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Hellbent by Cherie Priest
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    Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The main character Raylene in Hellbent is a lot like Marla Mason in Blood Engines. The characters are driven by similar wants, which is to keep friends and family safe. Raylene is a more balanced character I think than Marla, but both have the same sort of Moral ambiguity.… (more)
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This is the second in this series and I look forward to the next one eagerly. The plot is fast paced and makes for an quick and fun read. Priest manages character conversations with such natural rhythm that you are are part of them. The characters banter like you do with friends in a bar or coffee shop. They are people who you want to be with.

There is no sense of drippy morality about the horror of being a monster, or about heroic, self sacrificing, world saving efforts. Its endearing quality is the fact that Raylene is out to save her friends and make money. She has no ethical qualms about what she has to do to achieve it. She doesn't apologize for being a vampire and she doesn't have any hint of moral rectitude. No where does she try to explain away her actions either. Its who she is. For all of that, she is a decent person, doing her level best to protect her own. And you love her for it.

Priest was gutsy to ignore the incessant morality that tends to clog these types of supernatural tales. For example, Raylene rescues and befriends someone who most authors would have relegated to psycho villain and felt perfectly safe doing so. Instead we are left with someone who has done terrible things and is now sitting in the chair as a friend and possible powder keg. It creates complexity and tension and nagging sense that there might be more to this novel than just a fun, 'don't think too hard' romp. ( )
  blatherlikeme | Sep 28, 2014 |
Actual rating: 2.5 stars ( )
  Crowinator | Sep 23, 2013 |
Amazon: Vampire thief Raylene Pendle doesn’t need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex-Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can’t resist an old pal’s request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts (penis bones from mythological beasts). Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way but only because she's on a mission of revenge. But Raylene’s biggest problem is that the death of Ian’s vaunted patriarch appears to have made him the next target of some blood-sucking sociopaths. Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe—all while fending off a psychotic sorceress. But at least she won’t be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen—right? ( )
  fillytilly | Sep 17, 2013 |
Raylene, OCD vampire thief, is tasked to get her hands on some bacula. Simultaneously, one of her good friends Ian is being pulled deeper into vampire politics, and her other good friend's search for his sister has led him to become rather... ghoul-like.

Fun book (like the first in the series), but it's all building action, no climax, no denouement -- and it isn't even a particularly long book! How frustrating not to get to the end of the bacula, the vampire politics, or the sister's story. So, my verdict? Read it, but read it with the next one at hand (which I don't believe is out yet, if it is even planned). ( )
  pammab | Sep 4, 2013 |
Hellbent is an awful lot of fun. The pace picks up rather during the last half, which left me wanting more, really, and I hope to god there will be more. Soon.

Basically, what I want is for Raylene to get up to more hijinks with the help and connivance of Elizabeth, Isabelle, Adrian, Ian, Domino, Pepper, Pita and possibly Horace. I'm not sure I want her to succeed in the goal of avenging/fixing Ian et al: disability erasure is no fun. I don't really look forward to this arc developing further because it'll probably mean danger to the status quo, and like Raylene, I can be all about the status quo.

(I can also complain loudly about nothing happening. I know. Shut up.)

I still love Adrian so much. He's kickass, sexually attractive both in drag and out of it, he's good for Raylene, he's just... Thoroughly capable. I want him and Ian and Raylene to mother-and-father their whole weird household, and preferably get together as a threesome (since Cherie Priest doesn't shy away from having a drag queen as a hero and lesbian relationships in the background, this looks more hopeful than I'd thought).

I'm not feeling Ian, still. Not as a romantic partner for Raylene, anyway. But I could be convinced.

My only problem with the two books is Raylene's narrative voice. Why is she telling this story, and to whom? I don't think there's ever an indication of that, a thing that has bugged me about first person narration ever since Lynn O'Connacht mentioned her pet peeves about it. And while her voice feels realistic with all her digressions and so on, sometimes it starts to feel like filler.

Oh, and she never, ever, asks about what pronouns Adrian would like her to use and when. She seems generally well meaning, but not informed. ( )
  shanaqui | Jun 16, 2013 |
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Vampire and thief Raylene Pendle doesn't need more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including Ian Stott, a blind vampire, and Adrian deJesus, an ex - Navy SEAL/drag queen. But Raylene still can't resist an old pal's request: seek out and steal a bizarre set of artifacts. Also on the hunt is a brilliant but certifiably crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way. But Raylene's biggest problem is that Ian, after the death of his vaunted patriarch, has become the next target of some bloodsucking sociopaths. Now Raylene must snatch up the potent relics, solve a murder, and keep Ian safe - all while fending off that psychotic sorceress. But at least she won't be alone. A girl could do a lot worse for a partner than an ass-kicking drag queen - right?
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Vampire and thief Raylene doesn't need any more complications in her life. Her Seattle home is already overrun by a band of misfits, including a blind vampire and an ex-Navy SEAL drag queen. Now she's off on a hunt to steal a bizarre set of artifacts-- a hunt that sets her up against a crazy sorceress determined to stomp anyone who gets in her way.… (more)

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