Hemovore – Jordan Castillo Price
Mark Hansen thought working as artist’s assistant would be glamorous, especially if that artist was a vampire. Black tie events, witty repartee, gracing the pages of the local style section…. Didn’t happen. Not even once.
Jonathan Varga is an enigma. True, he’s quiet, generous, and scrupulously polite. But he has zero social life, refuses to be interviewed or photographed, and insists he can only consume feline blood.
Why supermarket blood won’t suffice, Mark hasn’t asked. He’s rarely at a loss for words—he can dish an insult and follow it with a snap as quick as you can say “Miss Thang.” But one look at Jonathan’s black-as-sin gypsy eyes, and Mark’s objections drain away.
So he endures the perpetual grind of their routine: Jonathan hiding in his studio, swiping black paint onto black canvases. Mark hurling insults while he buffs the office to a shine with antiviral wipes. Each of them avoiding the other in a careful choreography…until a blurb in Art in America unleashes a chain of harrowing events.
As secrets from Jonathan’s past are brought to light, it becomes clear that all his precautions weren’t nearly enough.
When I finished listening to Hemovore, I didn’t know what to make of it. But after thinking about it for a couple of days, I realized there were a lot of things I liked and the ending (Sweet, the novellete at the end the audiobook) was what really made it. It was perfect. My favorite part was that cake tasting scene with Mona. Expect tears.
I’m really digging JCP’s take on vampires. While vampirism as a virus is not new, rather than making it as an convenient excuse for people to turn into bloodsucking monsters, here, it was treated like the deadly virus it is. Every precaution was taken to avoid contamination. Stringent sterilization measures, safety gloves, disinfectant wipes, everything. The world building is also outstanding. The alternate contemporary universe vividly portrayed the dichotomy of the V+ and V- cases.
I also liked Jonathan’s black on black paintings. Some artist should do that in real life and have the images be visible under black light or UV light. That sort of thing would be really cool or then again, it would be really pretentious.
Stories that involved journeys, traveling, quests or running away tend to be a drag for me because it always feels like I would never see the end of it but here, the pacing was just right. I liked how JCP kept the suspense tight.
It helps that there were a lot going on from meeting the V+ help group to the pathetic but creepy rat man and finally that showdown with Lazlo.
I’m a bit on the fence about the romance at the beginning. It seemed to start out as one-sided but gradually won me over especially at the end though it never reached squee-inducing levels. Most times I enjoyed Mark’s sass and oh so gay references but sometimes, just sometimes he could be such a drama queen. Jonathan’s Bela Lugosi accent is, at times, hard to take seriously not because the narrator, Joel Leslie, was bad at it (his delivery was spot on as usual) but because I have heard it used as a bad joke too many times. Nonetheless Mark and Jonathan turned out to be a cute power couple. These two fought so hard to be together they deserve all the happiness they can get
So while it didn’t really blow me away, I’m glad to say my first Jordan Castillo Price novel was a win.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love