I would like to make a disclaimer here that I was given a reviewers copy in order to review the book. My views are my own, if I like a book I say so, if I dislike it, I say so. All my opinions below are my own, they do not reflect anything the author has said.
There are few YA books which address violence quite so elegantly as Villimey Mist’s ‘Nocturnal Blood.’ The protagonist Leia bursts onto the scene, not in traditional ass-kicking style, but violence of the all too ordinary kind. Bullying. Leia is dealing with some mental health issues that we’ve all heard of, but often fail to understand. Leia’s OCD ruled her life as a teenager, and her quirks caused her callous classmates to torment her.
This is violence that’s all too common to those of us that struggle with mental health issues. Yet OCD is a very common condition, characterised by certain irrational practices. It is debilitating enough on its own without your peers troubling you. So when Sophie Gardner attempts to befriend Leia, her years of pain cause initial distrust. When Leia realises that Sophie is actually serious she lets her guard down. Sadly life deals Leia another blow as Sophie’s mother and step-father move them to Canada. Leia slowly loses her only friend as letters slow, and then cease.
What follows is an exhilarating story which rarely takes a pitstop, always surprises and truly disturbs. When I say I read this book in one day, I couldn’t help myself. Sophie Gardner reminds me of Sophie Amundsen from Sophie’s world, grappling with moral philosophical issues, while simply being a human animal. She drags poor Leia along for the ride, and Leia soon discovers that there is a brave princess buried in her somewhere. Her name right soon becomes her authentic self as she breaks out of her shell in an attempt to save her only friend, Sophie, from the laws governing a parallel world. The world of vampires.
You don’t want to miss out on this book. You can see the influence that Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse has had on this generation of writers, as they deal with vampires as beings of duality rather than simply monsters. Vampires must feed to survive, but they have a code of conduct which must be followed and is reflected by the humanity we see in Kenji Yamasaki. The friendship between Leia and Sophie is harrowing while Leia comes to terms with what Sophie has become, and Sophie struggles to remember her humanity, which Leia represents to her.
This book leaves us wanting more which is excellent because a little birdie told me book two is on the way.