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Bloodline - Read book #1 first

Bloodline - Barbara Elsborg

Bloodline is a m/m romance sequel/continuation of the m/f urban fantasy romance Jumping in Puddles. This is important to note because even though Bloodline follows fae Micah, the first book follows his sister Ellie and the rest of their family’s quest for some stolen faerie jewels.

Having not read book 1, I can only assume that it must have ended close to where Micah’s story in book 2 starts—where he and Ellie fall through a portal and into the bedroom of Oberon, king of the fae and overall sadistic bastard. Ellie is let go, but Micah is kept by the king as a prisoner/plaything, but before things get too dire for our book 2 hero, he meets another poor soul that’s caught in Oberon’s schemes—Inigo, a vampire tattoo artist who has been given an impossible task.

Inigo and Micah quickly bond over their terrible circumstances with the Fae king, and also over their mutual attraction for each other and soon start working together. Things quickly shift to rescue-mode, and even move out of Fairyland as Micah and Inigo get wrapped up into a new quest while still trying to evade Oberon’s hunters.

That sounds very exciting and it was! At the beginning, I was totally drawn into poor Micah and Inigo’s plight. After their escape though, I started following less, and when they flee fairyland, the story felt a little less sure of itself as more characters and events (and sexy times) were added, and for me, things felt far less compelling compared to the beginning.

First off—I REALLY felt a disconnection for not reading book 1. Past events were referred to in book 2 that I assumed happened or were explained more in book 1, but here, they had less weight and meaning, and I found many of the carry-over characters (Ellie, Jago, Jayne, Pixie, etc,) either annoying or superfluous. (And my guess is that they were more sympathetic in the previous volume. Except maybe Pixie, who is like spoiled teenager.)

For instance, Ellie was the main character in book 1, but what I saw of her character in book 2 made me feel no pull for her, and her impetuousness in the beginning felt a bit TSTL. In another instance, the shifter character of Jayne had very little purpose, which felt strange in this book because she was the reason why Micah put himself in danger in the first place. It felt odd to have that part so quickly resolved and removed. It made me wonder if there had been more weight or explanation in the previous volume with those events.

My disconnection grew much stronger as more characters entered the scene. That and the multiple sex scenes in the second half slowed the pacing down for me and added what felt like padding. When another sex scene popped up somewhere past the 80% mark, I did skim it while wondering when the climax (not the sexy kind) was going to pop up.

In the end, I felt a little frustrated. I love fantasy and urban fantasy, and I don’t dislike Elsborg’s writing. I just felt not connected enough to the characters in this volume to really enjoy it.

Do I recommend this book? I recommend Bloodline to fans of m/f and m/m urban fantasy and I recommend that you read book 1. I think you will get the maximum enjoyment out of this series. For me, who doesn’t read m/f, I definitely felt the loss.

But if you are a big urban fantasy romance fan, then this may hit all your buttons.

Will I continue reading the series? Not for this one. I do like Elsborg’s style though, and I thought it was quite creative, so I would definitely check out another m/m fantasy work by her.

Reviewed first for Boys in our Books.