Review: Blood and Absinthe by Chloe Hart

These three novellas all packaged into one are your standard paranormal romance fluff that is the sort of mindless fun that you’d expect from anything that can be described as “standard paranormal romance fluff”. They weren’t really well written and I wasn’t in love with any of the characters but I didn’t hate any of them either. The novellas asked nothing of me and that was exactly what I was looking for.

Plus, I got them from a book bub blast for 99 cents.

The first of the three novellas follows Liz, a faery warrior whose job it is to keep dark paranormal things out of the world. She is forced to work with her nemesis Jack (who is a vampire) to fight a particularly awful demon. It turns out that they both are crushing on each other. The next sentence is a little spoilery in account of this story was kind of formulaic. It also turns out that Jack can lend Liz his super vamp strength so that she can kill the demon if they spend one night of passion together.

The second story follows Celia, Liz’s friend, who is a mage faery and a vampire named Grant. Celia makes a discovery about the faery absinthe that all of the fae use occasionally to up their strength and connect them to their magic. She goes to Grant for protection when she realizes someone is trying to kill her. Intrigue, mayhem and romance ensue. Fun times.

The final story follows Jessica, a faery princess and Vampire assassin Hawk as they try to save magic and keep the human world from being overrun with demons and other evil faeries. There was a lot of hotness early on in this one but I’ll admit that I didn’t finish it because I was kind of bored with the whole world by this point.

I do have one bone to pick with these stories (and in romance novels in general). Sometimes, the sexy bits of these books are problematic in that they show sexual encounters that should not be considered consensual (even though we, as readers with access to the thoughts and feelings of the characters know that that the encounters are consensual). This happened at least once in these novellas: a character was under the influence of a spell or some kind of drug or was having a waking dream and got all hot and heavy with another character. In the worst of these instances, when the non-magicked/drugged/dreaming character realized that they were having sexy times with an incapacitated person they chose to pretend like the incident never happened. This led the other character to wake up and realize that it had happened and to be confused about how to go forward. When I read the novella, I found it enjoyable. But, after I had finished reading it, I felt very uncomfortable with how this had played out. I was uncomfortable because this was a terrible modeling of how people should treat each other in relationships. If you accidentally have magical faery sex with someone who thinks they’re asleep and dreaming your reaction to realizing they thought they were dreaming shouldn’t be, “Well, I’ll just pretend like this didn’t happen.” At the very least, you should make sure that they are physically and emotionally okay. (Or, you know, turn yourself in for sexual assault.) This has been an issue that has been discussed a lot recently with the release of 50 Shades of Grey. It is an important topic to critique and discuss because literature and art allow us to explore our world in a safe space. If the representations that we encounter are problematic, we need to talk about why they are problematic and how they could have been made better. I’m not saying that Chloe Hart should have written any of her scenes differently. They were hot and they served the story and the reader even if they didn’t serve the characters. But, these novellas don’t exist in a vacuum, so it is worth discussing things that make us uncomfortable.

These novellas were fine and they were quick reads but I won’t be reading anything else in the series. Meh.

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3 thoughts on “Review: Blood and Absinthe by Chloe Hart

  1. I felt the same way about Twilight. While reading it I didn’t think anything was wrong but after finishing it. Well the whole series and thought more about Bella and Edward’s relationship the less good I felt about it. He’s a stalker and a manipulator and whatever interests she had she left on the doorstep as soon as she met him. Feeling this way however didn’t stop me from seeing all the movies and buying the dvd. So what does that say about me?

    • it says you’re a complex person. it’s okay to
      like problematic things. Books like Twilight and this one have given us the opportunity to have conversations about what healthy relationships and consent should look like without having to go through the pain and heartbreak and trauma of our own terrible relationships and violent attacks. I think the bigger problem is liking it without acknowledging the problematic elements in it

  2. Pingback: Adults, Teen Books, Important Conversations, and Our Responsibilities | 2 Women, So Many Books

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