Laws of the Blood: Companions
I am always up for a good vampire story, and if a little romance is thrown into the mix, so much the better. Until now I was unaware that Susan Sizemore wrote a vampire series. Laws of the Blood: Companions is the third book in the series, and, though I have not read the first two, I enjoyed it very much.
The story takes place somewhere in the second half of the twentieth century. Istvan is our vampire “hero,” and he is over five hundred years old. He’s a dhamphir vampire, the son of a vampire and a Roma (gypsy) woman. He had strong psychic powers before he was turned into a vampire, and now he’s top dog. Istvan’s job is to be an Enforcer of Vampiric Law. He gets rid of law breaking vampires and protects the vampire community as a whole from human scrutiny.
Selena Crawford is a Chicago homicide detective who comes from a family of “white” witches. She has strong extrasensory abilities as well. Because of this she was picked to be Istvan’s companion several years ago. They were both set up by an interfering vampire, and the result is that they have a blood bond that connects them. Neither of them wanted this relationship, but because the relationship exists, they crave each other and need the sexual and emotional connection even as this desire goes against personal inclination.
What throws Istvan and Selena together again in this book is a vampire murder that occurs in Chicago. As a homicide cop, Selena is called in to view the grisly remains of a mutilated and decapitated vampire. She immediately recognizes him as a vampire, but is somewhat at a loss for what to do. After all, vampires have their own leaders and laws. Unbeknownst to her, Istvan is also aware of the murder and involved in the investigation. There’s one small barrier to their working together on this, though. Selena is Istvan’s primary suspect.
This book was quite entertaining. The story moved along quickly, and there were a number of amusing moments. This is not a romance per se, it’s more of a mystery adventure, but there was enough of a romance between Selena and Istvan to be satisfying. The fact that their relationship is a coerced and permanent one makes it a variant of an arranged marriage, which is one of my favorite scenarios.
There are some similarities to the Anita Blake books. Selena is rather kick-ass, Istvan is a vampire leader, and they are bonded together in a mystical type of union. But this series seems to be somewhat lighter fare. The Anita Blake books are so…everything. Violent, sexually graphic, complicated, angsty, intense. Companions is violent and sexy, but not in a graphic way, and the rules of the universe seem more constant and clear. And, unlike the Anita books, this series is told in the third person, so Istvan’s feelings are explored too. It’s not so heroine-centered.
The one thing that would have made this book better would have been the addition of a glossary/codification of vampire law. It was confusing to try and figure out how an Enforcer was different from a strigoi and what exactly a dhamphir was. Half the fun of a vampire book is figuring out how that particular vampire universe operates. Since Companions is the third book in a series. I kept wondering if all this had been spelled out in the preceding books, or if the reader was just expected to puzzle it all out. Also, most of Selena and Istvan’s personal history was summed up in clunky flashback form. One can only assume that it had been covered in real time format in a previous book.
Laws of the Blood: Companions was a solid read. It was straightforward, interesting, fun, and not too angsty or melodramatic. I think I’ll go see what the first two books in this series are all about. If they’re anything like this one, they’ll be plenty enjoyable.
|Review Date:||March 19, 2002|