Friday, May 7, 2010

Review: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

From the Publisher:

Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he's partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. A vampire bound by a special blood oath, Cade has spent more than 140 years in service to the president, battling nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream.

Blood Oath is the first in a series of novels featuring Nathaniel Cade, the President's vampire.

My Review (with a minimal mention of anything that could be a spoiler):

For me, a book begins and ends with characters- either I love them or hate them but I need some sort of emotional connection, otherwise I tune out. Blood Oath has an action-packed story, original world building and brilliant, well fleshed characters for me to love.

Zach Barrows is Cade's new handler, or as Griff put it, "You're the vampire's new liaison for the office of the president." Zach is a self-obsessed, phony and career driven guy- a true rising politician complete with the snappy wardrobe and 1000 kilowatt smile. His smile dims a little when he realizes that his options are gone and monsters are, in fact, quite real.

"There was a reason humans are genetically programmed to fear the dark. Zach was looking at it.
Then Zach saw the fangs at the edges of the smile.
He began to shake. He couldn't get his legs to move.
He tried to speak. Nothing came out.
Something warm and wet began running down his thigh."

Zach is a character that you start out annoyed with and end up really cheering for. He's reminiscent of Riley Poole from National Treasure, complete with witty words and entertaining sarcasm.

Cade is a vampire bound by a blood oath to protect the interests of the United States. Just picture any secret agent that you can think of- Bourne in any of the movies or books, Jack Bauer from 24, Xander Cage in xXx, Ethan Hunt from Mission: Impossible, or any Bond film with Daniel Craig and you get what Nathaniel Cade brings to this story. I went with the Bond ideal for my visual but any of the above mentioned would work. He's definitely an Alpha personality and expects his commands to be followed without argument, even though he is compelled to obey the President without exception. Cade is calm, ruthless, determined, highly intelligent, honorable- and a total badass!

Zach felt a flash of irritation. "I'm sorry, did you have something else planned for us?"
"Yes," Cade said. "We have one loose end."
"And I bet we're going to tie it off."

"No," Cade said. "We're going to sever it."

This is the book I've been dying to read only I didn't know it! Blogging for a site dedicated to vampires means that I read a lot of vamp books, with the focus mostly being some sort of romantic relationship. Any suspense tends to involve whether X and Y will end up happily ever after. The genre has shifted over the years, moving away from horror to make room for the sensual, romantic vampire hero- and you usually won't hear any complaints from me. However, with Blood Oath I was 3/4 of the way through the book before I noticed that there wasn't a romance in site- and I still couldn't put this book down without knowing what would happen next! Would Cade succeed in saving the President and his family? Would Zach 'man up' and be the handler/partner that Cade needed him to be? Or would the Unmenscholdat, or frankensteins as I called them, be too much for both of them?

This is without a doubt one of the best novels out there- part political thriller, part vampire horror, and all action. Farnsworth is definitely an author to watch and the second installment of The President's Vampire can't come soon enough! When it comes to things that go bump in the night Nathaniel Cade is the only vampire that I'd want watching my back!

Reviewed by Anna Dougherty for VampChix


Jen D. said...

Great review Anne. I've had my eye on this book for a while. Glad to see you enjoyed it. I will definitely be picking up a copy.

Derek Tatum said...

I just requested a copy of this title. It looks terrific, and is one of the books I am most looking forward to reading this year.