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A Man of Science
Nicholas Robinson is a chemist decades ahead of his time. Crippled by a riding accident and embittered by his injuries, he shuns the world, focusing on his laboratory and experiments. But when the sale of his country estate, Grantley, leads to an encounter with a vampire, Nicholas realizes there is more in heaven and earth than he ever dreamed possible.
A Creature of Darkness
Although three hundred years old, Bancroft Ulwin is young by supernatural standards. Enslaved by his cruel, deformed maker, Ban is forbidden from relations with mortal men unless it ends in death. But his liaison with Nicholas, expressly against his master’s wishes, soon expands beyond mere lust to something more.
A Love Predestined
Long ago while still mortal, Ban met Serafino, the only true love of his life. When death separated them, Ban accepted his role as an enemy of human kind. But as he comes to suspect Nicholas is Serafino reincarnated, Ban begins to question everything he once believed. Including his own damnation.
Sheri: I can safely say this is one of the most brilliantly twisted books I’ve ever read…it also freaked me the hell out!
Sue: I absolutely agree Sheri. Soulless was beyond my expectations. Tell me, what were your “highs and lows”?
Sheri: Highs- My initial impression of Ban was near hatred, and before I knew it, I’d fallen for him. That is one of my favorite things…when an author flips my distaste to adoration. I was blown away by the writing….pristine and impeccable with meticulous detail. I found I had to pay close attention, but I never sensed confusion or felt as if I had gone astray from the story. Which is quite impressive due to the twists and turns the story takes. As layered as it was, I found myself surprised with the clarity. Lows- Tricky dialogue and the unexpected gore. I scare easily. It was freaky, intense and utterly exhausting.
Sue: Ha! Poor Sheri, you’re a scaredy cat… but I completely agree. Baggins has a great ability to bring us into a scene and experience everything as if we are present. Love, fear, gore and hatred.
My high – Everything. My low – when it finished. Alright that’s not a fair disclosure of why this story (in my eyes) is so exceptional. The writing and with that, the presentation of Ban. How is a change of mood so evident from one paragraph to the next? I sat back a few times in awe of the writing. When it comes to lows, I have to say, the first 10-12 percent were hard for me to enjoy.
Sheri: Yep, I’m not ashamed to admit I hit the dictionary button more than once in the first few chapters. Neither MC are particularly lovable at first either. It takes a bit to suck you in, but once I was caught, I was enthralled.
Sue: Right again Shez. the MCs didn’t show their true selves until around 30 percent.
Sheri: So, do you have a favorite character?
Sue: Do you want the real list or the short list? They were all amazing characters but if I had to choose…. Martha and Ban.
Martha is a legend. She’s free of the simpleton characteristics most supporting characters are drawn with. She’s so fundamentally void of irrelevant fuss. She goes straight to the bottom line of matters. She’s what I want to be when I grow up.
Ban is unwavering in his devotion to Nicholas. There’s a beautiful, gentle and sincere scene where Ban meets with Catherine (The Widow). It’s the first time we see his humility. His Soul.
What about you?
Sheri: Ahhh yes, my heart broke during that scene. I completely fell for a soulless bloodsucker and Nicholas grew on me as the tale was spun.
However, I found myself enjoying the secondary characters just as much as Ban and Nicky. Martha was incredibly sensible and the most composed character I’ve ever met. Initially I was crushed with her fate, but of course, she handled it better than I could have imagined. And I loved Grand-Mamma too. Her cards, her visions, her powers…wow.
Sue: While we’re at it (with characters) can I just say that Sebastian may be the most evil bastard I’ve read in a long time? He literally gave me the heebeegeebees. That alone is evidence of superb writing.
Sheri: Gah, I know, I know… a first class seat on a slide of molten lava would be too generous of a trip for him.
Sue: Shall we add a quote?
Sheri: Oooo, yes. Which one is your favorite?
Sue: Drum roll please:
“When Ban spilt his seed on me, then licked it away. That’s when I began thinking of myself as corrupt. Blissfully, blessedly, irredeemably corrupt. “
This was quite a turning point for our MCs but the “release” of tension was divine.
Sheri: That was a powerful moment indeed. Mine gave me shivers then and still does.
“Everything that makes me a man is inside me. No body part you cut from me, no dark magic you work against me, changes that. I am a man, Sebastian. You can steal my life, but you cannot steal my manhood.”
Sue: Great quote! So relevant to the story and it’s underlying message.
Sheri: Did you foresee the hidden twist? I was knocked on my ass, and then I was kicking it for missing the obvious clues!
Sue: Yeah, I saw the clues but that didn’t detract from the thrill.
Sheri: In my defense, it was the covering of my eyes during the scary parts that left me ‘clueless’.
Sue: You will forever be known as “Scaredy Cat Shez”.
Sheri: *snicker* I promise I didn’t sleep with the lights on…the second night.
Sue: Can I tell you my absolute favourite thing in the whole story?
Sheri: Please do….
Sue: The idea that love is centred on a person’s Soul – not the form in front of you. The essence of a person. That’s what I was left with.
Sheri: Perfect! Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Sue: And lastly, in terms of fabulous endings – Soulless has it. The last paragraph, dear God the last paragraph was perfection for this story.
Sheri: Since we are wrapping it up- it was an unforgettable, chilling yet tender ride…thanks for taking it with me.
Sue: I’m so glad we got to experience this amazing book together. Let’s do it again soon xx
Orphaned at birth, T. Baggins was raised by wolves until age fourteen, when the pack moved on one night without a forwarding address. Returning to human society, Ms. Baggins taught herself to read and write by studying fan fiction. Cutting her teeth on Kirk/Spock (Star Trek: The Original Series, baby!) she soon began slashing rock stars and X-Men. Despite a lifetime spent in the southern U.S., T. Baggins considers herself a citizen of the cosmos and a freethinker, which is good, because no one has offered so much as a penny for her thoughts. In her spare time she enjoys blogging at Shades of Gay, emptying gin bottles and tweeting into the void as @therealtbaggins.
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