I'm a big fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and have pretty much enjoyed them all. I was excited to see this spin-off of the series, but I have to admit that it left me a little disappointed. The love stories featured weren't exciting for me. Granted, my dislike for romances that feature women who are put on pedestals by their men by virtue of their sheer perfection is one that I don't enjoy. When the dynamic between the couple is a woman who is privileged, wonderful, and too beautiful to behold paired with man who isn't worthy of them because of their difficult background, but who somehow achieve the blessing of their affections bestowed upon them isn't my favorite storyline. Unfortunately, both Craeg/Paradise and Butch/Melissa follow that theme in BLOOD KISS.
Another thing that bothered me in BLOOD KISS is the obvious similarities between the new characters and the established characters in BDB. Paradise is the same type of over privileged, sheltered, beautiful woman as Melissa. She is 'fighting' to forge her own sense of identity and independence by proving that she is capable of completing training. Craeg and Butch both are outside the hierarchy of the glymera and fall in love with the unattainable beauties. Craeg is a commoner and Butch is a former human and neither feel worthy of their mates. Each feel the need to prove their worthiness to themselves, their race, and their love interests. Axe seems to be the Zsadist character for the new batch of trainees. Tattoos and piercings, with a dark and scary persona. However, Axe may not have as traumatic a past as Zsdadist. Novo is the new Xhex, all bad ass androgyny. Peyton is a princep who is extremely handsome, has some substance use issues, and initially doesn't seem to take things seriously. His personality closely mirrors Rhage, minus the permanent dragon. Maybe I'm reading too much into the similarities. Maybe.
There were definitely things that I enjoyed reading BLOOD KISS. Lassiter, of course is a scene stealer. The smart alec extraordinaire of the group is always a guaranteed laugh. The initial competition to win a spot as a trainee was engrossing and had me glued to the pages. The action is always good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am definitely not giving up on the series quite yet. I will read book two when it's released. I just hope that the series develops without the new characters living parallel lives to the old.
Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.
And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.