Followers of this blog will be familiar with Elizabeth’s work already as she was interviewed for Vampire month and has been in attendance with me on a number of signing events, most recently the Manchester Author Signing in August. At that event she was launching her latest book – Blood Secrets, the long awaited sequel to Cranberry Blood and the next in the Blood series of Vampire novels.
Blood Secrets takes up the story more or less straight after the end of Cranberry Blood. Heather Ryan, our vampire slayer infected with vampire blood, is on the outskirts of Venice in Italy, on the trail of the ancient vampire her family has been trying to kill for centuries. But first she has to deal with local supernatural politics as she attempts to convince the local werewolf pack to allow her and the members of the UK pack she has an alliance with to enter Venice in search of both the vampires who live there and the kidnapped pack members who were snatched at the end of Cranberry Blood.
There follows an intense thrill ride of a plot where Heather and her love interest Werewolf, Brendan, explore Venice looking for vampires and the captured members of the pack.
This is a far heftier tome than Cranberry Blood, verging on 100,000 words and covering a lot more scope. It also brings in two new Point of View characters in addition to Heather and Brendan. One is Eve, the daughter of the UK Pack leader, who is a Loup – a woman born to a werewolf but who does not have the shapechanging abilities. The other is Galen, the immortalised teenager, who is the Bloodling (or childe) of the Vampire Heather is chasing. In less skilled hands, this approach may have come across as clumsy or amateurish (and it does seem to be a popular style following GRR Martin’s use of it in A Song of Ice and Fire) but Morgan manages to make each voice different and every scene is relevant as seen through the eyes of the PoV character. The Brendan/Heather scenes are pretty much as written in Cranberry Blood – entertainingly alternating their views on each other and their relationship while the action happens around them. The Eve scenes allow us to see her fate in the Vampire run research facility she ends up in and the Galen scenes offer a fascinating insight into the mind of the enemy and the complicated stratagems in play from their side.
The story also pulls no punches. As the title suggests, there are a lot of secrets revealed in this instalment and Heather has her worldview shattered on a number of occasions. Her faith in her family is sorely tested and her relationship with the werewolves changes massively through the events in this book.
If there is a flaw it is that the end goes on a little too long. Stuff happens which to me feels it may have been better suited to the opening chapters of the third and final instalment. Closing the curtain a few scenes earlier may have been more effective in inciting interest in book three. However, this is only a minor issue and the events of the final few scenes are still relevant and interesting. The big reveals in this book do lead me to wonder if there is anything left secret at all in this series. Are there more reveals in book three? If so, what on earth could be left to find out that hasn’t already been spilled here?
In all, a very solid and entertaining second book in a trilogy that expands on the world building, develops the characters and leads us nicely into what promises to be an epic finale in book three.