Bloodlaced by Courtney Maguire
Part of the Bloodlaced blog tour
“Are you a man or a woman?” she asked, her nose millimeters from mine. The same question I’d been asked a million times before. I only ever had one answer.
“I am Asagi.”
I really like how very different this book is from others in the vampire genre. If I was to compare it to any of the ones I’ve read, I’d probably say it fits in with Shari Sakurai’s Demon’s Blood series in that both are set in historical Japan and follow the characters’ struggles around vampirism. Bloodlaced is a nuanced character study and a good bit of the book occurs before the fantasy element comes in. The story focuses heavily on the effects of imbalanced relationships, and especially how these relationships impact those without a say in their circumstances.
There are some spoilers herein.
The story begins with Asagi and Tsukito, two household slaves, the day they are sold to a new master (who is a complete arsehole, let’s be clear). It’s a horrible, brutal place where both are abused. And no matter how hard Asagi works to keep Tsukito safe, things get very dark and bleak for the pair. Eventually, Asagi is bought by a new master, Mahiro.
I was unsure of Mahiro at the start, although Asagi certainly wasn’t:
Like a fool, I’d fallen in love with the moon, and once again it was out of my reach.
To be sure, Mahiro is nothing like Asagi’s previous master and encourages opinions and respect amongst members of the household. And so Asagi quickly falls in love with Mahiro. Asagi also makes friends with Kira, who hides a secret about her relationship with Mahiro and is, awkwardly, madly in love with him. So the closer Asagi and Mahiro become, the more jealous she gets.
Asagi soon learns that Mahiro is a blood-drinking immortal. Though Asagi’s reaction is bad at first, soon they grow closer and become deeply attached to each other. But the joy doesn’t last long. An unfortunate series of events leads to Mahiro turning Asagi into a creature just like him. Something Asagi isn’t remotely delighted about. Worse, the longer they’re together, the more Asagi realises that Mahiro is not an equal, nor views himself as such, and resentment builds slowly on Asagi’s side.
He was still my master. I might not have been bound in chains, but I had become a slave of another kind, bound by blood and time.
I was so glad Asagi realised this and didn’t excuse Mahiro’s views simply because he was kinder than some. (I was worrying, guys. WORRYING.) As time goes on, Asagi begins to push back and I was rooting so hard for Asagi to find Tsukito and get the happy ending that was denied to both of them.
The ending was straight up AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER. I wasn’t expecting any of the final twists, but overall I really liked how how everything came together in the end. A very impressive start to a new series!
Really excited to read what happens next!
I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review as part of the Bloodlaced Blog Tour.
If you like Bella Forrest, P. C. Cast, AJ Tipton, or Anne Rice, you will love this beautiful dark paranormal fantasy romance.
Publisher: City Owl Press (September 29, 2020)
Releases on: September 29, 2020
Genre: LGBTQIA Dark Historical Paranormal Romance
Amazon Paperback: https://smarturl.it/Youkai1AmzPrt
City Owl: https://smarturl.it/Youkai1CO
About the Author:
Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas. Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country.