Rating (out of 5): 2 stars
Ed. note: This review does contain spoilers, but they are hidden with white text. You will need to highlight the page to read any spoiler content.
Jocelyn Levi is a government agent visiting the Rocky Mountains investigating cult activity. Instead she discovers vampires exist, and she’s destined to be the eternal mate to the one she met just hours ago.
Blood Destiny features two types of vampires, spawned from brothers. One line have souls, but still drink blood and work to balance light and dark. The other line are soulless and murder ruthlessly. Both sides are subject to a Blood Curse. As part of it, each “good” vampire is destined for one human woman in his lifetime. If she does not accept him, his life will be forfeit. This just happened to Nathaniel’s brother. They buried him the day he met Jocelyn, his destiny.
He needs to convince this woman, who he has just met, that they’re soulmates. And that she needs to accept him, love him (oh, and have his kids) in the next 30 days. For his part, Nathaniel seems to understand how insane it is to ask so much of Jocelyn. He wouldn’t force her, but he will do his damnedest to connect with her. The gods have destined them to be together, so he knows once she gives him a chance it’ll work.
Unfortunately, there are added complications with the soulless vampires killing his kind, werewolves arriving to hunt all vampires (and seek to claim Jocelyn, to boot) and the drama of a family of vampires. Nathaniel and Jocelyn’s relationship is reluctant, but definitely unique.
It took me a bit to decide which way to go on this review. Tessa Dawn can write. I like that she crafted a unique vampire mythology. And, I got wrapped up in the main plotline of the story. So, what is my problem? Well, I have two, actually.
First, I’m not one to place boundaries on where fiction can go. If a character’s history or development requires painful, traumatic experiences, I get that. Blood Destiny includes one fairly detailed rape scene and a second attempted rape featuring other characters. Neither are used for titillation, but I’m not sure one was necessary and both could have been done “off camera.” I don’t need the what-goes-where details, especially without the emotional ties that go with it.
My second beef is the big one, and it’s going to require some spoiler-action because it’s about an overall character development. It’s written in white text, so highlight the blank space on the page if you want to read the spoiler content. The big part of the Blood Curse mythology that the novel is pegged surrounds the light or good vampires to bond, mate and have children with their destined human woman within 30 days following the blood moon. There is no question as to who their mate is — she’ll have their celestial sign marked on her wrist, etc. Provided all goes to plan, she’ll fall in love, agree to be the vampire’s one and only forever, be converted to a vampire, get pregnant and bear twins. One of those twins will be light (good) and the other dark (bad/soulless). Immediately thereafter, they are required to sacrifice the dark twin to appease the gods. He’ll just disappear, but they must hand the child off. When told this, no one in the story seems to think sacrificing a child is a big deal. Being destined and expected to be with this one guy bothers Jocelyn, but even when she’s pregnant and her twin boys are kicking in her womb she’s not freaking about the fact they’re going to essentially kill her child. I kept hoping that she’d be special and they’d let her keep both boys.
She does have the maternal “I need to keep him” moment right after his birth, but then the baby is passed off and she decides the innocent child must have messed with her mind. I don’t believe any woman could so readily accept the sacrifice of her child. You die for them. You put up a fight. And the fact that no one in the novel even really considers it as an odd or, you know, horrendous act killed the character development for me.
The overall concept of Blood Destiny is certainly intriguing and the prose well-crafted, the over-indulgence in sexual violence and oversight of character reaction to a major event took away from real enjoyment of the novel. This is one where if I were an editor, I would have cut back on a few scenes and had Dawn take a hard look at the characters’ reactions to all the Blood Curse mythology elements. With hard edits, the premise could have lead to something strong that wouldn’t leave readers feeling a bit itchy. As it is, I can’t suggest others pick it up.
Sexual content: Sex, rape (graphic, but is not for titillation) …definitely only for adults (see notes in actual review)
Readers: I definitely welcome your feedback on this one. In regards to rape in fiction, I highly suggest reading Paul Goat Allen’s great post “Rape in Fantasy Fiction: A Narrative Necessity, A Thematic Taboo or Just Plain Bad Taste?”