Reviewed by Tori
Sergeant Duncan O’Conner has seen it all before. A beautiful erotic dancer is found murdered in her home—no suspect, no motive. But there’s one clue: she’s missing her heart. It’s enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It’s a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures.
Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer’s final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie’s skills to the test, O’Conner’s career at risk, and both their hearts on the line…literally. (Goodreads)
Callie Brown is a high blood. An orphan whose parents left her at Valhalla, this gifted necromancer who is often called in to read a murder victim’s last thoughts. When she is called to a crime scene of a young woman whose death speaks of the paranormal, Callie finds her powers blocked and receives a message from a man who’s similar powers out shine hers.
Duncan O’Conner, a human cop, has seen this type of kill before and looks forward to seeing his favorite High Blood again. Though carrying alot of emotional baggage, Duncan has worked with Callie before and wants more than just a working relationship. When Duncan learns that Callie is unable to read the victim and getting threatened by an unknown High Blood, his protectiveness goes into hyperdrive and he finds himself willing to do anything to keep her safe.
Born In Blood is the start of the new paranormal suspense series by Alexandra Ivy. High bloods (humans born special paranormal abilities) live in a domed city, invisible to the human eye, called Valhalla. High bloods, considered freaks by the more prejudicial humans, are often called in to help the wholly human population when crimes are committed by other high bloods.
An interesting premise that promises an action packed PNR suspenseful storyline, a new world to explore, and unique engaging characters. Unfortunately, all this couldn’t make the book work completely for me. I was bored at times reading it. While it offers something new, it doesn’t always keep its promise. The beginning starts out incredible slow as Ivy builds the world and storyline for us. The romance takes up a considerable portion of the storyline but the action is placid. Everytime Callie and Duncan would start something, it fades to an unrelated scene. Same with the main conflict. You get plenty of scene time but just when you expect the action to start, you switch to another scene. I never got enough of one particular plotline to appreciate or become engaged with what was happening. The last quarter picks up speed but again, we are denied fully action packed scenes. Even the climactic ending to the main conflict is resolved off screen then discussed.
Regardless of my issues, there were aspects I liked. The world building is interesting. Ivy takes her time describing the political and prejudicial racism that is present in the world. I liked the symbolism behind a mystical city called Valhalla. It’s hierarchy is deceptively complex and I enjoyed meeting the various occupants whose coming stories are hinted at. Callie’s bff is a humorous force to be reckoned with and I feel for her hero. The villain and plot line develops nicely. There is an twist that comes out left field that amps the suspense, I just wish it had finished with more of a bang.
I enjoyed Duncan and Callie. Both are intelligent, loyal, nice people. Duncan has a sexy protective alpha vibe going that Callie has no problems dealing with. Likewise, Callie likes Duncan and while not submissive to him in the least, she doesn’t mind his chest beating moments. In fact, she teases him when they happen. No real heavy baggage for them to work through. Duncan into Callie and vice versa. We don’t see them from the very beginning, when they first met, so any conflict we see now is minor. The attraction is full blown from page one and the only thing left for them is acting on it. Even that is a minor hurdle for them. Lots of sexual tension and steamy chemistry. Both Callie and Duncan have their moments of insecurity that affects their lives and the job they’re on but that only serves to add a sense of realism to their character make up.
All in all, Ivy’s newest series offers a promise of exciting things to come in the future. Engaging characters and a unique world is the appeal that almost solidifies this. It has a faint superhero feel to it that is a refreshing change from the shifters/vampires that normally populate PNR. While I wasn’t completely taken with this installment, my interest is tickled enough to look towards book two, title and release date to be announced.