Monday, January 12, 2015

Blood Drive

Blood Drive by Jeanne C. Stein is the second book in the Anna Strong Chronicles, and picks up two months after Anna's becoming a vampire.  She's still picking up the pieces of her life after that night and especially after the way things went down with Avery, she's determined to maintain as much as possible some semblance of her human life - something that is becoming increasingly more difficult all the time, in ways she hadn't predicted.

In Blood Drive, however, things get even more complicated when the last girlfriend of her late brother shows up after more than ten years, claiming to need her help.  Anna didn't like Carolyn when she was dating her brother, and she doesn't trust her now, but the help she needs is with her daughter, Trish - Anna's niece.  Anna isn't as easily persuaded as her parents that her brother is the girl's father, but she agrees to help find her.  When a friend of Trish's turns up dead, however, and Anna begins uncovering evidence of the things Trish has been involved in, her protective instincts start kicking into overdrive and leaves open some very difficult questions:  Who can she trust?  Will she be able to reign in her rage enough to contain her newly acquired thirst for blood,  or will she lose her grip on what's left of her humanity?

So where The Becoming started off uncomfortable and open to disappointment, Blood Drive was never once short on action and intrigue.  Granted, there is also no shortage on potentially uncomfortable material, as the case in this book centers around sexual assault of a minor - so if that type of subject is any kind of a trigger for you, I'd suggest maybe avoiding this one.  If it's not, though, I recommend picking it up.  I like Anna MUCH better in this book than I did in the first, and I look forward to reading more of the series to see how her character continues to develop.  We also meet a new character of whom I hope to encounter much more in the next book - Daniel Frey.  His universal charm turned me off at first - after all, you know what they say about things that seem to good to be true, right?  But I grew to like him, especially toward the end.  Trish's character I just felt awful for through the entire book, for what I think are fairly obvious reasons, but she isn't what I would consider to be a weak or one-dimensional character - she isn't there just to be a victim.  She also has an absolute gem of a friend who I actually hope to see more of in future books as well, although I'm sure that isn't likely.

I enjoy the way Stein sticks to many of the more traditional vampire lore, but plays around with it a bit to make it her own.  For example, as a vampire, Anna cannot physically abide garlic and she casts no reflection in mirrors.  She is impossibly fast and strong, and she no longer eats food.  Vampires can still, however, drink regular beverages, and they still sleep.  They can go out in the daylight, as well, with no apparent ill effects, although they do have improved vision in the dark.

This is one of those books where something is going on through basically every moment, so I'm worried that I may give too much away, although some things were not altogether unpredictable.  The sex scenes here were few and relatively far between, and were very quick and to the point, which I appreciate in books that aren't of the romance genre.  I also appreciated that Stein wrote in sex scenes not just to toss in some smut, but because it had relevant points to bring out in the development of the story and of Anna's character.  I really enjoyed Blood Drive and I look forward to reading the next in the series.  


Ace Books

Series info: What came before this book? What's next?
Anna Strong Chronicles
- The Becoming (Book 1)
* Blood Drive (Book 2)
- The Watcher (Book 3)

See what others are saying about it, or buy it now:
Better World Books

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