House of Comarre

Bad Blood (House of Comarre #3) – Leaves a bad taste in your mouth

Bad Blood Kristen Painter House of ComarreI’m getting a little worried that I’m falling out of love with this series. I think the first book was well crafted and intriguing. The second book lost a little steam for me because I did’t enjoy the introduction of a love triangle and there were too many characters to keep up with. It also had a cliffhanger which I normally hate, but I didn’t mind it because there was only a month long wait for the next book as opposed to 6 months to over a year like for other series. Well, this one has a cliffhanger too—it turns out the House of Comarre series is not a trilogy! I was slightly mislead due to the release schedule of the first three books, but I don’t fault the author. I just wasn’t paying close enough attention.

The murder rate has spiked in Paradise City as faux Comarre are turning up dead. The Kubai Mata are on top of it, trying to get these grizzly attacks under control. Crysabelle, still healing from her injuries in the prior novel, presses on with her mission and goal to locate long lost family. She goes to New Orleans with Mal to obtain the Ring of Sorrows which is the necessary leverage she will need. Of course, nothing is simple. There’s also the little issue of Samhain, where the mortal world will merge with other worlds filled with all kinds of demons and creepy crawlies. However will they get out of this one?

The third book has a good blend of action and plot, but there are even more characters added to the storyline. Most urban fantasy books don’t take this approach and while unique, I realize that I’m not a fan of multiple POVs and side stories. I feel like I’m reading a supernatural soap opera. I think one could argue that the cover should include more characters because Crysabelle doesn’t get most of the focus anymore. I would have preferred more Crys and Mal screen time and development. One positive is that the triangle is resolved, but I’m left wondering why it was introduced in the first place. To end so quickly means it was wasted page space where there could have been other developments.

If you’ve read the other two books then I do recommend you read this one so that you can see the story progress, but don’t expect much because individual plot lines are spread thin thanks to a 400 page limit for this borderline epic fantasy. Honestly, the book felt even shorter than that.  I really liked the potential of the first book, but the series isn’t really turning out how I’d hoped.  Unless I hear that it rebounds, I think I might pass on the 4th book.

Flesh and Blood – Book 1 was better, but I sort of expected that

Flesh and Blood Kristen Painter House of Comarre #2Crysabelle and the gang are back without much of a wait in this second installment of the House of Comarre series by Kristen Painter. The storyline for Flesh and Blood continues from book 1, so this entry does not work well as a standalone.

Crysabelle hasn’t seen Malkolm for months since her mother’s funeral, making for pretty crazy tension when they reunite. He still needs her help to rid him of his curse, so that is a large plot point of the book.

There are a lot of things happening, so the author often switches back and forth between multiple POVs. I didn’t mind it so much in the first book because it was primarily Crysabelle, Mal, and Tatiana. Now we add more of Dominic (her mother’s former lover), Doc (shapeshifter friend) and Creek (new badass human vampire slayer from the Kubai Mata). That just names a few, but the point is clear. This made the book cluttered at times which kind of hindered my enjoyment.

Another new aspect that almost had me contemplating taking a break was the love triangle. It is so awkward and out of nowhere. Creek as a character is fine, but I just don’t understand the need to inject the love-interest angle with him. No, it does not make the story more appealing because the author ends up busy focusing on romance angles for two guys instead of using that time to keep the plot interesting. I am hoping soooo badly that this gets resolved in the next book.

Tatiana is a grade A beotch and is completely unrelatable, regardless of anything that’s happened in her past. This makes her a bit more one-dimensional than I was hoping for. I tend to enjoy complex villains, especially if we have to sit through her POV. However, she’s not the only bad guy in town as a we’re introduced to two new surprise adversaries that I imagine will get a lot more face time in the next book. You think things are bad now…just wait.

While I had more gripes here than in book 1, I do enjoy the action along with the Crys/Mal screen time. I also enjoyed Mal coming out of his shell a little more. He’s definitely a fighter and I liked seeing that aggressive side come out on something other than a poor helpless victim.

This book ends with a cliffhanger, which wasn’t at all surprising since the 3rd book was slated to come out soon after. This is specifically why I waited until it was released so that I can read them both together.

So overall, I give this book a 3.5 because I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, but it is still worth a read. I expected this because book 3 follows soon after, signaling that a lot of issues would remain unresolved.

Blood Rights – In this instance, you *can* judge a book by its cover

It is always touch and go when you decide to dive into a new series.  I approached the first book of the Comarre trilogy with a little trepidation thinking that it could just be eye candy and little else.  I’ve been burned before on that one.  Thankfully, this is worth a read.

It primarily follows Chrysabelle, a member of a special breed of humans known as the Comarre.  Their blood is especially potent, making them ideal companions to vampires.  Once their “blood rights” are claimed, a Comarre or Comar (for males) can only be released from their bond by their vampire patron’s will or if their patron dies.  Crysabelle’s patron…dies, but it turns out he was murdered and it is looking like she is the culprit.  That is certainly a no-no in their society, so Crysabelle goes on the run until she can figure out his murderer and clear her name. She runs into Malkom, a vampire who has remained far removed from their society. He has his own demons to fight and as they work together, they have to stop an even greater evil from gaining power that could destroy mankind and the vampire society alike.

I read this book coming off the heels of a super fast-paced series.  I can say that the slower pace was welcome.  It’s not too slow, but it’s just right to keep you from becoming bored.   I can be easily annoyed by the female leads when it comes to urban fantasy series, but thankfully Crysabelle is a likable heroine and the Comarre society is interesting. I enjoyed the build up of tension between Crysabelle and Malkom and I expect that to continue through the other two books in the series.  The supporting cast could be improved.  There was one character I rather liked, but everyone else seemed more generic and disposable.  

The biggest plus to this series is that each new installment is only one month apart, so there will be no significant waiting to see what happens next and no long-term commitment.  It only gets 4 stars because it wasn’t super intense to the point of where it was hard to put the book down.  The story is still pretty good though and because of that, I certainly plan to keep up with this one.

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