Friday, November 7, 2014

REVIEW: Blood Master

The G.O.Ds Series 1:
Blood Master
Kirsten Campbell

Genre: Science Fiction, Paranormal, Dystopian
Publisher: Kirsten Campbell
Publication date: 8.10.2014
Pages: 449

Recommended by: Sage's Blog Tours, Read 2 Review
Date read: 11.6.2014

2052: Two-thirds of the human population has been killed by the Great War, the Clover Virus and the Death Plague.  Only one man survived the Death Plague, an albino man named Griffin Storm.  He's the only albino in existence.  No one knows what happened to the other albinos, but most believe the rumors that they were eliminated by the Guild Faction's deadly experiments.
            Griffin is hiding out in Underground Atlanta.  He has special abilities.  He can manipulate crystal and glass.  He uses these abilities for good, raiding warehouses and old buildings for food and medical supplies to give the abandoned children that live in the Underground.  During a raid, he meets Tassta Vinetti.  She's a resident of the legendary Brotherhood Fortress.  Griffin is taken to the Brotherhood and chaos ensues as Tassta, her twin brother Penn, and her Uncle Lerin Sanctobous keep their new visitor and his untold powers secret.  They can not disclose that the only albino in existence is now at their fortress or they could all be in great danger.
            Fact is, the Guild is hunting Griffin.  He is the only survivor of their deadly experiments and his survival will have dynamic consequences.  The Guild believes Griffin will transform into a G.O.D., a Genetically-enhanced Omni Dimensional being.  If he transforms, he will have inter-dimensional doors within his body, doors that lead to heaven and hell.  Griffin will become a Blood Master and he'll be able to control the demons from the Dimension of Blood.
            Will Griffin save the children of the Underground from their tragic life?  Will he transform into a G.O.D. and become the Blood Master?  Only time will tell...

The story begins with Griffin, the only albino still alive, saving Tassta before she inadvertently gets caught by Guild Faction members.  After they part ways, he runs into Tassta's twin brother, Penn, who knocks him out with a rock and takes him back to their Uncle at the Brotherhood Fortress.  Griffin has special powers - and there is also a legend about an albino saving them all from the Guild.  Griffin wants to go back home to the Underground, where he he lives with his best friend, his best friend's daughter, and lots of children (who need him), but he also wants to stay with Tassta (who he is falling for) and Penn (who he is becoming friends with).

This is a really cool dystopian story.  There is adventure and very interesting characters and a storyline that is different and fun.  The characters were well written and the physical descriptions are well done and helpful, making it easy to see the person in your mind's eye.  Same with the physical descriptions of the settings.  A lot of authors fall flat on this, but Kirsten does a really good job.

Sometimes I think that authors are so intent on writing a good story that they miss out on the bigger picture (which is where a good editor comes in handy).  You (this is where I say "you, but not YOU" - in this case, YOU are one of the yous I'm talking to) are telling me a story about characters that you want me to relate to, become close to, bond with ... with an adventure (or mystery, or horror, or relationship...) that you want me to understand and become a part of ... and yet there are things that some of you do that make this problematic and sometimes even impossible.  Let me use an example from this particular book: At the beginning of the book, there is a page of name pronunciations (very cool).  Throughout the book, people are referred to by both names, while others are referred to by one.  Uncle Lerin goes back and forth between that and Lerin Sanctobus, his full name being unnecessary after the first time.  If you have to keep reminding me of who they are - and refuse to allow us to become (and remain on) a first name basis with your characters - how am I supposed to feel that I know them, that I am there with them throughout the story?  Personally, I find it awkward and think it takes away from the flow of the story.  (Another issue I had, which may have just been a personal thing with me, was the fact that things were repetitive, mentioned several times in different ways in the span of a few paragraphs i.e. we know that the bag holds a surprise Penn brought back from the raid.  It doesn't have to be reiterated or defined every time.  We get it and this takes away from the flow of the story as well.)

Despite that, I enjoyed reading this very much and can't wait to read more from this author.  

Favorite character: Griffin.  He is intense and interesting and different.  I want to know more about him.  I also like Penn.

Least favorite character: Tassta.  Which is unfortunate.  I like her in the beginning of the story, but was completely turned off of her after she and Griffin spoke in his room for the first time.  She had been so interested in learning more about him, had all these questions for him, but when she had the opportunity to ask them, she didn't - and, even worse, she made him think she was uninterested when he was telling her more about himself and where he lived.  She also wanted to be so mature and independent - and at times she was - but sometimes really failed at being either.

Kirsten Campbell is the author of several short stories and poems that have been published in Bewildering Stories, Ascent Magazine, Beauty Talk, The Fairfield Review, Poets-Artists & Madmen, Interracial Voice, Sagazine Online, The White Gallery, The Pittsburgh Quarterly Online, COBRA, The CoffeehousePress Journal and several other magazines.
            Kirsten was abandoned by both mother and father at six-years-old and she somehow survived a very devastating childhood.  She found strength and courage through reading and writing and she graduated from school, got married and raised four wonderful children. She also cared for several children that were abandoned by their parents and by society (a few were literally left on her doorstep).  She fed and clothed them and sent them to school and taught them to be upstanding, decent members of society.
            Kirsten wrote Blood Master several years ago and it developed into The G.O.D.s Series, a series of books that tell the journey of Griffin Storm, a hero with feet of clay, a hero that saves the lives of several people, but most importantly, he saves hundreds of children from abandonment and neglect; takes them to a better life (something of which Kirsten always wished for when she was a child).
            Her short story "Dark Matters" was published in Bewildering Stories and a character from the G.O.D.s Series made a special appearance in the story.  Said character appears in the second book of the G.O.D.s Series "Blood Storm."
            As a side note, Ladybug Press published her chapbook, "Poetry from the Covert Bourgeoisie," in 2006 and her chapbook, "The Abandoning Kind," was published by Pudding House Publications in 2009.  She lives in Brewster, NY, with her daughters and her five unbelievably beautiful grandchildren!

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