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Monday, September 7, 2009

'The Turning' (Blood Ties #1) by Jennifer ARMINTROUT

Dr. Carrie Ames’s life is turned upside down when a John Doe corpse attacks her in the hospital morgue. Eight months later and she can’t deny the facts… she is nosferatu. A vampire.

Carrie tracks down an Occult bookstore owner and fellow vampire, Nathan, who is willing to guide her through the adjustments. But just as she starts to come to grips with her new undead life, John Doe (aka, her ‘sire’) decides they are soul mates and he wants her for himself. On top of that, Nathan is pushing Carrie to join the ‘Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement’ – a group of vamps who are trying to keep their numbers stagnate by not creating new vampires and who have a firm ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitude… as Nathan explains, she can either join the Movement, or the Movement will exterminate her.

I really enjoyed this book, despite the fact that it’s nothing new. Granted, the vampire genre is a little bit done to death (ha!) at this point and there’s really nothing here that sets Armintrout apart from the rest.

The plot isn’t even especially great. Fledgling vampire is torn between her humanity and growing bloodlust. And the struggle is made manifest in her interactions with bookstore owner Nathan, who urges her to join a league of vampires who defend the human race, and her maker Cyrus, who revels in her dark side. The story has been told, in one way or another, in a slew of similar Urban Fantasy books.

The character of Carrie is a little underdeveloped, but since there are 4 books in this series I can only assume that over the course of the series we will see her character grow. In ‘The Turning’ Carrie is really at a crossroads. Her parents died two years ago and she has only just completed her medical degree and intern rounds and started working in the E.R. This is despite the fact that she’s still unsure of her career choice – confused between her thrill in playing God and the academic pressure placed on her by her father growing up.

So, unoriginal plot and so-so female protagonist. Why did I like this book so much? Because of the stand-out characters who encapsulate good and evil, light and dark within the novel – Nathan and Cyrus.

Nathan was an unwilling victim of Cyrus’s father, who turned Nathan against his will and then forced him to commit a heinous act in the name of bloodlust. He is the quintessential tortured soul, a self-hating vampire. But his real originality is in the relationship he has with foster-son and blood donor, Ziggy – a runaway Nathan adopted at the age of 9 and has been father to ever since. It also helps that he’s Scottish and that an Alpha persona lurks beneath his tormented exterior.

Cyrus is a fantastically delicious bad-guy… but funnily enough, I occasionally found myself rooting for him in his endeavours to woo Carrie. It’s completely twisted, but despite being a thoroughly creepy villain, I couldn’t help but hope Carrie could tame his sadistic soul. In the second half of the book Carrie is forced to strike a deal with Cyrus that has her agreeing to live with him in his mansion, thus exposing herself to the drugging sire bond that distorts her feelings toward him. Consequently, as a reader you can’t help but feel the effects of Cyrus’s charm the same way Carrie does, to the point where you don’t know if you want him to remain the bad guy or turn it all around and become the unlikely love interest.

‘The Turning’ doesn’t offer anything particularly unique to the Urban Fantasy genre. It’s just a good story, well told, with a surprisingly twisted love triangle thrown in. Because of that wonderfully twisty triangle, I intend to continue with the ‘Blood Ties’ series, and recommend it as a worthwhile read.



  1. Danielle,

    I have read this entire series and some books were better reads than others. :) I am glad I stuck with it - because the series ending is a doozie. LOL

    Great review.


  2. So, do you think Cyrus is a redeemable villain that may steal Carrie's heart? I want to know what happens now! I await the review of the next one to see if this is worth getting ;)

  3. Carrie was not my favorite heroine, and I agree the plot was so-so, but something did keep me coming back and I enjoyed the series.


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