Review: Exsanguinate – World of Blood (Book #1) ~ Killion Slade

ExsanguinateA Halloween scream night theme park adventure for software gaming developer Cheyenne O’Cuinn reveals a hidden supernatural reality she never dreamed existed. Recovering from a vicious attack and her sisters’ abductions, Cheyenne must rescue her sisters from vampiric kidnappers before they’re used to breed warmongering dhampirs.

Betrayal lurks in every corner. Cheyenne must evade attackers by unconventional means through her online role-play game. She must navigate through virtual, tortuous clues and mailed body parts, which cross over from her virtuality into reality. Can a team of dragons, vampires, and werewolves come together to help her? Who can she trust? Will the help from her virtual lover become compromised when he learns of her new immortal existence and crush the fragile love they share?

Amidst an impending vampire apocalypse, Cheyenne finds herself both in conflict for survival and for her heart. Will her immortal self derail any hope of solving the multiplying puzzles before time runs out to save her sisters, herself and her humanity?

5 Thumbs-UpLet me get this out there right from the start of my review, I absolutely hated this book!  It wasn’t the book itself I despised; it was what it turned me into.  As an online gamer, and a casual one at that, I hold no love for those that crow about their access to areas of the game I can only dream about; they like to call themselves the L33T!  This book turned me into one of these people, but in the book world, and I loved it.  In the pages of this book I was able to experience content that I KNOW there are a few out there will not be able to access, and it made me feel like a God.

Urban Fantasy novels are really not my usual thing, but I was so glad I read this book.  The characters are realistic and full of humour, sadness, secrets and guts.  They are written in such a way that you feel as if you know them, or may have even grouped up with them in your online game of choice.  The Author invested a lot of time into making sure the characters in this novel were true to life representations of the gaming community, and made sure they did not fall into the stereotypical portrait most people have of gamers, that they are loners with no lives living in their parent’s basements.  With a skilful use of words the characters show that a wide variety of people game, and without overloading the reader with technical terms and phrases, he painted these characters as intelligent and likeable people who the reader would want to socialize with.  The main protagonist of the novel is a strong, smart woman; however she is also extremely loyal and once she gets her teeth into something sticks with it to the end.  On the flip side of her personality is a woman who is also a little unsure of herself, especially when it comes to the area of romance, and one who is determined to confront the fears she has of the main driving tool behind the project she is working on.

This is a very imaginative novel, full of strategy and clues that span not just the online role-playing game in the book, but also the real world lives of the characters.  I was delighted at how well the Author brought the vividness of these games to life and managed to get across to the reader just how many people are involved in the playing of them.  They also managed to convey that for some people this is not just a game, but a form of connecting with others around the globe; a kind of social media tool with quests thrown in.  Blending them well together, the book has just enough humour its pages to stop the horror aspect of it from becoming overwhelming; the humour is laugh out loud funny and the horror is blood chilling made even more so as at some points in the action you are not sure if you are in the virtual world or the real world.

This book creates its own world and mythology, but uses well-known creatures of the supernatural to do so, and this serves to make the reader feel they are experiencing something new that has a familiar feel.  The real novelty in its pages though was the inclusion of the ‘quick mark’ tags, this enables the reader with a smart phone access to hidden ‘Easter eggs’ which include additional pages of the novel and numerous other hidden goodies on the book’s website; this was the part that made me L33T!  Flawlessly bringing fantasy, horror, humour and action together the Author has done an outstanding job of putting together a highly absorbing and entertaining read.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of all genres and lovers of epic series as I am sure this is going to be among the greats.  I will definitely be reading the remainder of this series as it is published.