Saturday, February 16, 2013

9 Heart Review: Blood on Silk by Marie Treanor

Blood on Silk (Awakened by Blood #1)
Marie Treanor

Page Count: 316

Release Date: 7 September 2010
Publisher: Signet Eclipse (NAL; Penguin)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via Bewitching Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Give in to it, Elizabeth. Give into evil.

Scottish academic Elizabeth Silk is spending the summer in Romania researching historical superstitions for her PhD. While she is tracing local folktales, one subject in particular sparks her imagination. His name is Saloman, legend's most powerful vampire, a seductive prince staked centuries ago. Now, in the ruins of a castle crypt, Elizabeth discovers the legends are real. Her blood has awakened him. Her innocence has aroused him. But Elizabeth unleashes more than Saloman's hunger.

An army of vampire hunters has amassed to send Saloman back to hell. Sworn to help—yet fearing Saloman's deadly bloodlust—Elizabeth seeks to entrap him, offering her body as bait. But something stronger than dread, more powerful than revenge, is uniting Elizabeth to her prey. Caught between desire and rage, Elizabeth must decide where her loyalties lie... and what the limits are to a yearning she can no longer control.

Review


Elizabeth, a captive of academia, is a no-nonsense woman whose trip to Romania is solely for the completion of her thesis. Elizabeth is wickedly smart—sometimes too smart for her own good—but it is the solid head on her shoulders that has gotten her so far in life. And yet, devastatingly, it is Elizabeth, whom, in the first of Marie Treanor's thrilling Awakened by Blood series, accidentally but fatefully brings Saloman, the last of the Ancient vampires, back from his grave. And this is when her safe, sensible life goes perfectly, disastrously awry.

There are so many things about this book that I love—I'm not even sure where to start! The plot is gripping and fast-paced, and the history of vampires in its wake, fascinating. The premise involving Elizabeth's attraction to Saloman is tragic, but absolutely absorbing. As Saloman's Awakener, especially as an Awakener who is a descendent of one of Saloman's original slayers three-hundred years previously, Elizabeth is a powerhouse waiting to be bitten, and yet, an initial spark of attraction—a desperate plea for affection—prevents him from killing her. Lust-crazed, he may be—in his past life, he always got what he wanted: sex and blood—but there's just something about her that keeps him from delaying the prophesied. 

The dynamic between Saloman and Elizabeth is charming, witty, and absolutely smoldering! In their first catastrophic encounter, Elizabeth escapes from his clutches by sweet-talking him, and even making him laugh. But after that, it's no longer fun and games; it's power, sweet, succulent power... but in the end, it's desire that consumes them both.

Saloman's quest to take revenge against Zoltán, the evil vampire who has been in rule during his rest, is severely hindered by the distraction that is the naïve and beautiful Elizabeth Silk. During his unpeaceful rest, Saloman had no choice but to be patient, to be dead with his eyes open, but even he knows now it is time for vengeance. Yet the startlingly tender Elizabeth—the surprisingly hilarious and clever girl who's smart in all areas, except for those of herself—prevents him from leading a direct path to Zoltán. To me, this was the typical forbidden love story, nothing original, but I loved it nonetheless. What I didn't really favor was how vampires seem really idealized: all of them are attractive, all of the powerful ones have the same clichéd paranormal powers (telepathy, inhuman speed, etc.), which is a bit annoying. But if that's what it takes to create a character like Saloman, a girl can dream, right? LOL.

The fine lines between love and hate, good and evil, and loyalty and betrayal are crossed, then crossed back in Blood on Silk, and the ride itself will leave you squirming in arousal and panting for breath. Treanor's eloquent, sensual writing style definitely enhances the story. This book was hard to put down and definitely hard to let go of.

As for characters, Treanor does a splendid job fleshing them out really well, both primary and supporting. Elizabeth is extremely relatable, in that she's a quiet sort of beauty, who is still insecure in identity and desire. She is contradictory in herself: lonely but self-sufficient, innocent but cynical, solemn but witty, fearful but unexpectedly bold, reserved but entirely passionate. She's torn between the well-researched, highly driven vampire hunters who only want to help her, and the beckoning of true desire and obscured evil; I think any reader will be able to sympathize with her frustratingly mixed feelings. Having brought Saloman back to "life" (because he's still technically dead... or undead), she has the self-determined obligation to save humanity and put him back to rest, but her unbearable attraction to him tampers with her emotions and he in parallel, prevents her from fulfilling her duties as well.

Saloman, on the other hand, is the exact opposite: sexually experienced, mysterious, and quite shady, but an enchantingly complex and deep character. Not much is revealed to readers about him, aside from what he tells Elizabeth, but he's the most powerful vampire in the world—who are we readers to trust him? I obviously swooned over him... he's such a perfect evil hero! Marie Treanor cunningly and delicately shapes a lovable, devastating vampire, one who's more human than we think. His struggle and greed for power fuels his passion, evil, and destruction, which I think is perfectly portrayed. Saloman is all of alluring, magnetic, and dangerous, and throughout the book, is someone Elizabeth gets to know by heart, but then again, not really much at all. I'm looking forward to discovering more of him in the next book, Blood Sin (review to come!).

Both Elizabeth and Saloman fall for the monster in each other—he, for the enemy and she, for the evil—and in between the throes of passion, both will commit the ultimate act of surrender out of lust. But the question is raised: is it really only lust?

From both characters' perspectives, the shame, humiliation, and lingering insecurity of being in love with someone who may have ulterior motives is so true to life. The torture of Saloman's ever-presence that remains in Elizabeth's mind causes her to behave recklessly, and drives her into an emotional mess... but no one ever said love would be easy. And so readers recognize, love in Saloman was something she did not expect, but to be fair, love in Elizabeth was not Saloman expected, either.

The unworldly and rather reclusive Elizabeth helplessly opens her heart up to Saloman, and he, even more tragically, does the same to her. Treanor magically and precariously sheds light upon the importance of living in the moment, in the name of love, while weaving a heart-pounding, steamy love story about two lost individuals who find each other even under the most extenuating of circumstances. 

Pros


Saloman is a perfectly evil, dangerous, provocative, swoon-worthy, marvelous character // Elizabeth is extremely relatable and likable // Witty, sexy banter // Explosive love scenes // Awesome secondary characters that are also well-developed // Forbidden love is heart-wrenching and equally hot // Plot is well-formed, with many facets explored and still unrevealed // Stylistically smooth

Cons


Elizabeth reacts lustily every time Saloman remotely comes near her and Saloman has an erection every time she comes remotely near him // Vampires are way too glamorized

Love

"You really are a bit of a bastard, aren't you, Saloman?"

"Oh no. I'm a complete and utter bastard. One can perfect these things over the millennia."

Verdict


The pages of Blood on Silk are absolutely scorching hot. From the chemistry between the main characters, to the heartbreaking storyline involving a star-crossed encounter and fate, this modern vampire tale combines the mystique of the world's oldest paranormals, with the enamoring backdrop of Scotland, and it's one you don't want to miss. The characterization is strong, the sex hot, and the love powerful in Marie Treanor's Awakened by Blood debut. False hopes, unconquerable desires, and the repercussions of unspoken longings convey a powerful message in Blood on Silk: that when it comes to love, sometimes doing the right thing, isn't always the best thing Americanflag

9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf (x)

Check out my review for the continuation of Elizabeth and Saloman's romance in Blood Sin by clicking here