Cooper Causey spent a lifetime eluding the demons of his youth and suppressing the destructive power inside him. But a disconcerting voicemail lures Cooper back home to the coast of South Carolina and to Warfield, the deserted plantation where his darkness first awakened. While searching for his missing grandmother, Cooper uncovers the truth about his ancestry and becomes a pawn in an ancient war between two supernatural races. In order to protect the only man he's ever loved, Cooper must embrace the dark power threatening to consume him, and choose sides in a deadly war between the righteous and the fallen.
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4★ Audiobook⎮ Blood Divine has everything that I love. It combines paranormal elements with a Southern Gothic setting. There are witches, ghosts, and vampires. Best of all, it’s a generational tale about a family that carries a coveted supernatural bloodline.
Blood Divine was the perfect listen for August. August is that weird time of the year when summer is coming to a close and Fall is just around the corner. I love listening to Southern Gothic stories in the heat of the summer and spooky paranormal tales leading up to Halloween. Blood Divine was the ultimate crossroads for those indulgences.
My favorite thing about Blood Divine was the family angle. I love when stories give me the urge to map out a family tree. The Phipps family goes back for generations, several of which are named in the story. Understanding the family is essential to understanding the story. I just thank God there was no incest in this one. Those trees are a nightmare. Sideye: Anne Rice.
I was initially hesitant about Cooper, the protagonist, because he seemed like the love ’em and leave ’em type and there’s only so much of that I can take. Cooper’s character development was a lovely surprise. He was much more palatable after a certain officer of the law entered his life again. I became extremely emotionally invested in their relationship and loved the turn it took near the end. There was the briefest of hints of a love triangle formation, which (given the characters) I would have been more than fine with, but Howard decided to take things in a different direction. In the end, I can see that it was the wisest choice for everyone.
The secondary characters were more prominently portrayed than typical secondary characters. That is to say that they felt like much more than “sidekicks”. It almost seems as if each of them deserves a series of their own. Howard has a knack for developing distinct, individualistic characters. Any one of them could have anchored the story on their own. Because of this, I wanted more from each of them. But because there was so much action, there wasn’t a lot of time for in-depth backstories, which would have considerably slowed the pace. Howard did a fine job of giving just enough information, explicitly or implicitly (through character actions), to keep the listener up to speed. So much of these characters’ personas were shown rather than told. In the case of Blood Divine, actions really were louder than words.
Blood Divine was a very plot driven story. There was a lot going on. Howard spent his time developing the world as a whole and introducing the listener to the various species that inhabit his world. I wish there had been more focus on developing the many interesting characters, but I’ll have to be patient. There’s so much untapped potential here. Blood Divine seems like just the beginning. I can’t wait to see how Greg Howard fleshes this story out.
Narration review: As soon as I saw Gary Furlong listed as the narrator, I knew I had to hear Blood Divine. I loved Furlong’s performance in Timekeeper. Once again, I was impressed with his ability to provide such varied character distinctions. When reviewing his narration for Timekeeper, I marveled at his ability to trade his natural Irish accent for an English one. After hearing Blood Divine, I feel like Furlong is just showing off. Not only did he perform the entire story with an American accent, but he also performed much of it with a Southern accent! I was only able to catch one word that wasn’t properly pronounced: Aunt. As an Irishman, Furlong most likely had no way of knowing this, but it should be pronounced like “ant”. Don’t ask me why. Other than that, Furlong did a thoroughly convincing job. ♣︎
➜This audiobook was graciously gifted to me by its author, Greg Howard, in exchange for a review containing my honest thoughts and opinions. Thanks, Greg!
This paranormal mystery has some Southern Gothic flair to it while also being set in the modern day world. Cooper Causey starts off as a bit of a man whore, flitting from man to man in a string of one-night stands. Part of him knows he wants a deeper relationship yet he runs from the idea of it. Then he gets a very strange and a little frightening voicemail from his granma, his only family left, and he hightails it to South Carolina and then Warfield to rescue her. Turns out Granma Maymay (as the locals call her) had some secrets! I can’t recall her real name – Anne-May? Lilly May? I think it was Granma Lilly May so I’ll just call her that.
What a treat this book was! The dark Gothic style to it pulled me right in. I love that there’s family secrets Cooper has to dig up even as he has to decide whether or not to keep his own secrets. He’s gay and he doesn’t know how Lilly May will take it. Silly Cooper! You’ve got much bigger problems on your hands!
So he calls the cops to help locate Lilly May and in walks 6 ft 4 in tall, all muscle, Chief of Police Randy. Yep, Cooper had a crush on him in his teen years and it seems that crush hasn’t faded. Definitely a complication when Cooper doesn’t need one, but a very handsome complication. So, the police are doing their thing when Betsy swoops in and rescues Cooper from Alexander and Stephen (our two main nemeses).
That’s when Cooper has to learn all about the Anakim, which are basically vampires, and how Betsy and her crew have been working hard for centuries to eradicate them from the planet. Cooper’s bloodline has special powers and are called the Divinum. Cooper’s blood does special things for the Anakim.
The story becomes a bit of a hostage swap game as Alexander demands Cooper submit to him as a blood slave in exchange for whoever he has captured at the moment. Yes, there’s plenty of flirtatious and lascivious comments, some double entendres, and some outright compliments between all the men. They often lightened up the mood, putting a little humor into the story line.
I especially liked the two old lady ghosts that set up watch and info center at the Phipps house (Lilly May’s place). Now these ladies don’t like to be called ghosts as that’s an out dated term and considered a little insulting. They prefer to be called spirits. So even as Cooper is learning his ethereal political correctness, one of these old ladies uses out dated terms, such as Negro, which was commonly used when she was alive. Cooper tries to bring them up to speed but eventually shelves it for more important matters. This whole situation gave me a bit of a chuckle.
All together, it was a very good listen. I liked the mystery, and the mystique, the jokes and the underlying seriousness to many of them, the bad guys and their minions, the good guys and their complicated motivations. The story wraps up several major points but leaves plenty open for a sequel. I do so hope things work out OK for Cooper!
The Narration: Gary Furlong is the reason I decided to give this book a listen and I’m very glad I did. The story was engaging and Furlong added to that with his excellent narration. He was perfect as Cooper while also keeping all the other characters distinct. He performed a few regional accents and his female characters were believable. I really liked his voice for Randy both when he was pissed off and in his softer more intimate moments.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Greg Howard. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.