Reading Level: Adult
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Blud series
Source: Swapped through Paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
Previous to this book I had read Dawson’s YA book Servants of the Storm and really enjoyed it a lot. This is the first book in Dawson’s Blud series and is the first of three books in this series. It was a well done steampunk romance with gothic overtones.
Tish is a nurse recovering from a bad relationship with an abusive and domineering boyfriend. Then one day at an estate sale she is drawn to a strange locket; little does she know when she opens it she will be answering the call of the bludman Criminy Stain in the land of Sang. In Sang there are people like Tish, called Pinkies, and Bludmen (who live off of blood but really aren’t anything like your traditional vampire). They have trouble coexisting and Tish and Criminy are drawn into their politics. Additionally when Tish’s locket gets stolen she loses her only way back home to her old life, she is determined to get the locket back.
There was a lot I really loved about this book. I loved the idea of the world of Sang, where everything has gone a bit wrong and many creatures live off of blood. Nothing is what it seems in Sang and it reminded me of a very dark and twisted Wonderland of sorts.
I also really loved Criminy as a character; he runs a circus in Sang and is a bit creepy. At the same time his ideals, the respect with which he treats Tish, and his general swooniness are very fun to read about. He is a wonderful lead man for this book and just perfect.
Tish was an excellent heroine as well. As a nurse she has a very nurturing side, but in Sang she gets to explore a more mystical side to herself. I thought it was interesting how she was kind of living two lives throughout the book and working to make everything work out for her.
This book is primarily a romance with a lot of steampunk elements. However, the world-building was amazing as well and there is an excellent story to go with the romance. Tish and Criminy have great chemistry together; however I wish some of the scenes between them were a bit more just…well-written. There were scenes in this book that could have been absolutely engrossing but they ended up being just good because of how they were written.
The book ties up in a way that is realistic and interesting, but not exactly the type of happy ending I was hoping for. It does match the dark and gothic tone of the book well though.
Overall I enjoyed this book and will most likely read the rest of the series. I loved the world-building here and really loved the world of Sang. I also enjoy Tish and Criminy as characters. The book is well written and engaging. This book will remind readers of a lot of other steampunk romances out there; although this book has a bit more of fantasy element to it. If you enjoy Calihan’s Darkest London series or McMaster’s London Steampunk series I think you would enjoy this book as well.