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Blood on the Tide by Katee Robert


CW/TW

CW lots of on-page violence and death. Lizzie isn’t a sparkling vampire, she’s very much a killing vampire.

I’m having a bit of a tryst with Katee Robert books lately and this one did not disappoint. After the events of Hunt on Dark Waters which I reviewed, I was desperate for what promised to be an epic sequel.

In book one, we are introduced to Lizzie, a truly fearsome vampire. At the start of book one, Evelyn (the heroine of book one) steals Lizzie’s family jewels and disappears into Threshold, a fantastical place between the different realms of which our world is one. For much of book one, Evelyn fears Lizzie’s retribution. Towards the end of book one, Lizzie makes an appearance in Threshold and …

Spoiler for Book One!

Lizzie and Evelyn make their peace. Lizzie agrees not to kill Evelyn and Bowen, Evelyn’s love, in exchange for passage on their ship.

Book two opens with Lizzie still on board the same ship as Evelyn. It’s a little crowded emotionally and uncomfortable, which makes sense if you’re familiar with book one, but nothing that steely, flint-like Lizzie can’t handle.

Nox, the captain of the ship and an agent for the Rebellion (which is fighting against the Cŵn Annwn (the bad people) has been tasked with saving a Rebellion agent from a nearby Cŵn Annwn ship. (I should add that Nox’s ship is on the surface also a Cŵn Annwn ship.) That agent happens to be Maeve, a selkie whose pelt has been stolen. She was out looking for it when she was captured by the Cŵn Annwn.

Nox and Lizzie murder/incapacitate (it’s a mixed bag) the entire crew of that bad Cŵn Annwn ship and save Maeve. Lizzie is intrigued despite herself, but Maeve is deeply unsure of this killing machine. Once Lizzie and Maeve reach a port, they decide to team up. First to get back Maeve’s pelt and second to get back Lizzie’s jewels that are theoretically still on the first ship that Evelyn travelled on in book one.

Lizzie is an anti-hero. She loves killing. Gets a visceral thrill from it. But with Maeve we see a different side to Lizzie. Not necessarily just softer, but a more rounded character. Maeve has trusted someone before and been badly burnt (the whole stolen pelt thing) and so she is slow to trust again. But something that these two do so well is always make the brave choice. This happens again and again. This is just one example of it:

My words are just as tentative; but they don’t sit right with me. The temptation to protect myself, to retreat from vulnerability, is nearly overwhelming. She’s baring a part of herself to me right now, something she’s never done before, and I refuse to do anything but match her energy.

This makes for wonderful reading. It would be so easy to cower, but NO! Not our two heroines! Through this bravery, they do a lot of growing. Lizzie has to choose between her family in the earth-realm and her relationship with Maeve. Maeve has to choose between stepping away from the comfort of her island home and taking on adventures with Maeve. Underpinned by all of this is their commitment to the Rebellion. Maeve is a true believer, but Lizzie only goes along with it because she wants to keep Maeve safe during the coming battles.

If you get a kick out of that ‘mine,’ possessive kind of love in books, then this book will tick that box for you. In real life, I can’t stand it, but give me a possessive paranormal creature and that really works for me.

I should add that Lizzie and Maeve’s growing closeness has the same feeling as slowly drifting into sleep. There is comfort and ease there as you nestle into the story, but more than that the process of our heroines falling in love is so gradual that you can’t really point to a single moment when things changed for them.

Our two heroines do have some real vulnerabilities, especially Lizzie, but they humanize her, and give her dimension beyond “Yay Murder.” Lizzie is deathly afraid of the sea. It would be so easy for such a ferocious predator to seem invincible, but this fear really softens her hard edges. Meanwhile, Maeve is a creature of the sea, and while she’s vulnerable without her pelt, and emotionally wounded by its loss and the betrayal of the thief, she grows stronger with Lizzie beside her.

When I review books, I stop intermittently to jot down notes. With Katee Robert books, I get so immersed so quickly that I forget to take notes. The story sucks me in comprehensively and this book is no exception to that rule. Yes, I am a sucker for vampires in all their forms, but Lizzie is something special. Maeve’s softness with a spine of steel really worked for me, too. If you’re interested in this series, definitely start with book one as the two are closely linked. I can heartily recommend both.



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