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Saturday, June 4, 2011

'Blood Law' Blood Moon Rising #1 by Karin Tabke

From the BLURB:

The coming of the Blood Moon will lead two Lycan packs into war, spur two rival brothers into conflict, and spark an act of vengeance so evil that its effects will be felt for generations.
One woman stands at the centre of it all…

As undisputed Alpha, Rafael must choose a life mate to preserve the dominance of his Lycan pack. He never suspected, his mate would be a human, the same wounded, girl-woman he seduces from the brink of death. Falon is a dangerous combination of Lycan and Slayer—beings bred to destroy his kind. Even more, she’s a mesmerizing beauty whose sensuality tempts the seasoned warrior to take unnecessary risks. The primal heat between them is irresistible, yet surrendering to it could destroy them both…for a vengeful foe stands ready in the shadows to fulfill what is rightfully his by Blood Law.

Falon Corbet’s life is irrevocably changed when she stumbles across a murder-in-progress. Ever since she was a little girl, Falon has had feelings and premonitions that inevitably come true . . . so she can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for why she walked into that supermarket, knowing bad things would befall her entrance.

And as always, Falon was right. She was accosted by a bulldozer of a man, who was ranting and raving about Slayers and Lycans and claiming that Falon is ‘one of them’.

Then an Adonis-lookalike blustered his way onto the scene and all hell broke loose. Falon was near-death and failing fast when this golden-haired biker saved her life and insisted on keeping her prisoner in his Sierra compound.

But Falon has not been saved by a well-meaning citizen. His name is Rafael Vulkasin, and he is bad news. His mansion is populated with feral bikers who cavort in lusty abandon. He has his golden guard-dog watch over Falon like a hawk . . . and when his brother, Lucien, comes to stay, Falon realizes what sort of danger she is really in.

Lucien is a dark, menacing presence in the compound. He and Rafael circle one another like battering rams, and there is talk of Falon being offered to Lucien as a blood sacrifice . . .

Falon knows she has to escape, but Rafael has marked her somehow and she finds herself reluctant to leave his side, while terrified of what he and his brother have planned for her.

‘Blood Law’ is the first book in Karin Tabke’s paranormal erotica trilogy, ‘Blood Moon Rising’.

I was really excited for this book. Last year I read (and loved) Tabke’s medieval romance, ‘Master of Surrender’. So when I heard she was writing a paranormal erotica trilogy, I was over the moon and salivating at the prospect.

Sadly, I was disappointed by this much-anticipated book. It was a case of convolution, boredom, disbelief and frustration.

The ‘Blood Moon Rising’ trilogy is grounded in Lycan mythology, and a sibling battle to rival Cain and Abel. In Tabke’s universe, Lycans (‘werewolves’) origins are connected to a bitter and disfigured werewolf called Fenrir. This back-story is mired in Druid fairytale and self-fulfilling prophecy about Slayers who are the Lycan’s mortal enemies.

Fast-forward and two Lycan Alpha brothers, Rafael and Lucien, are carrying-out their own tragic destiny. Rafael arrives at his clan’s home to discover that his brother has taken a human mate – a Slayer, no less. Clouded by some sort of dark magic, Lucien cannot see that the woman he loves is out to destroy him, so Rafael kills her while she and Lucien are mid-coitus. Understandably, Lucien holds a grudge.

Present day sees Lucien quietly biding his time until Rafael takes his own mate . . . for then Lucien intends to exact Blood Law, and kills his brother’s mate just as Rafael killed his.

When Rafael stumbles across the human, Falon, he is intrigued as to why a Slayer would single her out for abuse. He is also oddly drawn to her . . . and thus, an idea forms. Rafael knows that Lucien is awaiting his vengeance. Meanwhile, because Rafael is reluctant to take a mate only to have Lucien kill her, the Lycan pack has been unable to mate or procreate (since they need to follow in their Alpha’s footsteps). As it is, a child has not been born into the pack for 14 years and their morale and numbers dwindle.

In Falon, Rafael sees the perfect escape-goat. He is drawn to her, but not in love with her. If he takes her as his mate, he is sure he will feel no remorse when Lucien inevitably slaughters her. She will literally be a sacrificial lamb . . . unless, of course, Rafael has a change of heart.

It’s a very convoluted plot – intertwined with Druid mythology, a brother’s vengeance and a mortal-enemy lurking in the shadows. By the time you get to Chapter Five you pretty much know everybody’s motivations, their pitfalls and can spot the curve-balls a mile away.

Despite guessing where the plot was going, and predicting character’s motivations, I was surprised by how little I believed character reactions.

Falon was my biggest road-block. She has recently been attacked, near-death and now finds herself kidnapped by a hulking biker boy. Apart from the initial struggle and fright, she actually takes the whole situation pretty calmly. Sure, people are having mass orgies all around her and she finds herself somewhat aroused by a golden wolf – but hey!, it’s all good! Tabke reasons a lot of Falon’s lack-of-freaked-out by saying she is thoroughly turned-on by Rafael. Even when Falon discovers Rafael’s plan to offer her to his brother as a murder-sacrifice, she doesn’t really try very hard to escape or scream the place down. And pretty soon she’s offering to help the Lycan gang out in a hunt for a missing girl.

I also guessed that Rafael’s plan to sacrifice Falon wouldn’t go smoothly because his own heart would get in the way. This curveball was a given. So it’s a shame that Tabke didn’t take more time to legitimately throw these two together and create some sparks. All of their attraction can be attested to the pull of the mate bond, as opposed to genuine chemistry.

His gaze locked for a long, silent moment with Falon’s. He knew she was special, so special Salene wanted her. So special, Rafael, an alpha, had marked her, a human, before he knew her. So special she could jump high fences, read people’s minds, and sniff out a Slayer among a pack of Lycans. So special she could disarm an alpha as powerful as his brother with glare. Sacrificing her for the sake of the Blood Law was not going to be easy. And it would be a sacrifice.
Despite his hard heart, in just a few days, she had wormed her way under his skin.

Despite all these pitfalls, I still persevered with this book because the big draw-card for me was the brother dynamic. Rafael and Lucien. Lucien and Rafael. There’s so much Biblical promise in the rivalry of these two that I couldn’t help but hope their feud would save the story . . . sadly, no.

Lucien could have been the bad-boy stand-out. The ‘so-wrong-they’re-right’ sexy villain. Unfortunately he’s more of a cardboard cut-out nemesis. All dark and brooding, malevolent and predictable. I hoped he would at least have palpable chemistry with Falon, to create a lusty love triangle . . . but their interactions left me cold too.

‘Blood Law’ is the first book in a trilogy – so be warned that there is a cliff-hanger ending. Whereas many readers are complaining about this abrupt end, I am actually a little bit pleased by it . . . because it almost saves the trilogy for me. The book ends on a promising note – with a hint that the next book in the series will focus more on the Rafael/Falon/Lucien triangle in a way that ‘Blood Law’ abysmally failed to. ‘Blood Right’ is the second book in the ‘Blood Moon Rising’ trilogy, and is currently scheduled for a February 2012 release.

I was so looking forward to ‘Blood Law’, but found myself bitterly disappointed. I loved Tabke’s previous romance foray, and thought her writing a paranormal erotica would be a slam-dunk. Perhaps I counted my eggs before they hatched and raised the bar too high . . . but for me, ‘Blood Law’ was a convoluted, twisted and unsexy read. I only have hopes for the second instalment, considering the interesting end-note of this first book.

1.5/5

Book #2 - February 2012

4 comments:

  1. Oh, too bad... the blurb looks like it would be a great read. I hate when it doesn't work out like that!

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  2. I just finished it too, I pretty much felt the same it wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it, but it got kind of boring half way through. Nice cliffhanger ending though.

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  3. @ Lesley - yeah, very boring (and such a shame, because the cover ticks all the right boxes!). But that cliffhanger was just what I needed to draw me in for the second instalment...

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  4. awww so sad it disappointed you so! But good to know the cliff hanger draws you in... will keep an eye out for your review of book 2 LOL

    Love the first cover and the second one is amazing!

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