Blood Ex Libris

Blood Ex Libris

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Somewhat steamier than books I typically read, “Blood Ex Libris” by Raven Belasco is a dark fantasy blended with romance, erotica, humour and adventure. The story revolves around Anushka – aka Noosh – a librarian who frequently fails to engage her brain-to-mouth filter, especially when swept off her feet by a dark and mysterious stranger. You might have heard of him – Vlad Dracula.

He’s not your typical vampire from the stories, though. For starters, Vlad is no longer impaling people… well, not in the traditional sense. What starts out with frequent rounds of sex, drooling over ancient books, and discussing what is and isn’t true in vampire lore, quickly turns into something more action packed for Noosh and Vlad, who now goes by “Sandu” – short for Alexandru. Two factions of vampires are going to war, and Noosh has her side picked.

So much for just cataloguing and preserving ancient books and manuscripts as Noosh had first thought. What? You thought the life of a librarian would be dull?

It’s clear that author Belasco knows her vampire lore. I get the impression a whole lot of effort has been spent cherry-picking parts of various myths and legends and then blending them into a unique take on the genre. From rituals to history with many vampires (actually “am’r” in the story but “vampire” is easier to wrap your head around) and of course most of them being long-lived have centuries of their own timelines and interactions.

Character wise, Noosh certainly owns the story. She’s quirky and witty and socially awkward at times. The humour either spoken or her inner dialogue is often at odds at something intense going on, which just makes her more likable as a character. Sandru (Vlad) is the main supporting character and is interesting in his own right, feeling well developed and not just relying on what “everyone knows” about Dracula to prop him up.

One thing of note – there’s a lot of foreign languages used without translations. There’s an author’s note at the beginning saying if it’s vital to the story then it gets explained and goes on to say that sometimes the protagonist doesn’t always understand what she’s hearing, so isn’t. For me, this worked well as an immersive tactic and helped to get into Noosh’s headspace at the time.

The narration by Amber Benson was excellent. I didn’t realise when I started but her voice sounded familiar even though I couldn’t find anything I’d previously listened to by her. Eventually I realised it was Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer – an appropriate choice for a vampire story!

Her characterisation and accents felt realistic to me, as did the pronunciations in multiple languages. Of course, not speaking those languages I can’t say for certain, but they were delivered with confidence that they felt correct. No production issues that I noticed – so no background noises, repeated lines or the like. Quality job all round.

Looking back over the notes I made while listening, I’d noted towards the end that it felt like two stories in one. The first part being the easy-going relationship development and frequent sex and biting between Noosh and Vlad turns a lot more serious as Noosh drops into the world of the vampires more fully.

It all works though, and frankly I don’t think there was time for steamy vampire sexing during the kidnapping, explosions and flame-throwing. Once things settle down though, I’d expect they’d be back at it.

All in all, I enjoyed ‘Blood Ex Libris.’ It’s a great debut novel with memorable characters and an interesting plot. If dark fantasy, vampires, humor, action, and steamy, bloody sex tick your boxes, then sink your fangs into this one.


Horror, Vampires, Romantic Action & Adventure
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