A dedicated dancer, friends with a devoted couple is pitted against the likes of a zealous cultist leading a religious-fueled revolt. Intertwined in the battle is a courtesan who meets her equal in manipulation. Dark Blood of Poppies is a dense novel enriched with a intricate plot and a majority of characters who happen to be vampires.
Dark Blood of Poppies is the third installment of the Blood Wine Series by Freda Warrington. This reviewer did not read the previous two but there is enough exposition that the gist of what happened before can be gleaned.After the tyranny of a vampire named Kristen, the vampires in 1920’s society were separated and left to live on their own. It would have remained that way if a group of pushy and obnoxious vampires had left a recently turned vampire, Violette alone. Violette just wants to do what she loves, which is to lead her ballet group and dance through her immortality. Her peace is elusive as not only does her public performance threaten the anonymity of the vampires but she also has to struggle with the weight of sharing her mind with the historical/religious figure of Lilith. Through this group’s antagonistic approach, they literally begin the ripples of civil unrest within the vampires. Then a mysterious threat to their very existence begins to occur at the same time. Alot of stuff is happening. Alot of stuff.
I must preface that I do not read vampire stories. I was never fond it growing up with Twilight franchise furthering cementing my aversion to the genre. I prefer living paranormal creatures, like werewolves or shapeshifters. Vampires were just dead, pretty things.
Even though vampires are the central focus point in this novel, it was not portrayed as a glamorous or romantic notion. Instead, being a vampire is being a different creature all together. It is a creature, not a pretty shiny undead human. A creature that subsists on blood and can travel to Raquia in their real sinuous forms with beautiful scaled bodies. There is a faint remnant of human norms and civilized habits but most constraints are long gone. There is alot of uninhibited actions and unbounded emotions.Religion,theology, and sexuality are deeply explored and pried apart in this novel.
Every page in this novel was so densely dramatic that it all had to be taken in small parts.The story is drawn out but it ties up into a cohesive ending. An ending that is heavy in psychology and theology. The ending had such a heavy sense of foreboding that it did not feel final. According to the authors website there will be another installment released next year.
As I get older, I find myself straying away from heavy gloomy novels (taxes and rent are gloomy enough to handle) and devouring light and adventurous reads instead. Combined with my aversion to vampire fiction, Dark Blood of Poppies completely surprised me. Even by reading the novel in small chunks, I did not stray away from it. Despite my ever growing to-be-read pile, I kept coming back to the story.
Not since Jane Eyre, have I ever been engrossed in a gothic tale. It did not leave me with a sense of uplifting emotion or excitement. It did change my perspective on vampires quite a bit. It also reinforced the idea that ballerinas are unnatural but beautiful creatures.