Lifeblood by Werner A. Lind
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lifeblood is a rich and well-written story that makes for a delightful read. Mr. Lind's prose is erudite and elegant. His characters are vivid, each unique and realistic. Most of all, Ana is a heroine that will break your heart. For readers who appreciate a repentant creature of the night, Ana will be completely irresistible. Reading her backstory and the challenges she faces as a reluctant vampire made my heart ache for her. Ana enters the life as a vampire against her will, tricked into her conversion by an unscrupulous male who turns her for his own selfish desires. She spends the following years trying to find a safe place in the world. She has never fed on human blood and won't ever do so, valuing human life. Even though she is now unable to even say the same of God, or enter His holy places, she still honors Him through her conduct. She is a really good person, even if some would consider her a damned creature of darkness.
Joshua is an excellent counterpart to Ana. He is a decent young man, who works hard, honors his family, and treats others with respect. When he meets the tall, beautiful young woman with the odd manner of speech, he is captivated, and he wants to help her in any way possible. He cannot even consider the possibility that she is a vampire, because how can vampires be real? As evidence stacks up that there is indeed a vampire in the area, he still supports and stands by Ana. Even though Joshua doesn't have a fraction of Ana's strength and power, he still manages to be a wonderfully protective knight to her. The sacrifice that he made for her brought tears to my eyes.
I liked how Mr. Lind preserved and respected the older vampire folklore, but gave it a twist that I appreciated. His theory of vampirism is that not all vampires are necessarily evil. What they are in life is magnified in death. In the case of Ana, her goodness as a human being is still preserved and evident in her afterlife. I also liked how he demonstrates the fact that evil is not just found in supernatural beings. In this case, the most evil character in this novel is a human being. One who is devoid of human decency, honor, and respect for life. Although the extremes of good and evil are presented, it is not done in a mealy-mouthed fashion. The characters are human and well-developed, with layers to them.
For readers who enjoy a clean romance and dialogue free of bad language and objectionable material, I think this book will more than suffice. Although the world here is presented in a family-friendly fashion, it is not unrealistic. The social ills of modern life and Ana's past, shown through flashbacks, are presented realistically, but there is nothing vulgar about this novel.
I have been wanting to read this story for years, because I have maintained a friendship with Mr. Lind on Goodreads, and I do respect him tremendously, and I have always been impressed with his demeanor, his writing and his knowledge of folklore and supernatural fiction. I can honestly say I was in no way disappointed, and everything I had always respected about him as a person is evident in this novel. I am very happy I finally had the opportunity to read Lifeblood. It was a very enjoyable experience. This novel is both poignant and humorous. The underlying spiritual message is evident to those who are seeking it, but never shoved down the reader's throat. I think the vampire fiction genre is a better place for this story having been written.
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