Title: Blood Kin
Series: The Half-Light City #2
Author: M.J. Scott
Format: Mass market, 336 pages
Published: June 5, 2012
ISBN #: 0451464583 / 9780451464583
My Copy: bought
Imagine a city divided. A city where human and Fae magic rests uneasily next to the vampire Blood and the shapeshifting Beasts. A city where a fragile peace is brokered by a treaty that set the laws for all four races… a treaty that is faltering day by day.
I didn’t plan on becoming a thief and a spy. But options are limited for the half-breed daughter of a Fae lord. My father abandoned me but at least I inherited some of his magic, and my skills with charms and glamours mean that few are as good at uncovering secrets others wish to hide. Right now the city has many secrets. And those who seek them pay so well…
I never expected to stumble across a Templar Knight in my part of the city. Guy DuCaine is sworn to duty and honor and loyalty — all the things I’m not. I may have aroused more than his suspicion but he belongs to the Order and the human world. So when treachery and violence spill threaten both our kind, learning to trust each other might be the only thing that saves us.
But even if a spy and a holy knight can work together, finding the key to peace is never going to be easy…
I was a little sad to learn that each installment in the Half-Light City series showcases a different couple; after having really enjoyed Shadow Kin I was reluctant to say goodbye to Lilly and Simon. However, I decided to give Guy and Holly the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, much to my chagrin, I found Blood Kin to be only a so-so read. The female protagonist in this book didn’t manage to capture my interest the way that her predecessor did and the plot isn’t nearly as compelling. I did enjoy the politics and the Steampunk-y feel of Scott’s universe and am interested in seeing if this series evens out in 2013 with the third novel.
My feelings towards this book’s characters are the opposite of what I felt towards Lilly and Simon. In the first novel I adored the female heroine but didn’t care for the male protagonist overly much while as in Blood Kin I fell in love with Guy but only had lukewarm feelings towards Holly. I wonder if Scott planned it that way? The Templar Knight was very, well… knightly, as you’d expect. He’s honorable, loyal and a devote practitioner. It was interesting watching him take a walk on the “dark side”; from learning the fine art of spying to tackling the slippery slope of inter-racial politics. He’s the ultimate good guy and Holly is tasked with helping him step away from his comfort zone which proves to be as entertaining as it is traumatic.
Half-Light City politics are once again front and center in this story. Tales of deceit, backstabbing and power plays abound; all key trouble causing ingredients. Holly holds an interesting position in their society because she doesn’t really have any allegiances; basically whoever is willing to pay her is considered a friend for the duration of their contract. Oftentimes while spying on one branch of supes she picks up information that’s invaluable to another sect which in turn leaves her in a precarious situation. This girl is definitely a master manipulator and knows how to walk a fine line!
This book’s plot line is closely connected to the events that happened in Shadow Kin and, as a result, it sort of comes across as a “dealing with the fallout” or “piggybacking” novel. Sure, Holly and Guy go off on their own to investigate the attacks on the Templars but everything eventually leads back to the original problem from the first book. Because of this, I found that there was a certain degree of predictability to this installment. The characters spend a great deal of time observing things from a distance (i.e. spying on rooftops and from theater balconies) which in turn causes the plot to progress at a much slower pace. Overall I found that Blood Kin was a silent observer more so than an active participant in this series’ action; a disappointment when compared to the adrenaline rush from the first novel.
Blood Kin is an eclectic mix of Fantasy, Steampunk and espionage with an abundance of political intrigue. The story actually reminded me of a game of chess; not terribly action-y but every move is minutely planned.