming, if a special harming who has experimented. She also has a brain she is willing to use. ◊
Sue Bursztynski lives in Australia, where she works as a teacher-librarian. She has written several books for children and young adults, including Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly and, most recently, the YA novel Wolfborn. Her blog, The Great Raven, can be found at http://suebursztynski.blogspot.com.