Blood Born

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

As far as the story goes, it does a solid job of retelling Bram Stoker's Dracula, adapting to fit the mould of a younger audience as well. But the biggest problem here is the characterization. Unfortunately, these characters are just so unlikeable. Jo is the worst girlfriend in the world, she treats Maddie like a child, undermining everything about her. So when Maddie breaks up with her, it was almost predictable, and completely within reason. In fact, the most likable character is the supposed villain in the story whereas all the other characters, just fall through the cracks. They just aren't personable, and come off as jerks for the most part.

Now, as far as the story goes, it's an interesting adaptation while also bringing in some new twists and turns to keep the story interesting. The history of Dulcara is also interesting, and the fact that her history is brought to life in the novel as a book is both interesting and unique. it leaves some questions unanswered at the end.

It takes the highlights of Stoker's classic work and adapts it well young for a younger audience, however, the characterization is lacklustre.
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My first book by this author and yes the similarities to Stoker's Dracula are very clear.
However, Dracula is more difficult to read. This book provides an easy, edgy read for any fan of the supernatural. Great Halloween book to get you into the scary spirit.

Some of the dialogues were slightly irritating as they made the characters seem much younger then they were. The relationship between Jo and Maddie was clearly flowed right from the start, but it was Maddie that was made to look like the bad one here?

I wish the author diverted from the classic Dracula story and gave it a new sense of life, the story-line was just a little too predictable.
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Blood Born is a good retelling that suffers from very poor characterization.

As far as the story goes, it does a solid job of retelling Bram Stoker's Dracula, adapting to fit the mold of a younger audience as well. But the biggest problem here is the characterization. Unfortunately, these characters are just so unlikeable. Jo is the worst girlfriend in the world, she treats Maddie like a child, undermining everything about her. So when Maddie breaks up with her, it was almost predictable, and completely within reason. In fact, the most likable character is the supposed villain in the story whereas all the other characters, they just fall through the cracks. They just aren't personable, and come off as jerks for the most part.

Now, as far as the story goes, it's an interesting adaptation while also bringing in some new twists and turns to keep the story interesting. The history of Dulcara is also interesting, and the fact that her history is brought to life in the novel as a book is both interesting and unique. it leaves some questions unanswered at the end.

It takes the highlights of Stoker's classic work and adapts it well young for a younger audience, however, the characterization is lackluster.
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I really wanted to love this book. An LGBTQIA+ retelling of Dracula? Sounds awesome. In reality? Well, for the most part the characters were a bit overkill (no pun intended) one-dimensional and there were quite a few times I wanted to slap several of the characters in the face because of their stupidity. There were also uneven character development, if at all, and the writing style was a bit too bland, flat and boring. And don't even get me started on the love triangle between Jo, Maggie and Valora (even though it to a certain extent mimicks the original novel, though Mina knew all along Dracula was the bad guy and she wasn't into him at all).

Now, I might add that I did actually like the genderbending and the LGBTQIA+ theme (especially being bi and getting comments about being indecisive). In addition, if one has read the original, Bram Stoker's Dracula, one can notice certain familiarity when it comes to some of the characters, as well as scenes and story-line. Oddly enough, I also liked Valora Dulcara a bit, even if she had some crappy character traits.
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Young adult fiction is a genre that is primarily written for those between the ages of 12 and 18 (even if us adults enjoy the genre as much as they do). 

 Now, I could talk about the poor writing style or uneven character development, but the real problem for me? A threesome being a part of the storyline. I've seen a lot of extreme content in YA, but this is one I can't condone.
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Blood Born was hard to get into since the beginning. I tried very hard to like this book, but by the 15th chapter, I couldn’t try anymore. The characters are tired, the interactions are forced and sometimes the scenes are so limp I had to pause for several hours to get over exasperation. The writing was… difficult to read- too vague in some parts and to in-depth in others. For example, Maddie would focus too much on thinking about her appearance but details such as location and other characters descriptions/emotions escaped the author. I appreciate Renee Lake's use of several viewpoints to provide plot depth and variety but, for me, that wasn’t enough to save this book. The idea and summary are very entertaining but unfortunately, the novel failed to deliver. The overall story gets 2 stars from me- I would only recommend for an amateur LGBTQ YA audience.
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Blood Born is a modern-day retelling of Dracula by Renee Lake.
It centres around College freshman Maddie.
Maddie is excited about the new adventures college life will bring. She dreams of rallies, weird roommates and exciting courses of study. She's living with her girlfriend and making new interesting friends while watching out for her terminally ill brother. What she doesn't expect is mystery, tragedy, and heartbreak to befall her within the first semester. Is there a monster preying upon the people at her college? Will she betray her friends and succumb to temptation? Can they band together and fight the darkness? Or is the darkness that surrounds her not the enemy...but her only ally?
The story of Dracula has been retold to death (pun not intended), but the premise of the book had us really interested in reading it. You don't have to have read the original Dracula to read this book. The author pays homage to the original novel a lot,  Dracula you will know what we mean.  For us,  it all helped us to enjoy the story even more.
While we loved the plot, we sometimes struggled with the authors writing style, it made certain parts of the story feel a little flat and it caused the story to lose momentum.
Overall Blood Born is a  dramatic, dark and a gripping read.  The way the author uses devices like social media and diary entries etc, really add depth and layer to the characters, immersing you more in the story.
If you like Vampires, Supernatural and Romance then this a book you have to read!
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From the description the book sounded very interesting, but it fell a little flat for me. I didn't really like any of the characters and they felt kind of childish. I just couldn't get into it.
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Caution, mild spoilers ahead.

A 2*

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions included in this review are my own and are in no way affected by the exchange.

I have a big problem with this book. 

I wanted to read something in a horror genre and, even though it was stated that it is for teens and YA, I didn’t mind if it would be milder than a horror book for a more grown-up population.

What I did mind was that it had simple writing wrapping a childish story with shallow characters that didn’t have any background or a major development in the story. But in midst of all this, there are scenes of sex, murder, and violence, far from appropriate in a book for teens and YA.

I think this book was labeled badly in its genre, and it should be more of paranormal or erotica. The thing though, that even then, the characters would be too dull, the story too simple and predictable. There was no real love-story, only a new try at this phenomenon in modern literature known as instalove and, on top of it, with the older one in the couple treating the younger one as property.

If you can close your eyes on all this for a moment, or more like the whole book, there is an interesting world hidden, with another dive into vampire culture. Some of the things are old and known from classics like Dracula, others are new and surprising. 

I love when the author is not scared to kill a character or a few, even if it is a teen & YA novel. But for a horror genre, there was not enough of any kind of scary thing happening to install the feeling of fear or horror.

All in all, it is a new look on already known world, that is charming, addicting, but hard to see through all the bad writing and the world that is not developed enough.
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This sounded like it would be an interesting story, but it fell flat for me. I wasn't invested in the characters at all and found them too boring and one dimensional. Not my kind of read.
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Unfortunately this book just wasn’t very good, it sounded so interesting but it just fails to deliver. The writing needs a lot of work, so I really struggled reading it, the characters were two dimensional, just not for me.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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1.5 ☆
ARC received from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All of my opinions are my own, and are in no way affected by the exchange. 

I had a rocky time with this from the first sentence. The premise sounded interesting. It's a modern day LGBT retelling of Dracula in the most literal sense. My biggest issue with this book was the writing. It was terrible. Like really really bad. It read like a bad fanfic or an author's debut but like if they were in high school. There was several internal monologues that didnt make any sense. Like when was the last time you started at yourself in a mirror and talked about every single physical feature you have to your self? (Ie. "I looked at my mid length brown hair with my brown eyes and turned to the side to admonish the face that I am very pale and not at all the same shape or color as my family", ect.) I can promise you that that is not something you have done. 

There were several instances in which I was completely baffled by the exchanges made between the characters, as well as several points in time where scenes didnt line up at all. One scene was between Maddie and the "Dracula" character. They are standing in a room talking and LITERALLY the next line is how they're making out??? Like when did that happen??????? Then that is followed up with Maddie having rug burn on her back. So like yall had sex in the span of 3 sentences? In the same paragraph???? 

Beyond the poor/juvenile writing, I hated LITERARILY every single character in this. They were all VERY bland and interchangeable. And also just awful people?? 

The only part I liked from the story was the concept/very loose plot. I think it could be awesome if done differently.
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DNF
I never like not finishing a book but sadly I just didn't get on with Blood Born.
I am a big fan of YA but I felt too old for the language and dialogue despite it tackling some dark themes.
Perhaps when I was younger I may have enjoyed it more but I felt this book was young language with an adult theme.
Apologies to the author and publicist but sadly I will have to DNF at 35%.
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This is a book that a younger version of myself would have really enjoyed and gone back to over again. While a very different story it gave me the same feeling that I liked when watching early seasons of The Vampire Diaries: darkish, broody, stylish, melancholy and dramatic in a way that only works in one’s late teens. . .  It’s taking something very familiar and often over done (Dracula/vampires) and making it something just new enough that you want to rediscover it. This has the right blend of wish fulfillment and angst to connect well with it’s intended Y/A audience. It also rides nicely the literary zeitgeist of unlikeable female. If you’re looking for a sparkly, romantic, Twilight style vampire book this is not for you. If you’re looking for something edgy and a bit darker with some teeth for that same teen group this is the way to go.
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This book is aimed at a New Adult audience, which is obvious from the start, as the book opens with snippets of social media messaging between the main characters. It felt a bit gimmicky to me, but then I’m old and not the target audience, however, it did show communications between the characters and as such were part of the story and introduced the main characters.

The story was about a group of young women who roomed together at university. They were living in a big beautiful house that was filled with history. Two of the women with rooms were Jo and Maddie who became girlfriends in High School. Maddie’s twin brother, Lucca was also starting at the university but was staying in a dorm.  Maddie is a touch idealistic and is a passionate women’s rights activist. Jo is much more intellectual and plans to be a lawyer and work with her father on graduation. They spent the summer apart and this has exposed a few cracks in their relationship, even though both still love the other.

They find out that a professor of Jo’s actually owns half the town as well as the house they are renting. She is originally from Romania and oozes sex appeal, power and mystery. When Jo and Lucca start working at her mansion on a cataloguing project, Jo begins to be very wary of Valora and her strange interns. At the same time Maddie becomes captivated by her, meeting randomly and spending time together without Jo’s knowledge.

Jo and Maddie’s room mates are also very wary of Valora, Queenie in particular is frightened of her and states her uncle believes Valora to be very dangerous indeed. It becomes obvious, as the book progresses, that though Queenie’s uncle may be right, he is quite a dangerous man himself.

The reason I gave this book 3 stars is because whilst the book is incredibly plot driven, there is a distinct weakness in the characters.  It felt like the author had no sympathy for anyone, so the telling of the story was cold and distant. I couldn’t relate to any of the characters and it isn’t just because I’m old because I have read plenty of NA books where I find the characters sympathetic and remind me of myself at that age. Sadly none of these characters had depth, they were all self absorbed and shallow.  Blood Born is definitely a plot focused story rather than one that is character driven.

This book felt like a ghost story told round the campfire like Queenie’s when she told them about the monster who protected a castle and it’s lands. This kind of story has it’s place, any maybe a younger reader may it enjoy the book more than I did, but I felt like the book could have been much more if the characters had been more sympathetic.
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I sadly had to DNF this one for now. I may come back to this later, but right now this just isn't the book I need to read. There are some strong themes in here that I would prefer to stay away from for a few moments.
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