Friday, 20 April 2018

REVIEW - RISEN - BLOOD ETERNAL BY COLE GIBSEN

Title: Risen
Series: Blood Eternal
Author: Cole Gibsen
Genre: Sci-Fi, Teen, YA
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 27th March 2018

BLURB from Goodreads
Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…

My aunt has been kidnapped by vampires, and it’s up to me to save her. Only…I had no idea vampires existed. None. Nada. I’m more of a reader than a fighter, and even though I’d been wishing to escape my boring existence in the middle of nowhere, I’d give anything to have it back now if it meant my aunt was safe. 

Then there’s the vampire Sebastian, who seems slightly nicer than most of the bloodsuckers I’ve run into so far. Yes, he’s the hottest being I’ve ever come across, but there’s no way I can trust him. He swears he’s helping me get answers, but there’s more to his story. Now I’m a key pawn in a raging vampire war, and I need to pick the right ally.

But my chances of surviving this war are slim at best, when the side I choose might be the one that wants me dead the most.


PURCHASE LINKS

REVIEW
The cover initially attracted me to this book and then when I read the blurb, I realised that I couldn't remember the last time I had read a vampire themed book, so this book was the perfect choice. That and the fact the publishers were Entangled Teen made me give the book a closer look.

As I said the cover was what initially attracted me to the book. The sky in the background of the cover is a murky, turbulent, stormy one. The ground is covered in what I would call autumnal coloured leaves. The main object on the cover is a tree, with its branches and remaining leaves in a heart shape. Most people who read my reviews will probably know by now that I love a good byline. The byline featured towards the bottom of this cover is "From Death Comes Life". . . .quite mysterious, whose death? what life? is this byline about a human about to be tuned into a vampire? Or maybe a vampire that has been turned recently? The only down point about the byline is the font style and its placement could mean a few people miss it. I think it could stand out a little more.

The genres I have seen listed are Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Teens & YA which all fit the book well. I definitely think this book is aimed at the younger to mid teen audience, though I did enjoy reading it myself.

The one thing that made me doubt reading this book was this phrase from within the blurb "Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…" So many books compare themselves to both the Vampire Diaries and Twilight which in my opinion isn't always a good thing. It's kind of a "pet hate" for me. I would have probably just overlooked this book is the rest of the blurb hadn't piqued my interest and the fact the publishers were Entangled Teen who have published many fantastic books. After reading this book I honestly wouldn't compare it to either book mentioned. Maybe whoever decides on using the phrase thinks it will attract more readers, personally it tends to put me off.

The book starts with the main character, Charlize walking her dog Jax wishing something exciting would happen. Charlize or Charlie as most people call her, is bored living in the middle of no-where with her Aunt Rachel. There's no telephones, landline or mobile, or internet etc so Charlie helps her rather hippie Aunt make soap and other craft items to sell. In her spare time Charlie either reads or spends time taking long walks with her German shepherd dog, Jax. Her Aunt always warns her not to stray too far away from the cabin they live in. Charlie does have an ulterior motive for all those long walks with the dog as she has bought herself a mobile phone, which under normal circumstances would have come in handy when two men appear insisting they are taking her Aunt away with them. Her Aunt tells her phoning the police will not help and she stresses to Charlie that under no circumstances at all should she try to run! Charlie is totally shocked by what her Aunt Rachel tells her but does her best to listen to her. Aunt Rachel is taken away by the first two men that had entered the cabin, leaving Charlie behind to be "taken care of" or rather "disposed of" by Sebastian.

So Charlie had managed not to make a run for it whilst the men were holding her Aunt Rachel in the cabin with her but now there was only herself to think about what did she have to lose? So when Charlie finds herself left with a third young man called Sebastian she thinks she should attempt to get away and perhaps find Jax who has been scared away. Sebastian catches up with Charlie easily and warns her not to run or scream as it triggers his blood lust. Charlie has difficulty accepting the existence of vampires but she needs to learn how to survive around them fast!
Sebastian offers to take Charlie to Matteo, King of the Anima who will help her get her Aunt Rachel back. Charlie immediately agrees, as she will do anything to rescue her Aunt. 

There are three types of vampires, Corpus, Mentis and Anima. The Corpus are the most cruel and even feed on their own kin, their gift is to blend into the shadows. The Mentis are kind of middle of the road vampires in that they feed but keep humans in what they call a farm to feed off. The gift the Mentis have is to be able to charm and mind control anyone who looks into their eyes. The final type of vampires are the Anima, these feed on animals and humans. They protect humans and want everyone to know about them and to find a way to live in peace.

Of course there's lots more going on in the book such as why a Mentis like Sebastian cannot remember his life before becoming a vampire. Then there's the rescue plan to be made to retrieve Aunt Rachel from the Mentis clan. Another mystery is where Matteo and Aunt Rachel's off-spring are. I could go on and on about the book. I did enjoy reading it though it ended on quite a cliffhanger situation as we hadn't found the answers for the questions raised by the book. Having said that this is book one in the Blood Eternal series so I would say it was a good thing to leave the first book with some unanswered questions as it keeps you eager for the next book.

I liked Charlie, how her immediate thoughts when her Aunt Rachel is stolen away from her is how can I get her back. I think her Aunt Rachel has underestimated her "niece" and she maybe should have explained the reason they are living so remotely. Aunt Rachel could have prepared Charlie how to react if she was taken from her. Though even by the end of the book Aunt Rachel nor anyone else has really explained to Charlie who/what she is and revealed her true parentage and the power/gift she has deep within herself. 

I really loved the character of Sebastian, his unknown past from before he was made a vampire by the Mentis Clan. The fact Sebastian wants to help Charlie even before he realises she has a power/gift that allows him to see glimpses of his "before" life. Sebastian knows that when he is returned to the Mentis he will suffer for helping Charlie. The Mentis Queen will see to it that he suffers pain for what she will see as a betrayal. There is an instant attraction between Sebastian and Charlie but can it ever work? A vampire, human relationship. . . though we don't actually know what/who Charlie really is!

King Matteo of the Anima is portrayed as a good guy though how long that view will last when the war between the vampires really begins is left unrevealed. It's clear to see that Matteo cares for the lives of humans. He instantly begins planning Aunt Rachel's rescue. It is also revealed that rather than use humans just for blood and disregard or even kill any that are no longer of any use like the other vampire clans of Corpus and Mentis. King Matteo and the Anima Clan willing give blood to any human it can help. In fact we witness one such human when Charlie is helping to make soap who tells her that he had a terminal illness but was cured by vampire blood.

My immediate thoughts were that I enjoyed reading this book, hope this is the beginning of a potentially great series as I would like to read more about Charlie & Sebastian. Especially wanting to know what Charlie is, as well as learning more about Matteo & Aunt Rachel's relationship.

So I did enjoy reading the book but kind of finished feeling like I had wanted a few more definite answers within this book to the questions I had. I will have to be a little more patient and hope to find the answers in the next book. There seemed to be so much going on that could have perhaps been explored more deeply such as why were the Mentis draining blood from the humans and experienting on them? What were the experiments for? Why drain a human until you kill them when you could take blood little and often, more like the Anima Clan and have a plentiful supply of blood given willingly? I think I would have liked to know a little more about each clan, specifically the Anima and Mentis ones.

Also at around 80% of the way through the book it ends and the remainder of the book is labelled "bonus content" and is from Sebastian's point of view, which was mostly, basically what we had read at the beginning of the book from Charlie's view. The section from Sebastian's outlook was interesting when we got little hints and perhaps more detail of things that had happened to Sebastian in the Mentis Clan that lead up to him being trusted and tested at the same time on the retrieval of Aunt Rachel and the clear up and search for information. I would have rather had that inserted within the main part of the book somehow. I just felt a little disappointed with the section from Sebastian's point of view as it didn't reveal anything different enough to what we had already read. Saying all that I would like to read the next book in the series, and I would say that this book is perfect for the Teen/YA target audience that it is aimed at.

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