The first one, Kept, has maybe the most interesting setting of the three, introducing therians (were animals, so not just cats and wolves, which would’ve been a bit awkward) to us and mixing it with sorcery. The protagonist Greta is a werecat – really, the house-cat cat, and as it’s told to us in the blurb she has a grim future unless she does something: “…whose tribe plans to sacrifice her during the next full moon. Her only hope for survival is Dayne, a sorcerer who once massacred most of the tribe.”
Kept had a lot of weaknesses in the beginning of the novella, mainly because it introduced such new concepts to the paranormal world, that when things weren’t properly explained when they were introduced, you already had imagined something of your own to fill the blanks, until they were told to be actually something very different. One example being this werecat thing. I seriously couldn’t first believe it was a normal cat, so I pictured a panther, until this was shattered a bit further down the story. Also I thought it was just a normal city, until it was made clear there’s a wall going around it.
Even though Kept has the most intriguing story of the three, it’s also the weakest one. The flow isn’t quite right – hard to explain really, but some of the things go too slow and then the things you expect to be major and written more about, are over so fast you don’t quite comprehend it even. This is an issue also in Claimed, the second novella in the book.
Claimed goes a bit more into the love child of all paranormal writers, vampires. However I do love the fact, that for once the protagonist female, Charlee, doesn’t want to be one, it’s quite refreshing and her attitude towards vampires and the life they lead seems a bit more healthy than what you usually see in these kind of stories.
I liked the beginning and middle of the novella more than I liked the ending. Not to be misunderstood: I loved the choice Charlee made, but the writing in the end just wasn’t as good. I guess the tournament was a hard one to write, but it felt very rushed for me. Especially the first round left me disappointed, since there was so much that could’ve been done with it.
Compared to Kept it was better with the storytelling, but lost a bit in the originality and the rushed end.
In the third novella, Mated, Winters binds together some lose ends from the first story and I think it actually makes up for some of the bad things in Kept. On the other hand it takes some of the good feelings from Claimed away without really explaining why. Ok, it was shortly given some explanation to Paul’s behavior, but it seemed so out of character compared to what he was like in claimed. Also the relationship between Charlee and Anthony doesn’t seem that deep anymore, and that makes me feel a bit sad about them.
The female lead, Jane though is very much as she was in Claimed and the transition to tell her tale was very smooth. And I like how Winters shifted the view of werewolves very naturally without breaking the world introduced in the previous novellas.
Having already read the blurb for the next part of the series it’s clear some of the stuff in Mated are there to lay some groundwork for Save My Soul, but it’s not forcibly added, but seems like genuine and meaningful part of the story. That might be the thing I like most about these stories: when you come to the end of the story, you still get the same feeling about being in the same world, and characters are not forgotten, even though some might have changed.
Anyway, I consider Mated to be the best one of the three stories in Blood Lust, with very fluid writing and Winters not being afraid to get her characters to do hard choices. She makes them more real, and not all goody goodies. Also mated doesn’t have that rushed feeling in any part of it.
One thing that did bother me a bit, was that all of the three woman protagonist were mostly presented as victims who needed to be saved by a man. Then again the stories would’ve been very different if that wasn’t the case.
For all you who like to read paranormal stories, I full-heartedly recommend these into your to-be-read pile.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)