I am fully in the Halloween spirit at the moment, and I always find in October and November I am drawn to books about vampires. There are so many incredible vampire books out there I am spoilt for choice. So you can imagine my delight when I was asked if I would like to read and review A Cup of Blood.
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It is a book featuring a female protagonist who is a vampire, Maria. And it is a wonderfully dark historical fantasy fiction.
Title: A Cup of Blood
Author: Troy A. Hill
Synopsis: Arthur is dead
I’m undead, and a Celtic Goddess has plans for me …
I was born in ancient Rome. I died when Augustus wore the purple. Six centuries later, the Witch Hunters Guild desires to cleanse Dark Ages Europe of all they deem unholy. Including me. So I flee to Britain.
An unlucky encounter sets one of their zealous bands on my trail. Their dogged pursuit pits my magical undead need for blood – the thirst I call “my demon” – against my sanity. My demon doesn’t understand friend nor foe. She only cares about blood. When she’s in control, we’ll do all we have to in order to sate our hunger. The Witch Hunters drive me dangerously close to unleashing her. If I do, there will be hell to pay.
But a Celtic Goddess has other plans … Why does she want me, an undead girl from Rome, to help her protect Britain?
Categories: Fantasy, Vampires, Historical Fantasy, F/F Relationship, LGBT, Authurian Fantasy
Publication Date: 3rd October 2018
Publisher: TH Medica
Rating: 5 stars
Content Warnings: Early in the book there is an on page threat of rape – it’s fairly extended, if you are interesting in reading A Cup of Blood but need more information on this please get in touch.
Review: I do love a good vampire bools. I have been a fan of vampire novels ever since I discovered Dracula. There is something so darkly enchanting about vampires, and there are so many interesting takes on the vampire lore. And A Cup of Blood is a wonderful addition to my vampire book collection.
The protagonist Maria is a vampire with a conscience who is fleeing Europe to escape from The Witch Hunters Guild, who are hunting blood witches like Maria, among others with powers they deem to be blasphemous. I had already fallen in love with Maria a few pages in to A Cup of Blood. I found her honestly about what she is refreshing, and I love Troy’s take on vampire lore.
We learn about Maria through a series of flashbacks to her past, including how she was created and how she has learnt to control her demon. I really love that Maria sees the demon as separate from her own self, and that she tries to keep her under control as much as possible. Maria is so well written and I feel there are so many layers to her, I cannot wait to read A Soul of Steel which is the second book in the series.
There is a scene early in the book, which has Maria dealing with being captive and the threat of rape hangs over her for a number of pages. This was uncomfortable reading, but I feel that the scene was really well done, and necessary feature on the time period and the treatment of women at the time. We need to know what is making a vampire flee these humans, and it is through these events that we learn that humans can be as monstrous as vampires and that Maria is indeed fleeing for her life.
I really loved the fledgling relationship between Maria and Gwen, and found it to be an interesting discussion on the nature of vampire relationships and feeding. I really like Troy’s take on vampire lore, and look forward to finding out more in the later books.
As a the first book in the series, I found that A Cup of Blood has the perfect balance between character development and plot. The second half of the book has lots of politics and ties in so well with The Penllyn Chronicles and several of the characters mention in those three novellas. (If you fancy a look at my review of The Penllyn Chronicles you can see that here.)
All in all, A Cup of Blood was an incredible read, the protagonist, Maria, has such depth to her, and the world in, which the story is set it is rich and enchanting. The pacing is spot on and the plot is so intriguing, I am really looking forward to reading more of this series. I would definitely recommend it to fans of vampires and historical fantasy fiction. A Cup of Blood is available in both Paperback and eformat over on Amazon*.
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I received a copy of A Cup of Blood for the purpose of this review, however all opinions and words are my own.