Blog Tour: Bloodborn Review

Karen Kincy's website here // $9.95 from {amazon}
Series: Other #2, read my review of OTHER (Other #1) here
Publisher: Flux (September 8, 2011)
Paperback: 312 pages
Source: Blog Tour

It isn’t working. The doctor said it would, but it isn’t, even though I keep taking the pills, and I keep seeing Dad sneak into the bathroom and count how many are left. As if I would stop taking them. As if I would let myself become a beast.

Brock Koeman lost his brother to werewolves. Now he’s in danger of losing himself. Bitten by a werewolf at sixteen, he fights the transformation, taking the excruciating pain as a punishment for his mistakes. With the help of a risky drug called Lycanthrox, he’s managed to stay human for two full moons. But he knows he can’t last much longer.

Hungry for revenge, Brock vows to kill the silver wolf who bit him. But Brock’s ex, the fiery Cynthia Lopez, still cares about him enough not to let him do anything suicidally dangerous—never mind that Cyn gets her thrills from danger herself. Together again, the heat between them rekindles, but Brock feels like a beast beside her beauty. He can’t stay with her; he can’t ignore the werewolves howling outside his window. When he hunts down the pack, Cyn doesn’t sit on the sidelines. She’s right beside him as they get taken hostage and start running with the werewolves, the police hot on their tails. Brock has to get a grip on who he truly is—before the wolf within kills him, or someone else does.

My Thoughts:

Before you think "oh, it's another werewolf story," think Karen Kincy. Think of her debut OTHER. And if you've read it, think of its awesomeness in all of Gwen's pooka glory. We get a bit of a similar gist in BLOODBORN: Brock starts out prejudiced against Others though he'll ultimately have to accept his "other" half. But don't let that fool you: BLOODBORN is different on so many levels -- and that's GREAT.

Since I've read both, it's pretty much obligatory that I do some comparison between OTHER and BLOODBORN. The most obvious difference that comes to mind is if OTHER was rated PG13, BLOODBORN would be PG16. Cursing frequently dots BLOODBORN's pages of bloody, on-the-run action and there's some strip club visits and boob appreciation. Nothing extremely explicit in either gore or nudity, but it's definitely not something I'd be recommending to an elementary school student. The cursing also occasionally seems a tad much, but, overall, it fit Brock's "I-don't-give-a-shit" attitude and quickly faded into normalcy. Or as normal as BLOODBORN gets, that is. For the most part, OTHER took place in their quaint little town, but Brock's there for about 5% of the story and the rest is spent hightailing from the police. Whether the decrease in fluff and increase in fugitive-operations is a good or bad thing is up to you, but as you may be able to guess from my complaints over OTHER's slow start, I thought BLOODBORN was a perfect companion novel that showcased Karen Kincy's improvement over the past year. Brock's prejudice was much more understandable (aka much less aggravating) than Gwen's, which surprised me since Brock and Chris were portrayed so poorly in OTHER. And the reason why I love companion novels: I reread all the OTHER allusions in BLOODBORN, especially Gwen and Tavian's cameo.

While I'm still a proud bearer of the Tavian flag (Tavvvvian ♥), I wanted to take Brock under my wing. He's rough around the edges, but he has a heart. No, not like those bad boys that turn out to be teddy bears or those tortured souls who drown in self-pity. Thankfully not. It'd still be a stretch to call Brock sweet, but it's more realistic that way. Honestly, how many people can have such strong attitude and secretly star in Care Bears? At least not Brock, and I love him for it. Instead, his shining point -- or flaw, really -- is his stubbornness. Due to how thickheaded he is, Brock's character progression is slow and subtle, almost not progressing until he has a life-changing event. Which is, again, how it often happens in real life. Karen Kincy's writing stays raw and true-to-reality, and it makes for a dark, immersive adventure.

Karen Kincy is my new definition of pure paranormal YA. In a genre that seems to have gotten quickly populated with often stereotypical and romance-prevalent light reads*, BLOODBORN shines with its gritty edge and intense action (particularly at the end, wow). BLOODBORN leaves off with not a happily ever after but an open feeling of hope and contentment -- and me eagerly anticipating Karen's next OTHER novel, FOXFIRE.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Bottom Line: Have I not fully expressed my love for Karen Kincy? If you haven't tried her books yet and you're a fan of all things paranormal, GOGOGO.   

Cover: Meh. After reading, the models seem pretty accurate to how I would imagine Brock and Cynthia, but if I was looking at this on the shelf, I'd probably pass right over it. The faces and the moon background make BLOODBORN seem like another stereotypical paranormal read, sorry. ):

*Not that there's anything wrong with light paranormal YA, but sometimes I want something darker. That being said, I recently and FINALLY read PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White (thanks to a book trade with Cara), and it was AWESOME.

Blog Tour Note! I'm kicking off the BLOODBORN blog tour, so be sure to check out the rest of blog tour schedule over at the {Teen} Book Scene for more exclusive content with Karen and, if you're still not convinced, other bloggers' reviews! :)