REVIEW: Blood Calls by Caridad PiÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â±eiro
Dear Ms. PiÃƒÆ’Ã‚ ±eiro:
Blood Calls is Book 6 in the Calling series. This vampire novel raises some interesting philosophical questions such immortality being weighed against the continual loss of loved ones; the sexual fetish of S&M due to psychological ties to torture; being the object of affection by another man; and infidelity. The problem is that these issues are brought up but never discussed and allowed to dangle or disappear altogether. The book had a dreamy narrative but its plot had fits and starts that made the book struggle with coherency.
During the Inquisition, Diego Rivera’s wife testified that he was lapsed and turned him over to the church. During a respite of Inquisition torture, a plain servant girl, Esperanza, snuck in to care for him and brought to him an artist that Diego once sponsored. The artist offered Diego immortality and Diego took it. He transforms his life into a patron of the arts and marries Esperanza after turning her.
After 500 years, Diego finds himself alone after Esperanza died. His loyal retainer is also refusing the bite that will prolong his life. Uncertain about his place in this world and his choice of immortality, Diego finds himself drawn to Ramona, an artist his gallery represents.
Ramona is dying due to a rare blood condition. She is hurrying to paint her best works to provide enough money for her sick mother to have long term care. This need for money pushes Ramona into creating near perfect copies of some classic works commissioned by a reclusive millionaire. Ramona finds out that her copies are sold at auction in place of the originals and she cannot live with knowing she participated in such a fraud. Her desire for justice places her life, and her mother’s, at risk.
Diego is reluctant to allow Ramona into his heart given that his 500! year relationship with Esperanza ended only 18 months before. He’s further beset with doubts about the value of immortality. He’d rather close himself off than suffer hurt again.
Diego’s portrayal is complicated but very uneven. I wasn’t sure whether he never loved Esperanza or whether 500 years can just be swept away in 18 months. This reminds me of a statistic that I read once where 80% of men will be remarried within 2 years of death or divorce. Guess that remains true for even vampire males.
There were scenes included that felt out of place such as acts of infidelity and arousal brought on by torture. I believe that it was meant to show the animalistic nature of a vampire’s thirst but those concepts were not developed. They were never even part of the relationship between Ramona and Diego. Diego’s having sex with three other women in the book was not an issue of betrayal or infidelity. He felt more guilty having sex with Ramona that leaving her bed to run off to be tortured and have sex with strangers.
Diego’s conflict seemed manufactured and the path to the ending was predictable. I wanted to yell at him to get on with the biting already and stop using other women to assuage your guilt. I liked the style of the writing and would definitely read you again. This book, though, simply didn’t work for me. C-.