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Monday, November 23, 2009

Half Blood by Liberty Stafford

Half Blood by Liberty Stafford
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, YA
Length: Full (187 pages)
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Cholla

Ever felt like you don’t fit in? Try being only half human. Daniel Otovic is a loner. A misfit. Discovering his father is a vampire doesn’t increase his popularity at school. Dhampirs don’t fit in anywhere. His cousin, Niko, is a jock. Nobody realises he is a dhampir, too. Except Niko feeds on humans.

During detention, Daniels discovers the school talent show is imminent. Captivated by the enchanting singing of Katarina, he is persuaded to take part. His mind is not really on task. He has fallen in love and it’s not a good time, having just discovered his paranormal heritage. He has new skills. He can fly. He can run like the wind. He can shape shift. Premonitions haunt him. Most of them are about Katarina and she is in danger.

Growing up on the Bosnian border, Daniel could do nothing without Niko. In England, it is no different. Only Niko is hungry and Katarina seems like a tasty meal for him and his newly fashioned jock vampire friends.

Can Daniel handle being a dhampir when for years he considered himself a normal guy? He has to handle it. Katarina’s life depends upon it.
Isn’t being a teenager hard enough? School, parents, dating, homework… it’s all just too much. And then you discover the horrible, dark truth about yourself – and your cousin – that you’re not just two ordinary boys at all. That you never have been. You’re both dhampirs – half vampires – and one of you has gone to the wrong side.

Daniel Otovic has never felt like he belonged. No matter how hard he tried, he always was an outsider. And with the revelation that his mother had been once visited by a vampire, he now knew exactly why. He wasn’t human. After a bit of typical teenage rebellion following on the heels of the news that he was a dhampir, Daniel decides he can’t outpace his history – or his future – and settles in to learn more about who and what he is. He has a good heart and a strong will, determined to defeat the dark side of his nature by vowing to never taste human blood.

Niko, Daniel’s cousin, is the polar opposite of Daniel. Aggressive and power hungry, he is traveling a path he believes will bring him the ultimate power – at the risk of everyone else. Niko is the worst kind of teenager – angry, self-absorbed, and coddled by his mother – who had been visited by the same vampire as her sister all those nights ago. Niko has no qualms about using each and every power he possesses to influence and coerce his classmates and the people around him. He is the dark to Daniel’s light.

In addition to two very different cousins, Half Blood is populated with a handful of very fun and interesting characters. Katrina, the young girl both Daniel and Niko have set their eyes on has a lot of potential for the future as Daniel’s girl and sidekick. Helena, the resident witch, Mr. Underhill, teacher and dhampir expert, and his girlfriend, Adriana, round out the cast of the good guys.

With such a diverse set of characters, an English setting, and an often overlooked take on the vampire mythos, Ms. Stafford has created a world worth visiting and revisiting. Half Blood is an engrossing and intense story of two boys, cousins who discover they’re half brothers, who are very different while still being so very much the same. I highly recommend it to any lover of the paranormal.