Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire

This book is a slow burn. But it’s a slow burn worth the wait.

Vicki Keire clearly has a gift for language. She can turn a phrase like nobody’s business, giving her descriptions a lilting, poetic quality that’s telling of her background as a multi-degree student of literature. Of course, sometimes, I kind of skimmed them, cause they were kind of long. Does this make me a bad person?

Gifts of the Blood isn’t a book that’s brimming with tension and conflict. At least, not at first. The story has a meandering quality, lovingly and deliberately describing every aspect of Caspia’s life.

Oh, I guess I should take a second and explain what this book’s about right? Kay, so Caspia is a super-talented artist who has the nifty ability to draw the future. Her brother’s dying of cancer. One day, she draws a picture of a really hot dude. Then, she runs into the guy and like literally loses her grip on reality for several pages. He’s that hot, okay? Turns out, this guy is actually the guardian of her brother’s soul, and he’s just waiting around for her brother to die so he can spirit the soul away. Which would be fine and all, except for the fact that he’s sort of fallen hook, line, and sinker for Caspia. And when beings like him fall in love, they fall hard.

Quite a hook, right? Completely awesome premise. So, anyway, for a lot of the book, things are kind of moving slowly. But then, suddenly, in the last quarter of the book, Keire ramps up to tension to a fever pitch. I found myself sitting on my couch, huddled over my ereader, frantically pushing the button to flip pages. (Actually, my thumb is kind of sore.)

Coupled with that, there are some touches of pure genius. The town of Whitfield is a haunting setting, quite detailed, and lots of fun. The kind of place you know you want to go back to, like Hogwarts. Okay, yeah, that’s a good comparison. Whitfield equals Stars Hollow (from Gilmore Girls) meets Hogwarts. Sound cool? It is. Then there’s the whole mythology that Keire’s built up, which creates some unforgettable characters, like Asheroth, a being like Caspia’s main squeeze, who fell hard for a mortal who didn’t want him, leaving him a maddened husk, quite insane, but pitiful at the same time. And frightening? Ooh, boy. He’s a creepy one.

I can’t say too much more without giving important bits away, but I will say this. The ending? The ending effing rocks. So, what are you waiting for? Pop on over to Amazon and download this puppy. What were you planning on spending that dollar on anyway? Buy it. Here’s the link: