Bloodshot by Cherie Priest. ★★★1/2
Bloodshot might not be particularly deep, but it’s just the sort of fun beach read I was looking for. Raylene, our anti-heroic protagonist, is a neurotic vampire thief. Another vampire, Ian Scott, hires her to retrieve some documents for him after the US army experimented on him and took his sight. What follows is a whirlwind hunt across the United States as Raylene discovers more and more about this government conspiracy.
This wasn’t my first time reading Bloodshot, but after a couple of DNFs I was looking for something more reliable. Luckily, I had ebook copies of both Bloodshot and its sequel on hand. The last time I read the book was sophomore year of high school. This time around, there were a few things I noticed more than previously.
Firstly, Raylene is definitely an anti-heroine. If I had to give her a Dungeons and Dragons style alignment, I’d put her at chaotic neutral. She’s a vampire who doesn’t have much compunctions about killing people, and she’s a thief who doesn’t care at all about the rules of law. She actually reminds me some of Cas from S.L. Huang’s Zero Sum Game. While Raylene stays within anti-heroine territory for the entirety of the book, she does become less of a loner as the course of the book (and the series) develops. She also has a casual, snarky voice that makes her an enjoyable narrator.
I mentioned in the opening paragraph that Raylene’s neurotic. She also says that she might have a form of OCD. However, in both these cases I felt like this information was being told instead of shown. For instance, she says a number of times that she feels like she is about to have a panic attack, but there’s not description of what that actually feels like, and she never actually has one.
Something I also noticed more this time around is that other than Raylene, there’s only one other reoccurring female character. And this character’s an eight year old girl without much plot impact. Since I’ve read the sequel, I’ll note that it does introduce a couple more female characters.
While Bloodshot might not be an especially great book, it is fun and entertaining. Bloodshot contains: a female vampire protagonist, government conspiracies, men in black, and a badass Cuban drag queen. I don’t know if I’ll reread it again in the future, but I was glad that I came back to it this time.