Sunday, October 13, 2019

Book Review: Blood Debt by Nancy Straight

Published: July 15th, 2012
Publisher: self-published
Read from January 28 to February 5, 2018
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Her whole life, it had just been the two of them. Before her mother’s last breath, she gave Camille the information she had craved her entire life: the identity of her father. Daring to contact him, Camille was welcomed by an entire family she never knew existed. But nothing comes without a price, as she discovers when her family claims a legendary heritage tracing back to a centaur touched by Zeus.
As she learns the secrets of her Centaur bloodline, she is drawn into a forbidden love with Drake. Her life may be the blood debt required to pay for her mother’s transgressions. The same person who once held her mother captive, and forced her into decades of hiding, now controls Camille. Her only chance is to seek a piece of her mother’s past that will win her freedom and the life she desperately wants.


I was intrigued by this book because it's about centaurs. Books with centaurs front and center aren't common, at least that I've seen, and I had no idea what to expect. As far as I can tell, very little to none of the centaur lore in this book is from actual myth, as the centaurs in the book are nothing like what you think of when you think of centaurs. In fact, pretty quickly on, I figured it would be easier to just call the beings in the books something else because they aren't mythological centaurs in any sense of the word.

Just don't go into this book expecting to read about centaurs. They're beings entirely of the author's creation.

The writing in the book felt off to me. The main character Camille's emotions change frequently. She meets her father for the first time at the beginning of the book, and she very quickly fluctuates back-and-forth between thinking something is suspicious to being entirely at ease with her new family. It didn't make sense and left me unsure how I was supposed to feel about them as a reader.

There were also moments where the tense would suddenly change from past to present, which was disorienting.

The backstory of the centaurs should have been a lot more interesting than it was. We're told repeatedly that the centaurs are matriarchal. The head female of any given group is supposed to be in charge, but over and over again throughout the book, we see the men controlling everything while they're wives do absolutely nothing. It completely contradicted the matriarchal part of their culture and made it seem like they were lying about who actually controls their society. Something that could have been interesting if done well, but that, instead, felt like it was an idea that wasn't followed through on properly, which left the world building feeling shallow.

Part of Camille's backstory is that she grew up around murder and a lot of other crime, but that didn't feel genuine either. Nothing about her characterization or what happens to her throughout the book hints that she faced anything traumatic in her past.

There were a lot of other small things that irked me. Camille's blood apparently "calls" to Drake, which makes him struggle not to touch her. That felt very Twilight.

The sentence, "She's got the complexion of a Mayan goddess," was also in the book, and it's used to describe a white girl. I shouldn't have to elaborate on everything wrong with that sentence.

Overall, most of my problems with the book came down to shallow development of both the world and the characters. It was hard to be invested in the story when I was told things that were never actually shown. This book felt like it had potential that wasn't fleshed out enough.

No comments:

Post a Comment