This isn’t my usual sort of book. It is a YA/Adult Fantasy story with powerfully written paranormal romance and action sequences. But it is well constructed, with a well-thought out backstory and world mythology, and it kept me interested.
Charmeine is the first in the Lightbearer series. Emily Guido introduces us first to the origins of the Light-Bearers and Blood-Hunters, with some mythology in their original world, then we find Tabbruis on his own, trying to make sense of the earth. Blood-Hunters live here, encouraged by their Elder Council to make the most of the blood provided by the population of humans that spawns everywhere. Tabbruis and some friends decide that humans are, for them, off-limits, which is a slight relief if the reader’s stomach is not up to the bloodthirstiness of their usual lifestyle.
Charleen (who we discover is really Charmeine) and her friend Shane are woven into the story deftly. Two lost souls who ended up caring for each other as they grew up in an orphanage, Shane gets a job to drive Tabbruis around New York City while he’s visiting. It’s fortunate that Tab has felt the need to be there, as Char has been singled out for an attack by other Blood-Hunters, who envisage a very nasty end for her indeed. Tab fights them off, with Char discovering her own amazing powers that assist in very special ways. And then Tab and Char realise their mutual attraction, against all Tab’s instincts as a Blood-Hunter – since he realises that Char is a Light-Bearer.
The rest of the story covers a few more attacks and how they grow to understand each other better. There are plenty of loose ends to be followed up in the rest of series.
On the whole I felt the story was well written, fast-moving and full of excellent imagery. I cared what was happening to the characters; I wanted to know how it would be resolved. I found the typesetting confusing since sometimes italics was used for thoughts, and other times it may have been used for intensity or emphasis, but there was no clear distinction. I wondered if they thought-read at one stage, and thought that would be a nice power, but I think I was wrong.
I felt it was an excellent introduction to a story and a world with new rules. If it’s your sort of thing, I think you’ll be driven very quickly to the second in the series. It’s exciting, pacy and thought-provoking, with delightful characterisation. Well done Ms Guido!