I Thirst for You
I Thirst for You is the fourth book I’ve read by Susan Sizemore, who seems to be somewhat uneven as an author. I enjoyed her 2001 vampire fiction release, Laws of the Blood: Companions, but this new book is saturated with lust and cheese and almost devoid of characterization.
Jo Elliot is a pilot and a natural empath who senses the emotions of people around her. But when her plane goes down in an electrical storm and four of her passengers are killed she is left with a variety of wounds, crippling guilt, and an inability to regulate her psychic reception so that she now hears everyone’s emotions – all the time. She flees to the desert with her tent and her Jeep. She needs absolute psychic silence to help heal her wounded spirit.
Marcus Cage is a vampire who needs blood right now. He escaped from a top-secret facility that studies and experiments on paranormals, but he must have blood immediately if he is to make it out of the desert alive. Human blood, and preferably from a female. He comes across Jo camping and falls on her in hungry lust, but when his mind clears and he is himself again, he realizes that he has unwittingly found his true life mate, and he must both woo Jo into trusting him so that they can bond and get them out of danger pronto. However, it looks like those two goals are not possible to accomplish together. People are hunting him, and now they are hunting Jo as well.
For the most part I Thirst for You is competently written in a brisk style with occasional touches of humor. It was a very fast read. Both Marcus and Jo are sympathetic characters, and Sizemore creates a believable feeling of menace regarding their predicament.
However, in making the characters as sympathetic as she does, Sizemore dilutes the intensity of this vampire story. One of the book’s biggest problems is that point of view shifts very often. There is head-hopping from Marcus’ point of view to Jo’s, and back again – even occasionally mid-paragraph. Besides distracting the reader, this dilutes the impact of some pivotal scenes. By knowing what the characters are thinking at all times, the suspense seeps out. The book opens with Marcus attacking Jo and making her his prisoner. This is a frightening scenario, except that since we are in and out of Marcus’s head we know he means her no harm. Also, this is a Held Captive romance, and those kinds of stories lend themselves to the complicated emotions that can arise between captor and captive. But Sizemore bypasses exploring that by having Marcus and Jo be psychically in tune, so she knows, almost from the beginning, that she is safe in his hands. This could have been a much more interesting story if Sizemore hadn’t wasted her opportunities.
In some ways this book reads like a combination of Buffy, Season Four and one of Christine Feehan’s Carpathian romances. But somehow the organization that is pursuing Marcus isn’t as creepy or over-the-top as Joss Whedon’s Initiative was, and Marcus’s heritage and self-identity as a Prime isn’t as enjoyably cheesy as the Carpathian one is. The result is that Marcus sometimes sounds cheesy (as when he talks about the bond he’s in the midst of making with Jo), but shouldn’t. And Sizemore’s government organization sounds a lot more like something my paranoid coworker would come up with than a legitimate group of scientists.
Characterization here is decidedly slim. The reader learns that Marcus is tortured over his torture and Jo is tormented over the plane crash. Then we learn that Marcus is horny like 100% of the time, like all primes are. He is also ex-military. Jo wanted to be a pilot since she was a little girl. Folks, that’s just about all we learn about the two of them except what they come feel for each other in the extremely short period of time they are thrown together. Enough of Marcus’ family background is revealed to establish some of the rules of this vampire world, but almost nothing of Jo’s past is explored. And too many pages are spent on love scenes that should have been spent on character or world building.
I Thirst for You was not a difficult book to read, but it was frustrating because Sizemore wasted so much of the potential of her premise. Readers who crave vampires and like action might find this effort sufficiently satisfying, but there are certainly better monster stories out there.