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B.K. Raine lives in North Carolina with her husband, teenage daughter, two dogs, and a cat she insists isn’t actually hers because every at she’s ever owned has died a sudden and gruesome death. Raine works as an advertising executive in the media and publishing industry, but had been an author since she was 16, penning her first book on wide-eyed paper with a No. 2 pencil. Her first editor told her she couldn’t write but had some great ideas, and if she was willing to leave her pride at the door, he’d teach her the rest.
Blood Toy is the debut novel in Raine’s dark urban fantasy series. Its follows the protagonist, Diane. She has been a vampire hunter for 3 years at the point of the book. In the novel, she is being lead by a voice in her head that tells her how to kill vampires. This happened to her ever since vampires murdered her family.
The typical vampire sucks their victim’s blood and disappears into the night. The vampires o this story don’t quite do that. While specifics of vampirism isn’t exactly told, readers gets parts from some characters. For instance, each vampire has a different ability. Some can shift into animals while others can create mental illusions. It also seems they can be out during the daylight. Killing them is also different with injecting salt in their veins. While I like when authors use anold topic and spin it a bit, it can be a bit confusing. For readers to understand the villains and situation, it makes the story more enjoyable.
The novel’s tone is abrasive and aggressive at times. Readers are given a way to see the behind the scenes of fighting vampires. Diane is lonely and bitter with life in many ways. She wants a “normal” life, but continues to walk her path until she meets resolve for the death of her family.
The plot follows several other characters as well. Of Diane’s makeshift crew, there is Roger, Mace, and Bree. Roger and Mace are brothers. Mace inherited werewolf genetics and Roger is able to communicate with animals. Bree is telekinetic and uses this power to fight and for protection. This team is fighting against a group of vampires and a demon. The major villain of the group is Desollador. He is a powerful vampire that wants to make Diane into an emotional and sexual human toy. The story focuses on the abusive relationship that Desollador has with Diane. At some points they are just the hero and villain fighting each other. While in other parts, Diane is discovering that she has some feelings for Desollador.
Because of the plot following other characters as well, the story jumps around a bit. If there was greater detail and transition, it wouldn’t feel quite as jumbled. There were quite a few entities involved in the story and all of them had a lot of back story that wasn’t really mentioned. Leading from that as well, certain portions could’ve used more information as well to have a greater connection with the scenario. There were times that I felt lost and had to backtrack to make sure I knew what was happening or to understand a connection that was made.
Overall though, I believe Blood Toy is a relatively short read that can give your reading a change of pace. Raine introduces characters and stories that readers can acknowledge from situation after situation. While exploring the darker side of life and fantasy, Raine has created a storyline with plenty of energy.