5-star reads,  M/M,  Paranormal

Blood Winter by S.J. Coles

This is not your average vampire read. In a very good way. I’d say it’s quite unique, with vampires being way more alien and predatory, ruled by their instincts to feed and survive. They’re not savages, but this depiction certainly adds more complexity to the story.

Synopsis: Vampires, or heamophiles as they’re called here, have revealed themselves to the human public and tries to integrate into society. The main character, Alec, is somewhat of a recluse, staying away from social events and people in general. And he certainly never expected to attend a blood party where haemophile blood – the most exclusive drug available – is offered as the ultimate high slash aphrodisiac. But the haemophile donor isn’t there willingly, and when Alec helps him instead of partaking, a chain of events is started that puts everyone around Alec in danger.

This is a difficult story to classify. Yes, Alec and the haemophile – Terje – get involved, but it’s not romance. There’s no infatuation and definitely not love. It’s more like an obsession for Alec. And what it is for Terje is even harder to define. Reluctant compulsion maybe? But whatever it is, it’s mesmerizing. The story pulled me in and I couldn’t put the book down.

I’m generally all about the love, but this story had me enthralled for completely different reasons.

The world building for one. It’s bloody awesome – pun intended. It has an entirely realistic feel in the way hate and violence towards haemophile’s and their allies are portrayed. It’s so very like how all non-conformers and minorities have been treated throughout history.

The way Alec‘s past kept me guessing was another thing that made this book so great. He was simply interesting, with lots of baggage to unpack. Yet there was never a woe-is-me feel to it. He was simply a very well-written, three dimensional character that I adored in all his buttoned-up, cranky and introvert glory.

And of course the haemophiles themselves. Their other-ness. Their addictive blood. Their superior physical abilities and potential for violence. It’s genius.

The story is written from a single point-of-view, Alec’s. And even though I usually prefer double POVs, the single was absolutely perfect for this storyline. This way, Terje remains mysterious and alien. It’s awesome.

So I can strongly recommend this book!

My one objection was the over-use of the word “whilst”. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with using it occasionally, it still has an antiquated feel. And after a while, it starts to stand out. But otherwise, this was an awfully good read. So go for it!

* A free copy of this book was kindly provided by Gay Romance Reviews *


I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).