Ever since my young days in middle school, I have primarily read science fiction. I rarely stray from this superior genre and then only to read non-fiction books in pursuit of knowledge. Then one magical day a few weeks ago, while reading the blog of Michael A. Stackpole, I stumbled upon an independent author by the name of Zoe Winters who doubles as an indie evangelist, preaching the gospel of independent publishing. So, I started reading her blog and began to get into the idea that big New York publishers are the devil and authors just need to branch out on their own to directly connect with their audience and bypass the ridiculous hand-holding of the publisher. Her blog was so great that I wanted to see what sort of fiction she wrote. That was when I discovered that she is a *gasp* paranormal-romance author.
With the enormous success of Twilight and other spin-offs, I was immediately repulsed by the notion of reading paranormal-romance because it would hurt my sci-fi/nerd cred (and would make me less of a man). However, I decided to suck it up and read her first published work, Kept. So, I hopped on over to the Kindle store and purchased it for a paltry $1. Soon after that, I downloaded it to my BlackBerry and was prepared to enter a forbidden world that only women and angsty teens typically enter–the world of paranormal-romance.
From what I can tell, Kept is about some crazy chic, Greta, with superhuman strength who can transform into a cat (called a ‘Therian‘) and gets wrapped up in this crazy plot to kill her for the crazy magical powers contained within her blood. There are vampires and other Therians who are like ‘I want to kill you and drain your blood’, so she seeks asylum with some crazy sorcerer, Dayne, who is all like ‘I will protect you only if you give me your blood’. So she is all like, ‘fine, but if you do evil stuff I will just like leave’. They pretty much stay inside his house and have crazy heat-induced sex (when in human form, Therians have like crazy sex powers). Then other stuff happens that I can’t tell you since it would ruin the story (yes, I know romance stories are quite predictable, but you still have to read it).
Overall, this is an excellent read. Especially for the $1 price tag. The writing style of Zoe will keep you engrossed in the story while keeping you guessing as to what is coming around the next corner. The dialog is good and very believable considering all the characters should be locked up in an insane asylum. She weaves great moments of sarcasm and levity with genuine emotion to spin a truly original tale.
As far as romance stories go, this one actually had more to it than two people simply falling in love. Yes, the two main characters in the story do fall for each other, but it happens in an exciting and novel way surrounded by plenty of unnatural surprises. One major problem some romance stories have is that the plot will halt in its tracks while the characters try to figure out exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Kept never suffers from this problem as the plot moves in lockstep with the romance.
Zoe has created a fascinating world to lose yourself in. The characters feel real as the entire world evolves around them throughout their journey. The ending will definitely leave you wanting more. Fortunately for us all, this is only the first entry in her Blood Lust series. The next chapter will be released fairly soon. Check out her blog to stay up to date.
Kept brings a unique take on vampires and were-things that is thoroughly entertaining, even for me–a hardcore sci-fi aficionado. I may have to keep up with the rest of the Blood Lust series (as long as my friends never find out). If you have been looking to read something original and entertaining, Kept is exactly what you are looking for.
I give it 5 out of 5 vampire fangs.
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