Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: Bad Blood

(House of Comarre #3)

Kristen Painter
Urban Fantasy
352 pages
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Samhain approaches, bringing with it the final melding of the mortal and othernatural worlds. No one knows just how much power the night holds...

Violent murders occur in Paradise City as counterfeit comarré are systematically hunted. The police and the Kubai Mata have more than enough trouble to keep themselves occupied. As war erupts at home, Malkolm and Chrysabelle head to New Orleans to recover the Ring of Sorrows. Chrysabelle is forced to make a life and death decision and will realize that her relationship to Malkolm may have fatal consequences.

The clock is ticking . . .

The third installment in the House of Comarre series, Bad Blood continues to breathtakingly depict the range of shades between light and dark, walking us through denser and darker grays than we’ve experienced before but also ensuring that our eyes adjust quickly and easily with well placed moments of light between Mal and Chrysabelle that make the shadows feel far less menacing. There is always danger, always the potential for pain and suffering, and always the possibility that the next threat will be far worse than the current one, but through it all we have characters who are trying to take the prevalent darkness infecting their world and transform it no matter the cost to themselves, molding it into something better for the future than it is in the present.

Chrysabelle and Malkom are an extraordinarily intriguing couple, their relationship one that’s slowly and painstakingly evolving as they both attempt to come to terms with the nature of their feelings for one another. As at times sweet and caring as Malkom can be, the blackness of his past clings to him, a shroud of pain and death he can never shed no matter how much light Chrysabelle shines on it and a constant reminder to us just what he is capable of should his rigid control slip for even a moment. He is not simply a tortured soul on the now smooth path toward redemption through the love of a woman however, instead he continually makes mistakes and stumbles along the way, often hurting her and himself when his moments of selfishness stemming from years of being his only priority make an appearance. It is these slips that make them such a perfectly flawed pair though, their steps forward often accompanied by steps backward as well, and together all of us trudge forward together to face what challenges Ms. Painter has in store.

The progression of Malkom and Chrysabelle’s relationship is a highlight of this tale, and because we have such an intense desire to follow them and their tenuous connection, the addition of several more independent-but-linked plotlines becomes a bit tedious to wade through. We have always followed several different characters in the books in this series, bouncing from one to the next to give us a broader perspective and feel for this supernatural world, but it seems as though with each new book the number of side stories increases, and we find ourselves getting to spend less and less time with the characters who have come to mean the most to us. Ms. Painter of course does a meticulous job of tying all the separate pieces of the puzzle together, though we can’t help but hope some of our character hopping decreases moving forward, allowing our focus to zero in on the core group of people we love so much.

Overall, Bad Blood is an enjoyable addition to the series if for no other reason than the growing romantic feelings and sexual tension between Malkom and Chrysabelle, two individuals who have more layers than we could ever hope to explore in a single book and who have us eagerly anticipating the next installment.

Rating: 4/5


  1. I didn't read your review in full because I just finished Blood Rights, but I'm excited to see the series keeps up with how great the first book was!

  2. First: Don't you just LOVE these covers?? I think they're some of my favourites because the cool design and gorgeous colours just equal awesome! <3

    Second: Amazingly beautiful review as always, Jenny! I've only read part of the first book so far (I had to return it while I was in the middle of reading it LOL) but I loved it and I can't wait to get a start on this one! I want more Chrysabelle and Malkom and the imperfectly perfect romance you described! ;)

  3. I think the next book in this series will really determine whether I want to continue with it. You're right - the number of side stories have increased to the point that our time spent with Malkom and Chrysabelle (two big reasons why we've continued to read the series) isn't quite enough. I mean, I love the series, but I can see where it could become too much.

  4. I keep hearing such amazing things about this series and think it's probably about time I found out for myself. :D Awesome review Jenny! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it and I love that you think the characters are well layered. That's something I really like in my characters so I'm looking forward to meeting them. :)

  5. I take it your digging this series....I actually just bought the first book!! Yay for me stepping out of my comfort zone....:D

  6. Chantaal - Glad you enjoyed Blood Rights, I just loved it! I think this is a great series:)

    Mimi - I love these covers too, so pretty:) I definitely want more Chrysabelle and Malkolm too! I wouldn't be sad if we only got them from now own, but that would make this more a paranormal romance than urban fantasy I guess:)

    Amanda - Yep. I didn't notice the switching quite as much in book 2, but all the hopping around became really apparent to me in this one. I found myself skimming chapters just to get back to Mal and Chrysabelle. Still enjoyed it though:)

    Sam - I adore these characters. I'm a sucker for a damaged anti-hero and Malkolm fits that role perfectly. Love him!

  7. Tina - YAY! Can't wait to see what you think. It's a dark, complicated world with really intriguing characters. The first one has been the strongest of the series for me:)

  8. Oh wow, I love that cover! I haven't read the first one, but I put it on my wishlist after reading your review for it. Great review, Jenny!

  9. Painstaking yet filled with sexual tension. Yup, that sounds like a romance I could get completely lost in. I started book one a couple of month ago, but put it down for some reason, but I have vowed to get back to it. I'm a big fan of stories that include a lot of characters that are just was well developed as the main, but yes, if there are too many it does seem overwhelming, so I understand what you mean about hoping the next book will be more focused. I'd probably want the same.

    Happy Friday Jenny!!!

  10. Just like you I love the relation between those two! And, I also loved that the Love Triangle didn't last too long.
    I found this third one better than the second although I do love this series!

    I found that here, we got another layer of plot delivered which makes it even more interesting!

    I just love this series and I'm looking forward reading the next!

  11. Hafsah - Me too! I hope you get to read the first one soon, I adored it:)

    Missie - I love me some sexual tension, and Mal and Chrysabelle do that oh-so well. Plus Mal is all tortured and I just want to attach myself to him like a leech and tell him I'll make him feel better:)

    Danny - I was super relieved the love triangle with Creek didn't last very long. I love him, but Mal and Chrysabelle need to be together!

  12. This is another series I keep seeing around and reading great reviews about. The covers are so amazing and unique. I loved your descriptions of the slow progressing relationship, trying to shed light onto the darkness that clings...lovely Jenny! I just signed up for Hounded read along! I hope you do too! Have a great weekend!

  13. I am seriously hoping for some groping in the next book because this dancing of Chrysabelle's and Mal's is driving me nuts. Although, that one adult novel of hers was so clean! ACK! I wonder if I put in a request for groping it may influence her decision to add it... LOL! Great review, Jenny. You really have a way of pinpointing the feeling of a book. Mad skillz, I tell yah!

  14. I do love when a series is lush with characters and details but there's a fine line and, when it's crossed, the story bogs down too much. A focus on a handful of characters (kill off the rest! lol) is the best way to go. I still really need to read this series!

  15. I only lightly skimmed your review because I haven't read the first one yet. But I do have it and can't wait until I'm able to start reading it. I'm happy to see you enjoyed this one!

  16. Heidi - Love the light and dark in this book, she does such a good job with the contrast between the two, with Mal being so dark and Chrysabelle so light:)

    Jen - Right? There definitely needs to be a little groping going on. We're like 1200 pages in now and had barely a kiss or two!

    Mary - This third installment had the most noticeable character hopping for me, I still enjoyed it but I kept hoping we'd get a few more chapters with just the core group of characters.

    Candace - Even with it's flaws I think this is a great series:)

  17. So I have a couple things to say. First, I love your new blog design! I've been reading your posts on google reader or in my emails so I haven't been on here in a long time but it's uber gorgeous! Secondly, I'm so upset I've still only read the first book. I saw the other two in my local bookstore (huge shock for me) and I am determined to buy them once I get some money. I love Chrysabelle and Malkolm. I love them soooo much. Great review as always Jenny.

  18. Mal... blah blah blah... what about Creek??? I needs me more Creek! I am saddened to hear that we get less of our core peeps but what about Creek? Can you tell I wants me a Creek? LOL

    I was supposed to get this one, but it never came. I seriously needs to get it! NEEDS

  19. I still haven't even read book 1!!!! :( And I own TWO copies of it!!!

  20. Still have not gotten on the ball and read this series. Though I am loving the progression of the story.

  21. Something is clearly wrong with me as I haven't picked up the first book yet. :( Dark world, interesting characters, and sexual tension? Yup, I'm sold.

  22. I guess I really should try book day. Cos I do want to check this series out

  23. I agree with your review of this book. While I actually love the shifting POVs and the different story lines, the drawn out relationship between Chrysabelle and Malkom is getting frustrating. I am hoping that it evolves a bit more in the next book.

    Just added your blog to my Bloglines feed! Nice to have come across your site!

  24. Sounds like you really liked this one too. I've yet to start reading this series, though all of your reviews and the others I've read highly recommend it. I feel like I know the series, but don't know anything I shouldn't know as I read your review.
    Great touch!


  25. Okay, the comment I just left on your review of By A Thread? Ditto for this! I can't believe that I have yet to read these books! You'd think that by now the cover whore in me would have caved in and bought this books- but not so! :/ ;)