Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Matters of the Blood - Opening Chapters

I never announced Matters of the Blood (by Maria Lima) when it came out last year through Juno Books (excerpt) as a trade paperback, so I'll include links as I go along. My excuse (do I really need one?) is that it came out before this blog started. Juno Books has re-released it as a mass-market paperback, and they sent a copy to me.

I was glad to get a copy because I've been trying out some urban fantasy, which is a new genre for me. (Sorry, Mulluane!) I am about a third of the way through. The novel is written in first person, which seems to be typical for the genre. Although the voice has a bit of attitude, I don't find it particularly snarky, which for me is a plus.

The story begins as thirty-something Keira is starting to undergo a Change of sorts, where she comes into a power inherited through a bloodline. Except she has no idea what kind of power she'll get. There's a remote chance that she'll get all of the powers. Most of her family is magical in some way or another . . . except Marty. Marty is a genetic aberration--he's an ordinary human. He works as an undertaker. It sort of goes right along with the family business, since Keira's family all have necromantic powers. Her and Marty live in a po-dunk Texas town in the middle of ranch country.

Marty calls Keira for help as the story opens, asking her to come by the ole family mortuary. However, it seems that Marty has cried "wolf" one too many times. Keira (I keep wanting to spell it "Kiera," so forgive me if one slips by) thinks that Marty just wants to borrow money again, so she ain't about to let his little emergency interrupt her breakfast.

Turns out to be a bad decision when Marty turns up dead.

The pace is good and the characters are all intriguing. There's a former lover, Carlton, who now works as County Sheriff. For him, the flame for Keira has never gone out. Even though he's now married. And there's Keira's former flirtation, Adam, who now runs the local dude ranch. Which happens to be on the site of Keira's former family . . . er . . . hunting grounds. Plus we have Keira's best friend Bea and her thousand-year-old brother, Tucker. (Did I mention that near-immortality was part of the family heritage?)

The setting in Texas is original; I can't remember the last book I read (if ever) that was set in Texas, or anywhere but the east or west coast. And it has a Hispanic flare that anyone who has ever lived in the Southwest will recognize as authentic.

So far, Matters of the Blood is moving along at a good pace; quick without being frantic. I'll keep reading.


SciFiGuy said...

Nice review. A couple of other urban fantasy series are set in Texas including Diane Whiteside's 'Texas Vampires' and I believe Rachel Vincents 'Pride' series as well. Oh and the new YA Bite Me by Parker Blue.

Mulluane said...


LOL, hey, if you enjoy it, that is all that matters right?

Tia Nevitt said...

LOL! I read lots of different genres. I figured that I was doing myself a disservice if I avoided an entire subgenre because of preconceived notions. We'll see how it goes.