With Lady Natasha’s reign ended and Helena, mother of the famous Drake siblings, due to be crowned queen vampire, tensions are high and an alliance between the clans must be reached if they stand any chance against common enemy, Montemarte and his army of Host. Still determined to have Helena’s daughter, Solange, as his wife and thus make him ruler of the clans, he’s significantly upped his game.
But negotiations aren’t going to be easy. Sent to represent the Hound clan, Isabeau St. Croix is holding a grudge of her own against the evil British Lord, Greyhaven, who turned Isabeau then left her buried in a coffin for over 200 years. Will her determination to seek revenge, along with her increasing affection for Logan Drake put everyone at risk? Then there’s the problem of the wild and untamed Hel-Blar clan who are multiplying at an alarming rate. Can the two clans put aside their differences and restore peace amongst the vampires?
I read the first instalment in The Drake Chronicles (My Love Lies Bleeding) a few months ago and while I liked it, I didn’t love it. The book focused on Solange (the only daughter in the ancient Drake family) one of her seven brothers Nick and her human best friend Lucy. I instantly loved the family dynasty and vampire history Alyxandra Harvey created amongst the Drakes and the other vampire clans, although found the sheer amount of characters a little confusing. Looking back after reading Blood Feud it’s clear that book 1 is the series setter, and in this second instalment things significantly improve.
This time, the story is told from the perspectives of Isabeau St Croix and Logan Drake with Solange, Nicholas and Lucy taking a backseat in minor roles. I have to say I wasn’t all that disappointed about this as contrary to other reviewers, I didn’t warm that much to Lucy at all (I found her quite annoying).
I loved Isabeau instantly. This girl has history, myth and magic seeping from her pores. She’s strong in a quiet, genteel and dignified kind of way too, having suffered extreme horrors during the French Revolution only to be cruelly turned into a vampire and buried (sort of) alive for 200 years. I really felt for her, and also respected her. Logan really developes as a character too throughout the book, starting out as a flirt who doesn’t really take himself seriously to a real hear tracing hero, both loyal and protective. The chemistry that builds between the two is intense and while I preferred reading from Isabeau’s perspective, I also didn’t mind hopping over to Logan’s and seeing her through his eyes.
Unlike the first book, which also splits between two narratives, in Blood feud Alyxandra Harvey takes the unusual step of also adding in a third person narrative detailing Isabeau’s life as a human during The French revolution. By far my favourite parts of the book, these sections moved this series from ‘like’ to ‘love’. Really, when Alyxandra Harvey finishes with the Drakes and Vamps, she should think about writing historical, I could have read a whole book of Isabeau’s experiences in this time. Harvey really brought to life the period and also had me squirming with horror at some gruesome guillotine scenes. They also really add to Isabeau’s character in the present and made her a fascinating character full of depth and added dimensions. In this book we also have magic, ancient ritual and witchcraft added in from the Hounds and their shamanka leader, Kala, which I absolutely adored and was right up my street.
As I mentioned earlier, the sheer number of characters, clans and allegiances made the first book a little hard to follow and while they become much clearer in this book, there were occasions when I did have to read back to remind myself about the clans. By the time I reached the end I did feel I have everything finally set up in my mind and look forward to discovering more about the tribes in future books. I’m not so keen on some of the snark between the more modern characters, to me it feels a little forced at times and I prefer the historical detail by far. I get the feeling this may just be me, as I know others who love these books because of the sarccy dialogue between the Drakes. What I really like about Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake chronicles is the depth, dynamics and history of the vampire world she’s created and the strong feisty female characters (yay for that!). Keeping her books relatively short at around 250 pages each, she avoids long, mundane and boring descriptive passages and the books are constantly exciting, fast moving and action packed. This is an excellent second book in which is fast becoming an amazing series. I’d certainly recommend vampire fans to give these ago and especially those looking for something a little different. I’m eagerly awaiting the third book, Out For Blood, due for release on the 1st November!
Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey is published in the UK by Bloomsbury 5th July 2010
Thanks to the Publishers for sending me this book for review.