Wednesday, October 12, 2011
by Dylan J. Morgan
Published by Pill Hill Press
For six centuries, armies of vampires (led by the coldly calculating Markus) and packs of werewolves (led by the brutally savage Isaac) have been locked in a bitter war, their struggles hidden in the shadows away from human eyes or waged from within the cover of mortal conflicts. Their conflict spans the years and the continents, each immortal faction seeking to gain dominance over the other with the ultimate fate of mankind at stake. But now a new enemy is rising to wrest control of the supernatural world from the old regimes: hybrids. These bizarre offspring of both lycanthrope and vampire, long outlawed amongst their sires, seek to control their own destinies and bring their persecution to an end.
Blood War is arranged in three “books”. The first, “The Freaks Come Out at 9 and Its 20 to 10,” describes the struggles between the vampires and werewolves leading up to the present day. The second part, “Monsters and Mortals,” introduces the only two mortal characters in the novel and the manner in which their lives are embroiled in the struggle. The final book, “Last Stand,” brings the various conflicts to their inevitable conclusion. Morgan’s writing is strong and descriptive, especially so during the novel’s many action sequences. The author also does a fine job of balancing about a dozen or so different characters and points of view while aptly describing the centuries-long, globetrotting conflict at the heart of the novel. He has a lot of pins in the air and never misses a catch. The “blood war” described is exciting and harrowing, with each vivid scene obviously crafted to drive the plot to its next destination.
Unfortunately Blood War misses some opportunities for depth by not creating an emotional attachment with its audience. Morgan creates very complex and interesting characters among the immortals, but for every spark of sympathy invoked for the players, we are reminded of their innate monstrosity. Frankly, the reader doesn’t know who to root for. Further, the ultimate stakes of this contest—the fate of humanity—is woefully underplayed, resulting in a distinct lack of emotional investment in the conflict.
But sometimes all you need is the adrenaline rush of a good fight. You don’t have to care who wins to enjoy vampires and werewolves and hybrids beating the crap out of each other. In the end, with its exotic locales, tight action scenes, and large cast of bad-ass immortals, Blood War is a well-written, highly entertaining action movie of a novel.
Buy it here.
Visit Dylan Morgan's site.
Reviewed by Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett is a full-time librarian and part-time writer trying to do that the other way around. He has written reviews for Library Journal and has also had two articles published in the award-winning Knights of the Dinner Table magazine. Shedrick currently resides in Denton, Texas ("The Home of Happiness") with his lovely wife and the obligatory demon-spawn cats. When not writing, gaming, or watching cheezy kung-fu flicks, he can be found in a pub enjoying a fine brew.