on Aug. 14, 2013 :
Great continuation! We get to see Maddy, Alexandre and the rest of the gang again but in an entirely new situation, and we also get a lot more backstory about the underground city we saw in Book 1. But where Book 1 was very much a "modern gothic", Book 2 was more like an action thriller crossed with historical/fantasy.
I had been worried that I wouldn't enjoy this as much as the first book, but I needn't have been. I would still like to see some of the characters more fully developed, but Shalini Boland is definitely earning my trust. :)
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on June 27, 2012 :
If Madison and Alexandre thought their troubles were over, they were sadly mistaken. In “Thicker than Blood” they, together with their families, are once again plunged into a world of adventure, danger and life threatening situations. On the other hand we have Elia's story which is set in sixth century Byzantium. Finally it looks as though we are going to get some answers to questions which arose in “Hidden”, the first book of the Marchwood Vampire series. Answers that fill us in on how exactly the vampires came to Byzantium and what caused the strange sleeping disease that had disabled so many vampires for fourteen centuries. Not having had much time to experience life as vampires when they were newly created in the nineteenth century, Alexandre and the other Marchwood vampires only knew that sunshine - and now ultra violet light - can kill them. In this book they also discover other dangers to their existence, as well as the possibility of being put back to sleep if they are not careful.
Once I started reading, I simply could not put this book down. With action and adventure and fear for these beloved characters' lives and well-being from the very first few pages, combined with suspense that just never lets up until the final page, it is not surprising that the author - who is a genius with cliff-hanger chapter endings - switches back and forth between sixth century Byzantium and modern day Cappadocia and England, with ease; thus ensuring that the reader keeps turning the pages.
The characters truly come to life - Alexandre, still the nineteenth century French aristocrat, Freddy, the British aristocrat of the same time period and on the modern end of the scale, Madison and her brother Ben. Add to this variety of characters a few sixth century individuals and the story is as colorful as it gets. As all the characters are realistic - not all good or bad - the suspense becomes unbearable when a traitor seems to be working with the enemy.
The author's comfortable story telling ability combined with her extremely neat writing, makes “Thicker than Blood” sheer pleasure to read. For those who love a bit of romance, the love between Madison and Alexandre is beautifully and tastefully described and will definitely touch your heart.
This thrilling and beautiful book deserves more than 5 stars, and will have the reader looking forward to many more from Shalini Boland. (Ellen Fritz)
(reviewed 74 days after purchase)
on May 30, 2012 :
Madison and Alex are in love, despite the fact that she is a young girl who just inherited a fortune, and he is a centuries old vampire. But when Madison is kidnapped by ancient enemies of Alex and his vampiric kin, their safe and comfortable world is turned upside down. Alex and crew must return to a place they hate, the place where they were made, and confront their past. In the midst of this, the mysterious and ancient tale of Aelia unfolds, until we learn how she factors into Madison and Alex's lives.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but I absolutely loved this second installment of the Marchwood Vampires. Shalini Boland does a phenomenal job of weaving ancient backstory with contemporary plotlines. As with the first book, my favorite parts of this book were the tales of old, the backstory set in the first millennium. I found that ancient storyworld to be rich and vividly created by the author. I could smell the dust of the Byzantine empire as I read. I loved getting a little more insight into the lineage of these vampires.
With the contemporary storyline, there are some shades of Twilight now and then, and I do not think that is a bad thing. In terms of vampire romantic fiction, there certainly is a formula that works, and putting the human damsel in distress works. But Madison is, in my opinion, a much stronger character than Bella Swan (who I find to be a bit of a simpering, emo bore). She does not sit around waiting to be rescued, she takes matters into her own hands. Sure, she loves Alex, but he is not her whole world, her whole identity. She is her own woman, and I just love that.
I liked that the book ends on a bit of a question, it really hooks readers in and makes them anticipate book 3. I also liked some of the character twists and red herrings throughout the book. They certainly threw me for a loop, and give a lot of dimension to the story.
All in all, a great sequel book in a promising series.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)