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Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney

Blood Oranges (edition 2013)

by Kathleen Tierney, Caitlin R. Kiernan

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8610140,249 (3.38)None
Title:Blood Oranges
Authors:Kathleen Tierney
Other authors:Caitlin R. Kiernan
Info:Roc Trade (2013), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:demon, drug abuse, fantasy, gay, horror, humor, lesbian, providence, troll, vampire, werewolf

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Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney



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This was kind of a weird read. I think I'm seeing postmodern markers, but am not sure. ( )
  raselyem7 | Aug 30, 2014 |
This is one of those books I really didn't know anything about except seeing a brief mention on a blog somewhere online. It sounded interesting and the library had it so I figured I would take a chance. I am glad I did.

Siobhan Quinn is just trying to get by. Running away from an abusive home and doing what she had to do to survive on the streets was enough. Then when her girlfriend is killed by a creature she learns that there are worse things that go bump in the night. Now a demon hunter with a heroin addiction she is trying to learn on the job. When a werewolf hunt goes bad she needs to be rescued by a vampire and the cost is being turned into a vampire and a werewolf. And you thought you had a bad day.

I loved the internal monologues that go on in Quinn's head as she tried to figure out what to do next. This satirical book kept me laughing and reading until the end. I can't wait for the sequel. ( )
  JJbooklvr | Dec 11, 2013 |
Caitlin Kiernan is a dark fantasist whose work has been ignored by the herd, as opposed to fellow fantasists, discerning critics and adoring fans, like myself. Judging from her negative reviews on Amazon, I suppose that many readers are put off by her profanity and obscenity on one hand and her literacy values on the other. Anyhow, she has put her virtues and/or vices to starting an urban fantasy series about a demon hunter named Siobhan Quinn. I and her other constant readers were aware that she already had an ongoing series, in short stories and comics, about a demon hunter, Dancy Flammarion, a teenage girl who roams the American South slaying anything a seraph tells her to slay. Kiernan's Dancy stories however are fairly straight dark fantasy stories. Kiernan's Quinn novels by contrast are written as a response to the urban fantasy genre as it manifests itself in television shows and paperback novels. She probably wouldn't mind having a commercial success with it, but she mainly intended it as a parody of the works of those darn hack writers who outsell her. She hasn't tried to write like them though, instead showing them how a profane and literate author would handle their material.

Her Quinn is a teenage homeless Lesbian heroin addict who gains a reputation in some quarters as a demon hunter largely on the basis of two accidental kills. She acquires a sponsor of sorts, a man with supernatural connections who takes care of her with the same amount of empathy that a good-natured pimp would show. She hunts, not in Dancy's South, but in the wilds of New England, Providence, especially, whose geography is described in affectionate detail. Her mouth is foul. She is more literate than you would expect a girl who dropped ran away from home and school when she was twelve, but, understand that she often took shelter in the local public library, whose kindly librarians not only let her stay and read, but gave her reading suggestions. And then, to paraphrase her words - and her language - she gets bit on the ass by a werewolf and bit by a vampire who wants a weapon. She is no longer human but a twice damned monster.

How well does Kiernan bring this off? One thing that threw my critical faculties off was Quinn as a character and a narrator. Quinn doesn't mind letting her readers know that she is unreliable, that she tries to make herself look better than she is. She also reminds us that she is a poorly educated dropout who is writing her first book. That can be an interesting conceit and it can also be d-d annoying. I am happy to say that Kiernan breaks character long enough to create strange and memorable characters, more bent than in the other urban fantasies I've read, and to bring off some excellent set pieces. Most impressive by far is her visit to a volcanic hell (under the Northeast?!) where she must make an agreement with a fire demoness with a burned black face that has blue eyes peering out. ( )
  Coach_of_Alva | Jun 2, 2013 |
Once again I am blown away by the way this author's mind works. Tricksy, mesmerizing, and just plain fantastic. Quinn is as much defined by her addiction as by her supernatural powers. An unreliable narrator who I never gave up on, I don't know how Tierney manages to write such dark stories without ever overwhelming my interest in her flawed, fragile characters.

Full review to follow.

Sexual Content: References to sex, abuse, and prostitution. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Oh, man, totally delightful. Which is a peculiar thing to say about a book with some of the flat-out grossest scenes I've ever read. (What happens when a werewolf eats something that her human half can't really digest? You don't want to know. Really.) I've read kind of a lot of urban fantasy, and when it's good, I like it, but it's often... kind of bad, and Blood Oranges is a response to the particular flavor of badness that is far too common in the subgenre. It totally works - the protagonist is the right person to comment on stupid media tropes, the world is sharply realized and dark in the "secret history" sort of way, that builds on real darkness, not dependent on an alternate-universe twist. The plot is not shocking but horrifying - it's clear pretty early on what the general shape of it will be (although the unreliable narration keeps it from plodding) but the details make it fascinating and awful.

The narration is worth a separate comment - it's the exact sort of intimate, fourth-wall-breaking style that Cherie Priest used to great effect in the stylistically similar (although tonally opposite) Bloodshot, which I also adored. Blood Oranges's protagonist is a junky who is at pains to point out that she's not a very good writer - she tells things out of order, holds back details, lies through her teeth - but Tierney is a very good writer, and all of those seeming lapses make the book far more interesting. I am totally on board.

(The fake author bio at the end is worth a read, too, if you usually skip those things. "Kathleen Tierney" is, as it says on the cover, Caitlin R. Kiernan, and she clearly has very little patience with the pen name. I was doubly delighted by the author's supposed place of residence - I went to high school in Deerfield, and I assume the reference to a house trailer was deliberate mockery, because it's... not that sort of town.) ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathleen Tierneyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kiernan, Caitlin R.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowers, SabrinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kang, PatrickCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You know what the definition of a hero is? It's someone who gets other people killed. You can look it up later.

—Zoë Washburne
Revenge is never a straight line. It's a forest. And like a forest, it's easy to lose your way....

—Hattori Hanzô
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First off, taking out monsters absolutely doesn't come with a how-to manual.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451465016, Paperback)

My name’s Quinn.
If you buy into my reputation, I’m the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I’m an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or…whatever.
Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn’t commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was “saved” by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too.
So now…now, well, you wouldn’t think it could get worse, but you’d be dead wrong.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:43:54 -0400)

"My name's Quinn. If you buy into my reputation, I'm the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I'm an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or...whatever. Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn't commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was "saved" by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too. So now...now, well, you wouldn't think it could get worse, but you'd be dead wrong"--… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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