Kristen Painter has created an addictive world which feels like an urban fantasy in a future setting and she continues her House of Comarre series continues with its fourth installment Out for Blood. Like many popular urban fantasy series, Painter takes familiar supernatural aspects and creates a world revolving around characters that are uniquely hers.
After nearly dying at the hands of the Aurelian, Chrysabelle finds new determination to move beyond life as a comarré. That is until the Kubai Mata bring a new task to her doorstep: rescue the child Tatiana has kidnapped, or Mal becomes enemy number one.
Out for Blood is truly a continuation of the story and world set up in the first three books. As such, I would advise against picking this book up as an introduction. Luckily, I have been reading Painter’s series since the beginning and jumped right in knowing the fairly lengthy backstory quite well.
This series is not my usual reading fare. The two main characters are in love despite the odds. One is the dark brooding vampire with a past and the other is the virginal food. Sound familiar? What intrigued me about the House of Comarre series was that Chrysabelle is not your typical evening snack nor teenage outcast. Instead Painter has created a character who is exceptionally intriguing, because unlike many, Chrysabelle has been bred to be vampire bait. This is somewhat more romanticized in Painter’s telling but I figured a series that equated humans to trout, and looked at their prospective, was worth looking at. Until now, Painter has not disappointed me.
Simply put, Out for Blood was not to my liking. What initially draw me to the series was that while the characters seemed somewhat traditional in the genre, they were different enough to be intriguing. As Chrysabelle and Mal became your regular romance, I found myself growing bored. Romance was once a background to the adventure in this series and unfortunately took centerstage in Out for Blood. Though there was still an adventure in the plot, there were many instances where it felt the fight scenes were just getting in the way of a sex scene. Sex scenes were glossed over, with giggling and characters wondering if anyone knew what they were doing. Out for Blood started to feel less like a scifi/fantasy novel for adults and more like a romance novel for tweens.
The only redeeming aspects of Out for Blood was the various subplots concerning supporting characters which Painter added. Luckily, this is where her writing truly shines; describing area battles based on ownership and a mayor who will do anything it takes to see her city improve. Though these scenes are my favorite, they are few and far between. I found myself cynically reading on merely in vague curiosity as to how long it would take for unique characters to turn in to cookie cutter paranormal romance fare.
Overall, Out for Blood made me disappointed in a series I was truly enjoying. Chrysabelle & Mal’s story couldn’t have a more predictable turn than the end of this book. Without spoiling it, I can tell you I was not only annoyed at how predictable it was, I started to question the validity of Painter’s vision. Speaking as a former fan, I wonder why a somewhat unique series which appealed to a variety of people would suddenly follow predictable paranormal romance norms. I will point out that at no point did I feel reading Out for Blood was time wasted, I merely was disappointed in the direction Painter took. While not my personal favorite, Out for Blood and the rest of the House of Comarre series are a great read for the paranormal romance reader. If like me you were tempted by adventure, be prepared for paranormal romance, and frankly, if you’re not a fan of it, steer clear.