The Vampires Bite...and Suck - 2.5 Stars
Before I say anything further, I think it is important to state that this review is for the Audiobook version narrated by Christian Baskous. I really did enjoy [b:The Blood Gospel|15818164|The Blood Gospel (The Order of the Sanguines, #1)|James Rollins|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1357605320s/15818164.jpg|21545770]. I was expecting the second installment to begin where we left off and to be filled with the action and discovery of the first book. In fact, I listed to the audiobook version of the first installment which was narrated by the same person. I don't always advise when I am reviewing an audiobook but in this case, the narration played a major role in my rating. Bad narration can ruin your enjoyment of an otherwise entertaining book.
After the events of the first book, our heroes, human and vampire, come back together to save the world as foretold in the Blood Gospel. The previously unknown (and evil) leader of the strigoi and human alliance reveals himself and his plan to begin Armageddon and told in the Book of Revelation. Are our heroes fighting against inevitable prophecy, being used for some other purpose or fighting against the pride and presumption of a single man.
The Good They Did One Thing Right
I read the first in the series nearly a year ago and quickly realized I could not remember the majority of the plot from the first installment. While most subsequent books in a series require some recap, I think it is lazy and poor writing to provide a recap on the reader by dumping the info in a massive download. Rollins and Cantrell expertly recap the first book by reminding us of events from time to time throughout the book. Despite my lack of memory, this kept me from feeling lost as I read the book.
The Bad An Elegy for James Rollins
Ok. This might be a bit of exaggeration but seriously, I have high expectations when I read a James Rollins novel. Generally, the characters well devised, the plot is taunt while moving quickly and the story is well research and intelligent. Unfortunately, none of these adjective describe this book.
While there were many characters, they were often confused, disoriented and unsure of themselves. While I appreciate a good broken and unsure character, I was never able to grasp exactly what it was that motivated the characters (beside the desire that the world not end) from scene to scene. The characters were simply not interesting or not likeable. This is quite the accomplishment considering I liked each of the characters in the first book.
The plot failed to get off the ground. The plot was as confused as the characters. Most James Rollins novels involves characters unfolding or solving some mystery. In this novels, the characters spent the majority of their time chasing shadows without much in the way of a plan. In the end it was only in part luck and logical leaps that allowed them to figure out the pieces missing to solve the puzzle. Additionally, this volume lacks Rollins trademark action. There is very little confrontation between characters and when there is, our heroes are impotent and unable to act. What is with this Guy
It is hard for me to understand how I can find great enjoyment in the narration of the first book but despise it in the second book. In this book it is as if the narrator took vocal lessons from some daytime soap stars. The pace was soap opera dramatic throughout and ran the gambit from melodramatic to cheesy. The voices he used were mostly bad. Most of the vampires sounded like the traditional, `I vant to suck your blood` Transylvania type vampires. The female voices were either childish sounding or sounded like an effeminate man. While I appreciate that a man doing a female voice is always a difficult task, the narrator made it sound like he wasn`t even trying. I feel as if I would have enjoyed this book more and rated the book higher if I have read this as opposed to listening to it. I you have choice, pick up the book and skip the audio. Final Thoughts
I have read interviews with James Rollins where to states that his writing partner, Rebecca Cantrell, is the one who is providing the dark and taunt atmosphere of the novels. In this case, there was more atmosphere than content. While the novel made you feel as if you our late at night standing under a streetlamp with a light fog at your at your feet and pack of vampires at your back, the reader become lost in the fog, knocks his head on the lamppost, falls into the fog and is devoured by the undead. A sad day for James Rollins.
Audiobook Notes Content Advisories
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest
Sex - 2.5
While there are no sex scenes to speak of, there is an allusion to one and one interrupted scene. Beyond this, there is also discussion of the erotic feelings when one is turned into a vampire. Several of the characters recount these experience and feelings. There is significant sexual tension and desire between two of the characters for much of the book.
Language - 2
As in most James Rollins novel, adult language is at a premium. I do not recall any uses of the f-word and only minor usage of other adult language.
Violence - 3
There is considerable less violence in this installment. Most of the violence in Rollins novels occurs in confrontations. In this volume, the characters spend their times tracking the bad guys and there are only a few confrontations. A few people die during the confrontation but there is not graphic of gratuitous violence. There is some mild monster violence when there is a recounting of the characters transformation in a vampire state.