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10/01/2005 Entry: "Justine Musk's BLOODANGEL -- Wrong Genre for Me (Preeti)"


The title of Justine Musk's BLOODANGEL intrigued me. When I got it in my hands and realized it was a true horror novel, my expectations for the book plummeted. I'm generally not looking to be seriously horrified in my escapist entertainment.

It turned out the story was fine, even good, but I didn't love it. Maybe it was because I only actively connected sympathetically to one viewpoint character.

An evil woman from an ancient race of magic-wielders has somehow become freed from her prison of 700 years and is bent on world domination once more. Asha has a nasty habit of eating people. Her sinister ruse involves sucking in a lot of vulnerable young people through her goth-alternative music band.

Opposing her is another long-lived member of the same race, Kai, who originally helped put Asha and her cohorts away. I forget if there was a reason given as to why these enemies weren't just killed. Anyway, Kai recruits a descendent of one of his fellow Sajae whom he's secretly kept tabs on since she was a child. Jess is unaware of her magical heritage.

Jess seems connected to a boy she keeps painting. Turns out the boy is the key to defeating Asha, and both sides are looking for him. Kai needs Jess to tap into her latent Sajae powers immediately so she can find Ramsey first. In the meantime Kai and Jess fall into bed on the way to love.

The boy is the character I liked. Ramsey is a good kid with a troubled family history trying to do the right thing. Kai's backstory--the sketches of the ancient city in the desert where he ruled as a prince over an increasingly corrupt society--left me wanting to know more, but nothing about his present self was all that interesting. Ditto with Jess. Asha was scary as advertised, but I didn't quite buy the rock band milieu. I don't know why rock and horror seem inherently campy to me.

Musk may have a poetry background because besides including some lyrics, her writing is the kind that often enough tries to draw attention to words, as opposed to the story they're meant to tell, in a way I find distracting.

I liked the mythological aspects of BLOODANGEL, e.g., demons and angels and rituals and ancient struggles played out again in the modern day, but I didn't warm up to the blood'n'gore and most of the characters.

Lastly, there were some insinuations made on the connection between the wasted musician in Asha's band and Jess that totally went over my head and made the epilogue (my last taste of the book) incomprehensible and frustrating.

This was apparently Musk's debut novel. It's one I wouldn't recommend to anyone who doesn't already enjoy the horror genre.--Preeti

--BLOODANGEL at Amazon
--BLOODANGEL review page

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