Thank you to Karina Halle and the team at Social Butterfly PR for the advance reader copy of Blood Orange.
After introducing the character in her previous The Dark Eyes Duet I have been very excited to read Karina’s take on Dracula.
Once there was a man who fell deeply in love with a woman he could never have. When their affair was uncovered she was brutally murdered in front of him, and he discovered he was cursed, doomed to live forever as a vampire.
Over the centuries, he found his love again, and lost her again, until he was so broken he gave up on love entirely, sinking into the depths of depravity, losing his humanity.
Then one day, she came back into his life. A student of music studying under him at the conservatory in Venice, Italy where he was a professor. But even though he found her beautiful and intriguing, he didn’t recognize his fated mate at all.
Because this time she had to hide her true self.
This time she came back as a witch, whose destiny wasn’t to love him…but to kill him.
Blood Orange is a modern-day Dracula retelling about the “real-life” Dracula that inspired Bram Stoker. This is a dark vampire romance with plenty of content warnings and while it is a spinoff of The Dark Eyes Duet, it is a complete standalone novel. It was previously titled “King of Darkness”
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: Dahlia, talk about a morally grey heroine and I loved her! If you have read the synopsis then you will know Dahlia is a reincarnate of our male lead’s past loves. It was really nice to see how Karina built these three characters who were similar yet distinct from each other. They all felt very much of their time, while still having a bit of that rebellious spirit that is in Mina/Lucie/Dahlia. Dahlia was particularly interesting because she is a part of this larger Karina Halle fantasy world. If you have read Black Sunshine, you have seen what it is like being an outsider thrown into the vampire world. Instead, you have Dahlia, a witch and vampire slayer who is steeped in it, making this book super witchy. Valtu is Karina’s take on Dracula and I loved how self-aware he was. There are repeat swipes from Valtu at his friend Bram whose tale of Valtu’s life was not always an accurate portrayal. This was such an intriguing way to go about a retelling. Valtu feels unique in this vampire world, he is different from Karina’s other vampire-leading men like Solon. Valtu has this distinguished aspect to his character, and the best part was when some of that formality faded away when it came to Dahlia. There are so many good characters in this, some new faces and I was happy to see some familiar ones.
- Setting: What a magical setting, I am such a sucker (pun intended) for an Italian setting. Plus Karina is really damn good at writing these international settings. I am biased towards loving Venice as a setting, it is where my family is from. Venice is such a perfect place to build the mystery and mythical creatures inhabiting dark alleys and waterways.
- Pacing: I loved that this book was a tad longer than we see for most romance novels. Fantasy needs a bit more breathing room. It makes me even happier to say Karina has announced another book, love a duet! Throughout this book there are some passages told through flashbacks. I personally like how these sections illuminated the different iterations of Mina/Lucie.
- Romance: This romance started really flirty which was adorable to see but also a bit unexpected. I would still very much see this as a dark romance, but it has some lightness in and amongst it. I loved how throughout the story Dahlia has this push and pull between opening up to Valtu while still being incredibly secretive. This book is filled with so many incredible sex scenes, not just between Dahlia and Valtu. Because I have four words for you: Vampire BDSM Sex Club!! These scenes are not for the faint of heart, so check the content warnings before diving in. If you are willing to explore, this and all of Karina’s vampire romances are a dark romance fever dream.
Blood Orange receives five out of five stars.
You can pick up the story below…
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Thank you again to Karina and her team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!