“Damn it, Dylan. No, no, no. Killing people is wrong, even if they have a Freebird ringtone.” -Hill
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Cover blurb (from Amazon): “Vampire democracy sucks. Literally. When it’s one vamp, one vote, the worst monsters can swing elections by turning random people off the streets into new vampires. Dylan is one of those random people. The power players in the city want his vote, but he just wants to be left the hell alone. Most of all, he wants to stop murdering people. That’s easier than it sounds when some people are seriously asking for it. Dylan’s life as a vampire is gross, terrifying, disgusting, frustrating, sexy, painful, and that’s all just in the first night out.”
I received a free copy of ‘Blood Flow’ in exchange for an honest review. For more information, please see my review policy page.
What I liked:
‘Blood Flow’ isn’t your typical urban fantasy. It’s a little grittier, a little rougher. It was awesome.
The main story line is interesting, but for me, the real strength of this novel was in it’s social commentary. Discussions about vampire lineage are interspersed with “Netflix and chill.” Hill touches on internet trolls, harassment of female gamers and police racism. There’s a discussion about cultural appropriation, and misjudging someone’s ethnicity. If you want a simple supernatural story, I can see where that might be a bit much. For my reading preferences, it was ideal. There was action and gore, as you’d expect in a vampire novel, but there’s also real-life issues.
‘Blood Flow’ is also genuinely funny. The humor can be pretty dark, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also really liked the fact that Dylan just rolls with everything. He doesn’t spend half the book agonizing about losing his humanity, or fighting his new supernatural reality. It just is what it is, and he moves forward from there.
What I didn’t like:
It took me a little while to adjust to Hill’s writing style. He doesn’t mince words, and he doesn’t spend a ton of time on descriptions. The writing is choppy and staccato, which isn’t a bad thing, just something to adjust to.
I did find myself a bit confused by the last few chapters. Up until that point, the world building and supernatural elements were pretty well laid out. Towards the end of the book, things started to feel rushed and less clear. The book ends on a huge cliffhanger, and if there’s ever a sequel, I definitely want to read it.
Would I recommend this book?
Tentatively, yes. It would depend on how well I know you.
**Spoiler alert/sensitive content warning** ‘Blood Flow’ includes violence, sex (both consensual and not), and fairly gory descriptions of bodily fluids. I found it especially interesting that the non-consensual sexual encounter (a rape) is quickly followed by a scene where a partner literally says “consider this enthusiastic consent.” A warning, though: the reader is present for the sexual assault scene. I also think it’s important to point out that in the rape scene, both people involved are male. Male/male rape is a topic that should be addressed more frequently than it currently is.**
I deeply appreciate the diversity in ‘Blood Flow.’ Not only is the main character Latino, he’s also bisexual. How often do we get to see LGBTQ+ POC characters? The majority of the supporting characters are also POC. I thought the discussions of racial issues were well done. They sounded authentic to the way people actually talk. That is, it didn’t sound like a lecture to the reader in the middle of the story. Dylan gently corrects people when they make a mistake (like assuming he isn’t Mexican).
**Spoilers** Another sub-plot involves a young black man who is murdered by police. This story line becomes folded into everything else, but I was satisfied with it’s conclusion.**
I really, really enjoyed this book. ‘Blood Flow’ won’t appeal to everyone. It’s definitely not a sparkly-vampires-in-love type of book. It doesn’t shy away from blood, trauma or social justice issues. For me, it was the perfect combination. I’d love to read more from this author, and I’d love to see a sequel.