The Turning by Jennifer Armintrout

The Turning
(Blood Ties, Book #1)
Urban Fantasy


I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.

So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I'm bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he's one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn't get much worse--except I'm attracted to them both.

Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn't exactly how I'd imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that's what I'll do. Fangs bared.

I had a bizarre yin/yang connection with this book. It certainly grabbed my attention and kept me reading, but truthfully the plot wasn't overly action-filled. It was more of a morbid unveiling at a slower pace during the meat of the novel. If you are in the mood for a dark, serious Urban Fantasy holding plenty of grit, this is one of them. It almost advertises itself as a Paranormal Romance - it is not. There is sex but not love involved, and it's very dark and gritty.

All characters had something strange I liked about them, yet they held more unlikeable qualities than likeable ones. I know Carrie was influenced by the blood tie, but at times she still seemed too lacking in compassion.  Nathan as the "good" guy of the story who tries to help Carrie adjust to her new lifestyle works to a degree.

Cyrus was a truly great villain, very “evil”, so I guess there's no negative contradiction there. He takes the traditional bad vampire role and plays it well, but ups it into even more twisted territory by adding in rape of fifteen year olds. Despite all the bad things he does, he was the best written character and aspect of the story. The author was trying to establish a degree of sympathy for the deranged villain evidently, and this did make an intriguing situation. Dahlia was an interesting sort, even if I didn't care for her much.

Armintrout does do some creative things with the story - usually either the Master Vampire doesn't mean much to the vampire, or else he/she is an all-powerful influence on their sireling and can control/command/influence them. Here she is drawn to her maker (who accidentally created her, by the way, not on purpose), but the blood ties work both ways in this story. The Master is also drawn to the child and influenced/vulnerable to them as well. Also there is a group in the story of vampires who seek to kill other vampires and extinct their own race out.

Author's writing style was easy to follow and to the point but a bit distant. I can't hold complaints with the style of the word, but more because of plot focused and character issues. The beginning was great, truly intriguing and excitable. After the blood ties start setting in, though, it made less sense, the protagonists behavior grew more unlikeable, and the ending really soured it for me. There are so many weird scenes and situations with eyeballs too! (Removing them, staking them, storing them, etc.)

At the end of the novel I was greatly angered by the outcome of two characters - tragedy is expected, but not in ways that piss me off because they're so unfair. A bleak, serious book, which is not always a bad thing in itself, but for me just didn't work.  There were good surprises and it wasn't predictable, the dark and gritty part was enjoyable for dark Urban Fantasy fans like myself, but some of its faults led to a poor outcome.

   Book Quotes:

“I'm sorry I'm not more cultured. I'll watch PBS. And cut people open for fun. Will that be better? Will you be less embarrassed to be my fledgling then?”

“You know, there comes a time in everyone's life when they have to carefully examine the goals they've set for themselves. When they have to admit their limitations and look at their capibilities in a more realistic way.”

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