Tuesday, 2 August 2011

‘Blood Work’ – Kim Harrison (Del Rey)

One of the many things that I love about reading, in general, is how a book leaves me feeling after I’ve finished it and put it down. Of course I’m going to love it if a book leaves me feeling lots of positive things, I mean who wouldn’t? We’d all rather feel good about a book that we’ve enjoyed reading. Funnily enough though, I actually quite like it when a book leaves me feeling negative about the reading experience I’ve just had. I may not agree with how the writer tackled their subject matter (or any number of other things) but if it engages me and leaves me feeling strongly about something by the end... well, that’s a definite plus. If it’s jammed full of typos, continuity errors and overly reliant on lazy clich├ęs that’s another deal entirely though!

What really gets me is when I’ve sat down and read a book (all the way through to the end) only to find that I’m left feeling absolutely nothing at all; nothing in the book has leapt out and grabbed me in any way, shape or form. I don’t know about you but that just makes me feel like I’ve wasted my time reading the book. You’re never going to know until you pick the book up, to start off with, but even so...
Here’s ‘Blood Work’ then, a book that left me feeling absolutely nothing at all.

I’ve copied and pasted the blurb for ‘Blood Work’ (from Amazon), the reasons for this will hopefully become clearer as we go along...

Hot-as-hell, tough-as-nails detective Ivy Tamwood has been demoted from homicide down to lowly street-crime detail. As if rousting trolls and policing pixies instead of catching killers wasn’t bad enough, she’s also been saddled with a newbie partner who’s an earth witch. It’s enough to make any living vampire bare her fangs. But when a coven of murderous witches begins preying on werewolves, Rachel Morgan quickly proves she’s a good witch who knows how to be a badass.

Together, Ivy and Rachel hit the mean streets to deal swift justice to the evil element among Cincinnati’s supernatural set. But there’s more to their partnership than they realize—and more blood and black magic in their future than they bargained for.

‘Blood Work’ is a book that aims to let readers know just how living vampire Ivy Tamwood ended up being partnered with earth witch Rachel Morgan for I.S (Inderland Security) business. Now, I haven’t read the series but I’m sure it’s been going on a lot longer than the publication of this comic book so my first question was ‘wouldn’t long term readers know all this already?’ Seems like a bit of an odd one considering background setting in the series should have covered this. Never mind I thought, at least I can come in at the beginning and get to know these two characters right from the start.

That’s what I thought anyway...

‘Blood Work’ just happens to be a book that throws it’s readers in at the beginning of Ivy and Rachel’s partnership but assumes that you’ve read the other books already and will get what’s going on. As someone who’s never read any of Kim Harrison’s books (what am I missing?) confusion totally reigned as far as I was concerned and I had no idea what was going on. I know there was a case to solve but it was totally lost under a mass of references that I knew were happening but was oblivious to their meaning. Stuff happened but I had no idea why. I guess there’s only so much room for background information in a comic but others manage, why couldn’t ‘Blood Work’? I can’t engage with a story if it doesn’t want to engage with me, that’s the bottom line I guess.

This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the artwork had been of a slightly higher standard. Unfortunately, Pedro Maia and Gemma Magno combine to offer up artwork that does a basic job of scenery setting but then goes and fills it full of characters that are posed very awkwardly and don’t seem to be able to move smoothly. I couldn’t even engage with the artwork...

‘Blood Work’ was so inaccessible that I’m foregoing the normal score here and rubbing my poor tired eyes in a flurry of ‘what the...?’ Maybe I’m being too harsh on it, not having read the other books, but this really felt like a book that had no interest in engaging its reader. Doubtless, long term fans will find more to appreciate but I can’t believe that the dynamic between Ivy and Rachel hasn’t been gone over already? Oh well, onto the next book... 

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