Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle‘s body bears the telltale marks of a comarre-a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world… and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.
Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.
Before I actually start on what I thought about the book, let me be completely superficial and talk about the cover. Isn’t it so pretty? That was honestly the first thing that went through my mind when I saw this book. I know we shouldn’t judge books based solely on the pretty pictures, but, thankfully, this book did not disappoint in terms of the story. It was spectacular! I was in awe of Ms Painter’s writing abilities by the end, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next.
Blood Rights is the first book in the House of Comarre series. The story is set in the year 2067, in Paradise City, New Florida. In this alternate universe, we have several species living among humans. Obviously, we have the vampires, but in addition to this we have demons, ghosts, faeries, and shifters running amok. Plus, you know, the ever hapless humans. However, there is one branch of humanity that isn’t clueless and isn’t helpless, no matter what the supes think. They are the comarre.
The comarre are made up of those guys and girls who are born with extremely high quality blood. These individuals are described as being the geisha in the world of vampires. They are both extremely attractive and their blood is the Lindt chocolate to the rest of humanity’s Chomp. In order to maintain these very high standards, the comarre are carefully bred to ensure that their blood remains pure. Only the wealthiest vampires can afford a comarre, and thus the comarre are the ultimate status symbol.
Chrysabelle is comarre, and one of the most saught after ones at that. And that was even before she was accused of killing her benefactor. Her selling price (I’m not entirely sure how else to describe it) was the highest ever reached by any other comarre in history. But now she is in very big trouble. Not only is she the lead suspect in a murder, but she’s also being hunted down by all-round crazy bitch, Tatiana. While on the run, Chrysabelle has the misfortune to run into a crabby-ass vampire named Malkolm. To say that these two get off to a bad start would be an understatement. Malkolm is an outcast among vampires and, thanks to the itty-bitty problem of hearing the voices of all the people he’s ever killed inside his head, he’s also a bit of a recluse. A crazy vampire is the last thing Chrysabelle wants to deal with. A comarre whose blood is supposed to be like nothing he’s ever tasted is the last thing Malkolm’s tenuous control needs. But circumstances beyond their control force them to work together.
In addition to the fresh new take to vampire lore, I also loved the characters in this book! They were all so interesting, that I just wanted to learn everything I could about them all at once. Secondary characters include Chrysabelle’s aunt, Maris, and the mistress of the house of comarre, Rennata. But my favourite two secondary characters were Doc and Fi. They make such an adorable couple, I was all “Awww…” every time they appeared. Fi is one of the ghosts who haunt Malkolm, but for some reason she’s managed to assume some sort of corporal form. And Doc is a 6ft5 were-leopard who, thanks to a rather nasty curse, can only turn into… a house cat. I felt really sorry for Doc, but that didn’t stop me from laughing hysterically when I read that bit.
The main characters were just… amazing, all in their own ways. I need to talk about Tatiana here. This woman is certifiable. She reminds me a little of Devina from J.R Ward’s Fallen Angels series. Tatiana is driven, ruthless and ambitious. All this with a side order of batshit crazy. What I appreciated though, was that she had layers. She wasn’t just this random crazy lady doing evil stuff just for the sake of it. Then we have Chrysabelle. When I started and read the blurb, I wasn’t too sure if I was going to like her. I’m happy to report that I was right. I didn’t like her; I loved her. As a comarre, she had lived a pretty sheltered life, but she never did the helpless ninny thing. She didn’t do stupid stuff just to make a point, but at no point did she let Malkolm push her around. She was awesome. Then, last but certainly not least, there’s Malkolm. What is it about the whole tortured hero thing that makes a girl weak in the knees? Granted, Malkolm wasn’t a very nice man back in the day and it can be argued that he deserves to be tortured. Still… there’s something a little bit sad about him that just makes you want to grab him and give him a hug.
In conclusion: this book was awesome. Kristen Painter is a rock star. I’m really excited about this series. You need to go read it if you haven’t already. Go now.