Right off the bat, this story is lighter then the last few have been. It starts out with Harry running from purple poo-flinging chimp-demons, which is less goofy then it sounds, to rescue a little of foo-dog puppies. And keeps going from there. This time, Harry has to help deflect a deadly curse from a visionary porn director, help out his vampire friend when his family comes after him, and root out a nest of vicious old-school Black Court vamps. Along the way, we get Kinkaid being too cool, Murphy in a dress, several extremely unlikely ways to die, family issues, a really cute dog, soulgazing on almost-human White Court vamps, mysteries about Harry's heritage, a good dose of his mentor, and some old fashioned vamp-hunting that goes way strange. Not to mention alot of porn stars, several crazy exes of the client, and the blood rituals of the title.
I'm glad Susan's out of the way. She's too good to be true, and she doesn't feel as real to me as all the other characters do. Plus, when she's gone, Murphy gets to be the main female in Harry's life, and she's more interesting. I like the way Harry and Murphy interact, and I like getting to know more about this badass chick.
And Thomas manages to have the sort of tragic lifestyle that vampires are always saddled with in these books without being all that typical at all, and the way Bucher plays with the steriotypes and comes out with freshness makes me happy.
The focus of this book was a little shifted; there's the massive three-part story line we've all come to expect, but the emphesis seemed to be more on characters this time, with less exploding of stuff and killing of badguys, though it wasn't at all lacking in that sort of thing. It just felt more... real, this time. This far into a series, it's easy to shorthand relationships and assume your readers know how everyone's connected and how they feel about each other, but Bucher isn't doing that, and I love him for it.
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