Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Flesh and Blood

(House of Comarre #2)
Kristen Painter
Adult Urban Fantasy
416 pages
Orbit/Hachette Book Group
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Those born into the comarré life produced blood in rich, pure, powerful abundance...

With the Ring of Sorrows still missing, and the covenant between othernaturals and mortals broken, Chrysabelle and Malkolm’s problems are just beginning. Chrysabelle still owes Malkolm for his help, but fulfilling that debt means returning to Corvinestri, the hidden vampire city where neither is welcome.

This second installment in the House of Comarre series builds beautifully on the events of the first book, returning us to a blindingly gorgeous pair of opposites who, for all their differences, are both struggling to escape the confines of a life not of their choosing. Ms. Painter is extraordinarily aptly named–an artist exquisitely capable of crafting characters who are carefully rendered studies in contrasts–wielding black type on a white page as opposed to brushstrokes on a canvas but creating a work of art just the same. In this tale we begin to see some interesting shading take place, where Chrysabelle and Malkolm were pretty clearly delineated light and dark in book one we now begin to see them blend, highlights and lowlights combining to create a picture with more depth and detail than we saw previously, and we stand back appreciatively to search each new shade of gray for meaning we know is there waiting.

For all that Chrysabelle is glittering gold filigree to Malkolm’s tortured blackness, we get the pleasure of watching them tentatively step away from their opposite ends of the spectrum and hesitantly move toward middle ground and perhaps the comfort and sanctuary for which they’ve both long been searching. They are such stunning contradictions: the purity of the comarre versus the perceived stain of a cursed vampiric soul, with Chrysabelle's air of royalty and desired rank versus Malkom's displaced nobility making their pairing all the more fascinating to read as they slowly try to shed the roles that have defined them previously and find a new beginning. Watching as Chrysabelle flounders a bit trying to figure out who she is if not wholly and completely comarre and as Malkolm dares to put his faith in someone else when all the hands that received his love and loyalty previously have spread their fingers wide to let those gifts sift through is both exhilarating and painful, but their difficult journey ensures our unwavering interest through to the very end.

The introduction of a new possible romantic interest is initially a bit of a detraction to the overall story, our love for Malkolm based the time spent with him already as well as our knowledge of the brutal betrayals that make up his past forcing our hackles up as though he and Chrysabelle are ours to protect from any unwanted influence. Vampire slayer Creek is nearly impossible to dislike however, and Ms. Painter does an admirable job of not turning this story into a competition for Chrysabelle’s affections, but rather she works him into events in a way where his importance extends far beyond that of mere romantic foil character for the main couple. We know some things about him but certainly not all, and there is enough about him left in the unknown category to keep us on our guard and suspicious of his motives despite his status as an ally to both Malkolm and Chrysabelle.

As with Blood Rights, Flesh and Blood is teeming with interesting twists and turns, alliances made and dissolved quickly and easily to keep our minds churning as to exactly who we can trust, who could be playing us and those we care about, and who is the biggest bad of them all. Ms. Painter has a gift for writing characters who epitomize both good and evil but who also prove there are varying degrees to such categorization, making each classification far broader in scale than we might think before reading. We are left with not a cliffhanger per se, but definitely with events left unresolved and some very large questions looming so that our need to pick up the next book and start it is one that will not be ignored.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I had to skip your review since I haven't read the first book yet. I want to. Heard good things. Doesn't it just kill you that there are so many good series out there that you haven't gotten to? It does me.

  2. I really want to read this series I love the synopsis and all the covers are gorgeous, great review, new follower


  3. I need to pick this one up! The first book was such a quick read!

  4. I still haven't read the first book in this series, although it sounds like something I would enjoy! Must get to it!

  5. I haven't read Adult Urban Fantasy in a while now, but this series sounds really interesting. Also these covers look familiar, so maybe I have seen the first somewhere..anyway..great review.

  6. I really liked this one too. I did take me a bit to get over the very mulit-viewpoints but once I got them down---I was sucked into the story totally. I am just waiting for Melissa to come by and tell everyone that Creek is hers----and ladies she will LOL

  7. Ooh I just got this whole series last week but I haven't started it yet I heard it was a really fun series. I seems to have great characters I can't wait to read book 1 :D

  8. Ohh, you've already read the second book?! I saw the first book at my library the other day. I definitely need to check this series out. The covers are Stunning!

  9. Alison - It definitely does. There are a ton that I see on other blogs and I think "I need to read those" and then I just never get to them:(

    Sarah - I adore these covers too, so pretty! Glad to have you as a follower:)

    Natalie - I really enjoyed it:) Maybe not quite as much as the first one because like you I want to stay with Malkom and Chrysabelle and we hop around to more new characters, but it's such an interesting world:)

    Leanna - I hope you do, I'm definitely a fan of this series!

    Nina - I like to break up all the YA books, it's nice to read something really fun and different and these fit the bill:) Dark without being overly so, and I love Malkom like nobody's business:)

    Felicia - Me too. I struggled with that in this one and in Bad Blood, but I eventually got used to it and could settle in:)

    Giselle - YAY! The characters are awesome, I can't wait to see what you think!

  10. Christy - I have! They released a month apart, and I just finished the third one as well. I think we have a bit of a wait for book 4 though:(

  11. And see I was frustrated with Creek. Not because he wasn't a fabulous character, but because it's Malkom for me and throwing Creek in the mix just felt wrong and frustrating. He just comes out of nowhere. For me it upset the plot. I don't know, Jenny! Erg.

    Everything else I totally agree with, but Creek.... I suppose I just felt that plot device, too much. Plus, Malkom is just the perfect offset. I love how he brings Chrysabelle to an entirely different level as a character. Okay, I'm done taking up your comment space. :)

  12. Wow that cover is so pretty....I love the colors....I have the first book on my TBR so I think Im gonna give it a go over Cmas break.... Thanks for the review...:D

  13. This is on the top of my "get from the library" list. I'm craving for a good urban fantasy series to start and the characters in this one look very interesting.

  14. I'm hoping to get the first book for Christmas. I've heard enough good things about this series that I simply must read it!

  15. Jen - Initially I was frustrated with the introduction of Creek as well because I'm so in love with Mal, but it didn't ever feel for me like Creek was a true threat, so I was less bothered. Have you read Bad Blood yet? I think you'll be happy:)

    Tina - I love these covers too, the gold on her skin is so pretty:) Hope you give them a try!

    Rummanah - YAY! The characters are fantastic, I love Mal so, so much:)

    Amanda - DO IT! It's a fun series:)

  16. Aaaah Jenny! You have a way of making me wish I was aptly named with a corresponding talent just so I could bask in the glory of your words. I wonder if Mr. Potatohead has a brother?

    I started Blood Rights a while back, but for some reason, my interest wavered, though I really did like how Malkom came on the scene. I'll have to revisit the series again soon. And yeah, I'm not liking the sound of this new love interest! *bares fangs*


  17. The covers for this series always catch my eye! I love how the metal kind of looks like lace from afar.
    I just skimmed your review since I haven't read book one, but it's good to know that the sequel is a strong addition to the series! :)

  18. I am sure I will read it one day, because even if I am torn I am also curious about it :)=

  19. Missie - You flatter me. Don't stop ;-) Ha! I amuse myself today. I'm running on way too little sleep because the puppy is not a fan of sleeping at night. She thinks screaming bloody murder is more fun.

    Lauren - Me too! I enjoyed this sequel, not quite as much as the first, but still highly entertaining:)

    Blodeuedd - My "one day" list is epically long, I hope I can make it through all of them at some point:)

  20. The covers stand out since they are so different. Even seeing it makes me want to pick it up and find out what the series is about.

  21. This sounds like a series I'm going to enjoy. The world sounds pretty interesting and I love it when characters aren't black and white. The ones in this one sound like they have fascinating backgrounds.

  22. Love the cover of this one! I'm yet to pick up the first in the series, but I'll try and pick it up after reading your reviews. Glad you enjoyed it!

  23. Okay, why have I not heard of this series before? It sounds amazing. I love it when authors handle the good/evil balance with maturity and complexity. Makes for a much more interesting read. And that cover? AH-MAZ-ING.

  24. This sounds like a great book! Didn't you review the first book as well? I'm going to have to read this!

  25. These books sound so interesting, but I'm a bit hesitant to pick them up. I like that the author starts to make her characters less good/bad. And of course you've written another great review that makes me just want to give in and read them. :)

  26. Glad to hear the second book doesn't dissapoint! Nice review of it. Ready for number three?

  27. You are totally right Creek is too much of a distraction. I'll fix that. I'll take him off her hands. Back off Jenny... he's mine!! grrrrrr~ :D

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