First off, I’m part of a blog tour! And that means that along with my review and an excerpt of the book, you can enter to win a copy of The Emblazoned Red! Enter the raffle at the end of this post. And now for the review…
I want to start by saying I really liked The Emblazoned Red. I thought it was well written, had a nice fast pace, and a lot of great conflict between multiple characters. But the reason I’m giving it three stars instead of four is because of the formatting.
Now it may be that the copy of the book reviewers receive is different from the one on sale, but either way, I found it frustrating reading my copy. For some reason, every chapter was repeated. So the book read something like, prologue, prologue, chapter 1, chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 2, and so on. This was a little confusing, and it really took me out of the story. I often found myself engrossed in the book, and I would forget which chapter I was in. Then, when I started reading a new chapter, it would take me a while to realize I had already read that chapter and I had to work hard to get back into the story.
Formatting issues aside, I enjoyed The Emblazoned Red. The prologue threw me off a little because I thought this book would be just about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised to read about Ilka the paladin’s journey and her personal struggle with grief. I liked that she is a strong female protagonist, and her story alone was compelling. On a side note, it did feel a little weird reading about Ilka, an 18-year-old girl, having sex with the 41-year-old pirate Nate Sutton. But their relationship was well drawn out and I think White did a good job of showing Ilka fighting with her feelings and Nate caring and protecting her.
There were other complex characters who can easily be expanded upon in the series. I’m curious to learn more about Augustine, the vampire, and Sylain the draughr. Personally I like when different types of magical and undead beings are brought together.
It did take me some time to fully understand the backstory of Ilka and Cameo, but The Emblazoned Red is related to White’s Trilogy of Shadows series, so I think this series can have more leeway.
A lot happened in this relatively short book, and at times I wish it had been expanded. On one hand, it felt like there were many chapters that ended with a big revelation or emotional scene, and then the next chapter just started with Ilka waking up. On the other hand, I liked the fast pace and I think a lot of times readers get attached to certain characters and storylines so they may think they want more when really they already have the perfect amount. I’m torn.
Overall, I’d recommend reading The Emblazoned Red. It’s fun and I did end up finishing it in one sitting, which shows how captivating it is, even with the formatting issues. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, and in the meantime, I may just have to get my fix with the Trilogy of Shadows.
“Beautiful Rhiannon …” he sighed, and sank his fangs into her neck, pressing her body down onto the pile of dead flowers atop her son’s grave.
He had been following her around the streets of Lockenwood for a good month. He had begun following the moment he had caught sight of her lithe body and her bright red hair. Sometimes he’d sit on top of a roof and just watch as she shopped or left work at night. As he got more daring, he’d slip inside the tavern where she worked, losing himself in the hot, dirty crowd within. His cold, hard body was shoved along through the crowd: peasants, villains, beggars. The poor and the evildoers all jam-packed within the smoke-stained tavern. And there was Rhiannon, fetching swill for each of them.
All of his efforts in the last month were now at their end. They reached the final climax with her death.
Augustine released her limp form and laid her down to rest with her dead baby, and then he sighed because it had come too soon. He had been longing to talk to her, that’s where this generally went. He wanted to get to know her a little before her inevitable death. Wanted to know who she was, what she thought, and what she thought of him. Perhaps he could’ve eased her sorrows for a time … but then, of course, the lust for her blood would’ve gotten the better of him, and he’d have had to kill her. But still, this was basically a wasted month.