To the shock and horror of many, I've never actually read a 'Vampire' book before and was therefore unable to contribute to our recent 'around the table' discussions regarding Twilight - now on my 'to read' pile! So this was my first experience and I didn't know if it would be my cup of tea or not. However I was drawn in by the beautiful black, silver and red cover and I'm pleased that the story inside didn't disappoint.
Blood, which is book one of the Mercian Trilogy introduces our protagonist Will. Will was born back in 1256 and only made it to sixteen years old having been struck down by a 'strange illness'. We learn that he was bitten by a creature and although buried by his family, he never dies. Set in London, he has a crypt under the city walls and every few years or so after a good long sleep he awakes again not knowing which century he will be in and how life will have changed in the real world. He has witnessed much over the years and is longing to find the creature that bit him and to find answers about what happened to him all those years ago.
I felt sorry for him. He has never met another like him, and has not known anyone who can help him or explain how he came to be in this situation. To him death would be preferable to the existence he has had for the last 750 plus years. The first chapter sets the scene well and I enjoyed the author's descriptive narrative throughout the book. We follow Will on his journey as he first off sets out to satisfy his need for blood - which wasn't gruesome at all - quite clean and methodical in fact! Will rarely needs to have blood - he does it when necessary and he feeds off of drifters and those who wouldn't be missed. It's all quite different to the 'Vampires' that I had imagined.
He finds Jex, who 'lives' in an abandoned warehouse and he becomes Will's unfortunate victim. He also meets Eloise, who is homeless, feisty and completely un-phased by Will's description of himself as 'undead'. She wants to help him in his quest and isn't remotely concerned or scared by anything that they encounter. Going back to Jex's place, they see that he has been writing and drawing pictures and Will realises his writings hold clues to help his quest. As they investigate they find themselves under attack from a supernatural entity. This leads to some fast paced battles which I thought were well written. Along the way, the truth slowly starts to reveal itself leading finally to a showdown in an old abandoned church where Will begins to get some answers at last.
There is romance, but nothing gushy or mushy. The story is unfinished as it's the first of a Trilogy but I shall read the rest. I found it all rather intriguing.
Verdict: An enjoyable and interesting read, and a great introduction to the Trilogy.