I love vampire stories and I had never read this author before, for me an intriguing combination.
Author: Sarah Goodwin
Publisher: Self Published
Rating: 5.0 of 5 Stars
Bailey lives in a world where vampires are real, and not everyone’s happy about it, least of all him.
Because of a law introduced before his birth, Bailey is a donor, the one person from his family who has to live in a vampire’s compound, and provide them with blood. A life sentence in all but name. Bailey was eighteen when he first came to a vampire’s home, leaving his brother and sister behind, and, six years later, he hasn’t seen the outside world since.
When Bailey is bought by a rich, incredibly old vampire, and moves to a new house, he finds that not all vampires are the same, and his new boss, Cohen, is not what he’d thought him to be at all.
As Bailey begins to feel an attachment growing between him and the vampire he serves, he also becomes aware of the disappearance of donors, and witnesses hideous executions as the terrorist group The Martyred Lamb fights to eradicate vampires, and all humans who sympathise with them.
And then there’s the question of what really happened to his family…
I start this review with an apology. When I saw a self published book by an author I had not encountered before I made the assumption that I would be reviewing typos and grammatical errors. Well you know what they say about ‘assume’ and in this situation the saying is apt. I did find some typos but after a few pages I stopped caring. This is a gem of a vampire novel.
Sarah Goodwin’s writing is dense, dark and sucks you into a tale of an almost dystopian alternate present. Here vampires have come out of hiding and now have their rights enshrined in the laws of the land. Part of these legal rights include one member of every human family, with no history of wrongdoing, being allocated as a donor to a vampire. These donors leave their homes and live in the vampire households usually until they die or another member of their family grows up enough to take over.
Bailey, the main protagonist of this novel, is one such donor as was his father and grandfather before. Even though he is the youngest member of his family, his older brother’s ill health and his older sister’s relocation, to serve in a vampire household in Alaska, means the burden fell to him. Needless to say the taking of donors, and the strangeness and isolation of vampires themselves, cause opponent factions to set up. One such terrorist – or revolutionary – organisation is called The Martyred Lamb. Where your sympathies lie in this novel evolves as the story progresses, which is what makes this novel so believable for me. Experiences and beliefs are not set in stone, and I think some reviews I have read for this book do not allow for this. The opposition of TML and other terrorists ensure the vampires are paranoid about security even though there are laws, which ensure terrible consequences for those who hurt, betray or kill a vampire. The usual punishment is execution by gas, live on national Television. As with any draconian, possibly unjust law and punishment, these executions do not further any sympathies for vampire situations.
Bailey lives for six years in virtual isolation in a couple of basement rooms, after being made donor to a vampire called Desane. The descriptions of his dull daily routine and boredom are absorbing and started the empathy and understanding I had for Bailey. His only distraction in life is feeding, and occasionally sexually servicing, his vampire master. He has become institutionalised by this existence, which makes him feel useless with no purpose in life and we find his thoughts about suicide have been many and creative. His life changes totally when he meets vampire Cohen. What I loved is how during his short period of luxury, understanding, friendship and burgeoning feelings for his vampire, Cohen, Bailey’s doubts about his usefulness and purpose in life remain. He doesn’t see himself as a victim rather as someone who simply has no purpose in society. However, the part he will play in his society would shock the Bailey we meet at the beginning of this story. ‘Heartless’ contains progression and change in all of it’s characters, which is no mean feat to achieve. I think this is one of the best vampire novels I have read in a long while.
I did not find this novel depressing, which is one of the criticisms levelled at it in reviews. When I finished I was alive with thoughts for discussion. It opens up so many avenues for social and political investigation and opinion. This novel takes you on a very intense journey and then gives you a good ending, which is happy and believable. Do not expect a Twilight, this is Vampire as political situation not as debonair love interest. This would be an excellent novel for a book club, as the discussions it would instigate would be many and interesting. A 5* read for me.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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