Thicker Than Blood by Meljean Brook
published in First Blood by Berkley in August 2008
Annie, the only survivor of an attack that wiped out every other vampire in her city, needs help finding an orphaned human girl before a demon does. But help comes from the last man she expected to see again...
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: The Guardians, book #6
The Story: Annie Gallagher was turned into a vampire 6 years ago and was cut off from her family and boyfriend. She became the enforcer in the vampire community of Philadelphia and was hired out to other communities. Coming back to Philadelphia from business, Annie discovered that the whole community - 130 lives - was wiped out by a demon. However, she knows that Cricket, her little human girl friend, is still alive and therefore refuses to leave without her... During one of her feedings, she comes upon Jack Harrington, the FBI agent she loved and thought she'd never see again...
My Opinion: LOVED IT, LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!!!!! Seriously, this one was a great entry to the series and of course, I wished it was a bit longer... but for the length of this novella, Ms Brook definitively pulled it off :)
I really liked Annie and Jack's characters. How strong they were and their ability to build a new life without each other, but still missing each other. What I liked the most though is once they were reunited, they were honest with each other... no denials, no excuses. For example, Jack getting engaged not long after Annie's "death." If it was in any other books, I would have had difficulty accepting it... However, he didn't make excuses for himself and he was so earnest in his explanation and I understood why... in the end, it was perfect. Also, none of them denied that during the past 6 years, they missed each other and that they still had feelings for each other. Usually, in these kind of reunions, they are a lot of denials about their feelings and a lot of resentment, but not in this case and it made it refreshing and more enjoyable.
I also enjoyed the storyline. Surprisingly, it was very balanced between the storyline and character development, which frankly, doesn't happen much in novellas. The intrigue was well constructed and developed and complex as well. I don't feel like Ms Brook 'simplified' the storyline just because it was a novella. It also gave us a different vampire prospective. In previous books, we had Colin which is 200 years old and special, since he's nosterafu-borned, and Charlie, who was a newly turned vampire, while Annie, although not very old, has settled in a community. So it was interesting.
One of the best part I think is Jack finding out what Annie has become without having her telling him in words. It was fun and clever and well done :) Oh, and I loved seeing Lilith... she didn't steal the show which was cool, but seeing her and a bit of her 'past' while she was a FBI agent just added to the story :)
My only complaint, which is going to sound stupid, is Annie and Jack's names... It was just a bit confusing, given that the H/H in the next Guardian book, Demon Bound, are named Alice and Jake. Even their last names are similar: Annie Gallagher and Jack Harrington vs. Alice Grey and Jake Hawkins LOL!!!
My Grade: A-. Sure, the novella was great and well balanced. Of course, if it had been a full length novel, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it even more!!