Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Blood Review

New Blood by Gail Dayton

Even with the upsurge in interest recently, it's still relatively difficult to find dead tree books of steampunk erotica and romance. The Blood series started in 2009 with this book, New Blood. Fans of erotica and erotic romance beware, though: while there is lots of tension between our heroes in this book, there are only two sex scenes, one of which is very traditional.

The setting is the Victorian era, but with lots of interesting changes. Magic is known and prevalent worldwide, although some countries are more tolerant of it than others. There are four schools of magic: alchemy, wizardry, conjuring, and the long-lost sorcery, or blood magic. Blood magic being practiced almost solely by women, it was systematically wiped out during the Renaissance, with the death of the last known sorcerer, Yvaine.

We follow Amanusa, Yvaine's successor in magic. She's found by Yvaine's blood servant, Jax, and he must convince her to become a blood sorcerer and use her power to help save Europe from a mysterious magic plague.

I was excited about the relationship between Amanusa and Jax at the beginning. It looked like, even though they were falling in love, Jax would be content to be her servant, and Amanusa would be happy to have him as her possession and servant, as well as lover. Perhaps I'm just exposing my biases. Dayton does not takes this route; rather, she opts for a more conventional romantic plot, which I can't be mad at her for since this is romantic fantasy. It was heartening that Jax is not the typical alpha male, and that their growing love is actually believable.

The world of New Blood is rich, if a little under-utilized. Magic and the Victorian era seem made for each other. The prim propriety of proper English society blends well with the ritualistic and hierarchical magic society. As a Victorian magical romance, it delivers, and is a quick and absorbing read.

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