The Turning: Fast-paced and sexy, but familiar

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsJennifer Armintrout Blood Ties The Turning book reviewThe Turning by Jennifer Armintrout

Fans of vampire novels should check out The Turning, the first novel in Jennifer Armintrout‘s Blood Ties series, an exciting and sexy addition to the genre.

Our heroine, Carrie, is a young doctor whose sire accidentally turns her into one of his kind during a fight in the hospital morgue. Carrie has little to leave behind in her mortal life. Her parents were cold in life and are now deceased, and she has no friends, both because she has just moved to town and because she sublimated her emotions to better concentrate on her medical training.

Inquiries into her new condition lead her to Nathan, a kind but emotionally conflicted vampire, who takes her under his wing and teaches her about what has happened to her. Trouble is, Nathan is a member of the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement, a sort of non-proliferation organization dedicated to stopping the spread of vampirism and killing all vampires who refuse to swear to the VVEM’s code of ethics. Carrie has a week to make up her mind, or die at the hands of the only friend she has. Meanwhile, Carrie’s sadistic and perverse sire, Cyrus, wants her back, with the intention of making her his captive/bride. To add to her problems, a vengeful witch is also out to get her.

Carrie has no intention of submitting to either Cyrus or the VVEM. However, when Nathan’s life is threatened, Carrie must make a deal with the devil, so to speak. Her decision forces her to walk a narrow line between good and evil, and to make heart-wrenching choices.

The Turning is an exciting, fast-paced story, full of action and romance. I felt that Carrie’s attraction to both men was well-written, both the frustrating relationship with Nathan and the addictive pull of Cyrus. The plot ends on a satisfactory note but leaves the door open for a sequel, which I’m looking forward to.

~Kelly Lasiter


Jennifer Armintrout Blood Ties The Turning book reviewUrban fantasy, paranormal romance… Where does one draw the line between one genre and the other? In this case I am going with the following standard: an action novel can have sex in it without becoming a romance, so an urban fantasy can contain relationship/sex themes without becoming a paranormal romance, but the line is very blurry.

Jennifer Armintrout’s The Turning chronicles the invasion of Dr. Carrie Ames’ life by the dark forces of vampires and their ilk. After being Turned into a vampire and having her life explode, she gets caught up in a struggle between the evil vampires and the not-evil vampires. There is nothing new or ground-breaking in either the depiction of the vampires or her explanation of how they came to be.

Armintrout seems to be caught in the dilemma that many urban fantasy authors find themselves in while trying to walk the line between writing a romance or a fantasy novel, so there is much that’s familiar here. The main character is a fiercely independent, highly intelligent, unknowingly beautiful woman with lots of baggage and issues to carry into the story. The villain is handsome, cruel and dangerous. The hero is really good looking and sexy as well, but he is afflicted with a dark past that haunts him and makes it difficult for her to trust him all the way. But to appease the fantasy readers, she colors pretty much in the lines for a fantasy novel and doesn’t have any ridiculous plot errors.

Ok, so the book is familiar, but it’s not bad all the same. The characters don’t get too cloying and Armintrout can write fairly interesting fight scenes. The story moves along pretty well and the sex scenes are not so drawn out and ridiculous that they detract greatly from the story. Anita Blake this isn’t. So, if you are a huge urban fantasy fan and you are stuck waiting for the next Kim Harrison or Patricia Briggs book, this is good filler. It’s not going to make you add it to the “must read” list, but Armintrout doesn’t punish you for reading her books either.

~John Hulet


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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JOHN HULET (on FanLit’s staff July 2007 — March 2015) is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of. John retired from FanLit in March 2015 after being with us for nearly 8 years.

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