Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I just want to get through every fucking day, as well as I can, until I finally die like everyone I care about did.”
Eve Blackthorn’s world has always been filled with vampires. Saved by a vampire as a teenager, Eve had no way of knowing the impact he would have on her future. She eventually falls in love with him and they marry, much to the dismay of some. Days after their wedding, her entire family is massacred and her husband, Robert, is convicted and executed for the crime. Now Eve works in a brothel, servicing the men who took her husband from her. She has reached a point where she no longer cares what happens to her. She is disconnected and broken. Everyone she has ever loved is gone; ripped brutally away from her without a single chance of saying goodbye. Left to her own devices in a world that wants her dead, she knows the vampire government had something to do with her family’s murder and her husband’s death but she has no way to prove it.
Eve pulls herself out of her downward spiral with the help of some unusual allies. As the truth begins to reveal itself, the secrets the vampire government are hiding points directly towards Eve. She learns that she has been merely made a pawn in a plot that threatens everyone. A plot that forces her to ally with the very monsters who ripped her world out from under her. As the clock ticks down, Eve will use whoever and whatever she can to avenge her husband, her family, and take back her life.
Absolution, book one in McGurk’s Vampire Alliance, is a noir urban fantasy with nail biting suspense, delicious betrayal, dangerous antagonists, and an underlying theme of heartbreak and sorrow. McGurk gives us a new look at vampires that is both appealing and appalling. Lush world building combined with highly complex and multi layered characters tells a dark story driven by the emotions of those who live it. The first half is slow to develop as the narratives alternate between Eve’s present and her husband’s past. Though it was a little rough acclimating between the two voices and seemingly unrelated storylines, as we continue reading, the two stories merge and you begin to see the big picture. From there, the story races to unfold along an illuminated path-only showing so much as you walk a twisted path with our protagonist. The smooth writing and descriptive detailing drew me in and I found myself becoming heavily vested in the characters outcomes. Ms. McGurk takes her time in developing her characters and their connections to the world and one another.
No person in here is exempt from judgement and everyone has an end game. Good and evil are merely words. The degrees of separation are fine threads whose ties become more visible as the story progresses. The past controls the future and this is amply displayed as we are given an intimate view of vampire politics and how the decisions Eve’s husband made in the past affected his future.
Visions of David and Goliath come to mind as we watch Eve face adversaries galore in her quest to discover who set in motion the events that sent her down a path of no redemption. Misdirection is your best friend as McGurk unveils a Machiavellian plotline that leaves readers and Eve reeling from the possible implications.
The romance of the story reveals slowly like a faint ray of hope. Lightweight and still developing, it packs very emotional punch. We see many different emotional entanglements- family, friendship, and love. Eve’s trust has been completely shattered and she struggles to kept everyone at bay. They all run parallel to the main storyline and are used to reinforce the main conflict.
As I raced towards the ending, I felt like I was on a roller coaster, my stomach pitching and rolling as each new clue and dramatic scene unfolded. I like how everything isn’t explained away and some decisions made, though I didn’t agree with them all, were the only choices that could be made. The ending is a climactic finale that satisfies the immediate storyline but leaves a cliffhanger that guarantees you need to pick up book two, Allegiance, which is available now.
If you looking for a unique character driven Urban Fantasy that delivers a fresh outlook on vampires, then I recommend getting Angela Louise McGurk’s Absolution.
The Jeep Diva