by Kathleen Tierney (Caitlin R. Kiernan)
Review by Ellen Russell
Roc Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451465016
Date: 05 February 2013 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Blood Oranges, by Kathleen Tierney is a fast-paced and fun fantasy noir novel, reminiscent of Jim Butcher. Blood Oranges is the story of Siobhan Quinn, vampire and demon hunter. But don't call her Buffy! In fact, don't call her Siobhan either – she hates that. Unlike Buffy, Quinn has no super-powers to help her kill demons. She was a homeless junky when she killed her first demon. After she killed the second one, she gained a reputation in the demon world and gained a protector/employer who she calls Mean Mr. B. He provides her with a home, money, and drugs in exchange for her demon eliminating services.
This arrangement works out fine until one werewolf hunt in which Siobhan loses the fight and gets bitten. To her complete and utter shock, she is saved by a tiny female vampire. Unfortunately for Quinn, this is no Angel vampire. Quinn had previously killed this vampire's child and she wants revenge. Thus, she makes Quinn into an abomination: half werewolf, half vampire. She then tells Quinn that Quinn is to become her special weapon, to get revenge on those who ordered the attack on her child. The now un-dead and super-powered Quinn must discover who ordered the killing and why before she ends up staked.
Tierney's character-building in this novel is excellent. Quinn is a gritty and realistic, as well as sympathetic, heroine. Her language and manners are rough, like those of a street junkie would be, and the fact that the story is told through her voice, as an unreliable narrator, helps the reader truly experience Quinn's personality and views. Tierney also has an excellent ability to create fun and interesting side characters, notably Otis the troll and Clemency Hate-evill the demon prostitute. She blends humor and edge with a distinctive voice for each supporting character which makes them come alive just as much as the main characters.
My only issue with this novel is the plotting. While the story is fast-paced and entertaining, there are some loose ends which are left hanging. A seemingly important clue that Quinn receives early on just drops out of the story completely without being resolved. That, combined with a few small plot holes, keeps the book from being altogether perfect. However, Tierney does know how to put together an interesting story. If you enjoyed her other works, such as Daughter Of Hounds and Low Red Moon, you will love Blood Oranges.