Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover--New Blood by Gail Dayton

I have learned my lesson--Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover! I wanted to buy this book when it first released, but the cover just hit me the wrong way. Me and blood, well, we don't get along. And it's splattered across the cover. So many times my mom and I would be at the bookstore and the book never failed to catch my eye. I'd show it to her and say, "Why couldn't it have a different cover?" I have bought books solely based on the cover and been utterly disappointed. Beautiful covers DO NOT mean fantastic books. So why in the world would I think that unappealing covers to me would have a disappointing story? I do find the cover very interesting and unique, it's just the blood! I know, very superficial of me.

But I couldn't take it anymore. I finally bought the book. I have gone to Gail's website I don't know how many times looking into this new series of hers and it just sounds so good! And now there is a second one scheduled to release in December or February (Two different places have different release dates) And the second book's cover is very neat!
In 1636, the last blood sorceress was burned at the stake. More than two hundred years later, her blood servant Jax has found her successor. Amanusa at first turns down the opportunity to learn what she perceives as an evil art, but she craves justice.

When Amanusa looses magic on those who've harmed her, she must flee for her life across a devastated Europe with Jax, who is inescapably bound to her by blood and magic. Their journey takes them through zones where everything--including magic--has died. Zones populated with strange creatures cobbled together from things left behind by the dead.

Needing each other for their very survival, Amanusa and Jax grow ever closer on their journey to discover answers--about magic, blood sorcery, the dead zones, and even love.
I enjoyed New Blood immensely. I must say, however, that if you are a die hard romance reader, then you will likely not enjoy it for the romance aspect of it. The romance is there but subtle, but it does become the main focus more than halfway through the book. And it was mightily satisfying. Not in the hot and steamy sort of way, but in the fulfilling heart-warming sort of way. The romance was kinda weaved into the overall plot and I thought it was great. The creativity of the world was strongly focused on, and I found it to be quite unique and very fresh.

There are four different types of magic users--Conjurers, Wizards, Alchemists and the very rare Blood Sorceresses. Actually, the non-existent blood sorceresses since the last one Yvaine was burned at the stake over two hundred years ago. But before she died, she poured all her knowledge into her blood servant, Jax, and sent him out to find her successor. The task taking him two hundred years to finally complete.

There is one aspect of this alternate reality that held true--women are less than men. So when it came to practicing magic, women were shunned. But what the politicians within the magical community, as well as the latent people, were not aware of, was that all four magical groups were needed in order to keep a safe balance amongst the land. Over the years magicians attempted to become blood sorcerers but could not figure out why that magical talent could only be performed by women. That I found to be the most fascinating aspect of this world. Only women can use this powerful magic.

Gail Dayton takes you on a fantastical journey through an alternate world where magic is inherent within the land and there are folks that have the ability to siphon and use that magic. The foundation of this alternate world was one that lured me in slowly but then fought halfway through to put the book down. I didn't want to. New Blood was an extraordinary tale of magic and the power of women. I've not read anything quite like this one. No doubt, it's a world I look forward to journeying into once more in Heart's Blood.

I hope there is more regarding the odd contraptions that were found in the Dead Zones. It wasn't explained in New Blood what the purpose of those things were. I hope it's not a loose end that will never be further expanded on and explained. I was intrigued but left hanging! But I found the book to be amazing and a well satisfying read nonetheless. 4.5/5

Heart's Blood
coming February 2010 from Tor Books.
Book 2 in the steampunk blood magic universe.
(Amazon shows a release date of December 29, 2009)

Visit Gail's website here to learn more about her other fantasy trilogy, The One Rose Trilogy. I have those three books. I read the first one a few years ago, and enjoyed it. Not sure why I never stayed with it as the other two books released. But I plan to rectify that soon.


Michelle G said...


I have this one on my wish list. :)


Amanda said...

I was waiting to see what you thought of this book! And now it seems it is going on my ever growing list of books to get!

Thanks for the review Amy

Jill D. said...

Oooh, that is a God aweful cover. It is not appealing at all. Glad you liked the book, though. I have bought a book based on the cover before and not even been able to finish it - so there you go.

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Amy,
Oh that second cover is just lovely. But the first one, I see why you didn't buy it at first.
Steam punk sounds fun, I sure have to try this genre one day

Amy C said...

Hi Michelle,
When your wish is granted, I hope you like it too!

Hi Amanda,
You gotta love the ever growing list of books!
How are you liking Rhapsody? I'm so curious to know what you think.

Hey Jill D.,
LOL, there definitely isn't anything romantic about the cover, but now after reading the book, I understand and can accept it! Me too, I've bought a few that had absolutely amazing covers but the story was not so amazing. But I can say for myself that I loved New Blood!

Hey Blodeuedd,
It was the second cover that made me shake my apprehension for the first cover and buy it. I felt like I was missing out on a great story and I was and would have. I think the font is cool!

Amanda said...

So far I am loving it Amy, I haven't had too much time this past week to read it but I intend on getting stuck in this weekend!

Amy C said...

Awesome, Amanda! I've only been reading in the evenings. During the day with Devin home, it's hard to concentrate. I was going to reread Prophecy also, but with all the good books I have to read, I just can't stay with it :(. It was supposed to be my July reread challenge book, but it doesn't look like I'm going to be participating again this month.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Amy!

I'm barely keeping up with blogging and reading has almost completely left the scene!!

New Blood sounds great, maybe the cover would have turned me off, not sure, you know I love a good magical tale. The cover made me think it was going to be related to vamps, and so totally not the case! Okay, it's a confusing cover and now that I've looked it over a couple of times, I wouldn't have picked it up either. LOL!

The second cover is great and seems to match the story line. Definitely more enticing!

I've missed this author altogether! I'll have to check her out.

Great review and thanks for the recommendation!

Dottie :)

Amy C said...

Hey Dottie,
Had I not read The Compass Rose by Gail a few years ago I'm certain this one would have slipped right past me, but I was already aware of the author and liked her writing. I'm really glad I decided to pick this one up. So not disappointing!

Amanda said...

Thats my problem too, I don't have the concentration to read too much in the evenings!

Eva S said...

Oh no, one more for my too long wish list!

I agree about the cover, perhaps I've missed one or two great books because of their aweful covers...

Amanda said...

Oooo do I see you're reading Darkfever?!

Amy C said...

Haha! Yes, ma'am, Amanda, I am reading Darkfever...Finally! I passed on the series when it first came out because of the first person and all that, but I couldn't take it anymore. I finally broke down and bought the first book a few weeks ago! I love her books so I am sure I am going to love this series too. I'm not far, but far enough to know I am going to like it too. I take it you are a huge fan of the Fever books? :D

Hey Eva,
I wonder how many good books I've not read because the cover wasn't appealing to me? That is a good question, since it seems most of us when asked do base a lot of our buying decisions on the covers.

naida said...

I need to add Gail Dayton to my TBR.
These books sound good!
yeah, that first cover is kind of icky.

wonderful blog by the way!

Amanda said...

LOL What would give you that idea!? Yes I love her books!! Its a good time to start them with the 4th one due out soon!

Amy C said...

Thanks, naida, and thank you for dropping by! If you should read some Gail Dayton, I would love to know what you think :D.

HAHA, Amanda! And doesn't the third book release in paperback the end of the month also? I have to get those two still. I probably will wait until this new one releases in paperback before I get it. I don't like having hardcover and paperback in the same series. I am really enjoying Darkfever! I love that it is a branch off of her highlander books. It's neat that she has expanded so thoroughly on the Fae and that world!

AnimeJune said...

You know, the cover to this book turned me off, too - it looked too circus-y. And I am a bit of a reader magpie who is attracted to pretty pretty covers - and it certainly doesn't help but Avon has some of the prettiest covers of all.

Amanda said...

LOL we'll see what you say when you finish the third one, and yes it is available in paperback at the end of the month!

Christine said...

Sounds fascinating. I'm going to add it to my list. And to think I was within 10 feet of a Borders earlier today and I didn't even stop. I'm sure I would have if I read this review first.

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hey Amy,

I have to agree with you about not judging a book by its cover! And this is one I probably wouldn't have looked at twice either, solely based on its cover. Oh,and I wanted to tell you that I LOVE visiting your blog, its so fun and informative! And becuase of that I have left you an award. Please go to- and click on my ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD!

Keep up the good work and enjoy your award!

You deserve it!

Andrea- The write life

Blanche said...

Honestly this is one book I would probably pass on based on the cover but based on your review and is on my list!! :)

Lea said...

What a great review Amy and this story sounds truely unique.

I think I might enjoy the read and will add it to my list too.

Thanks so much for sharing!


Amy C said...

Amanda, I have heard that KMM likes to leave you hanging at the end of these books, waiting impatiently for the next! Lucky for me then that I waited to start them :). But you might be right, I might not want to wait to read the fourth book when I finish the third one. We'll see!!

Amy C said...

Hi AnimeJune, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving a comment!

Christine!! Ten feet from a bookstore and you didn't stop?? LOL You have amazing will power :P. I'm glad you think it sounds good enough for you to pick up. I can't wait to see what you think of the entire Black Jewels Trilogy as a whole!

Andrea! ((Hugs)) Thank you so much! I'm honored you love my blog. That was so thoughtful of you to think of me.

hey Blanche, you know, it seems that everyone who commented today would have passed on this book based on the cover. It makes me sad that this book suffers because of it. I wonder how many people out there also feel this way? I wonder what the author thinks? And what the cover artist would think if he/she knew that it was receiving such a negative response, and since it is women buying the book since it's categorized in the romance why it wasn't designed with a more romantic feel. I'm all for different, but it still is romance. I think it is much better suited for a horror novel rather than romance. And like I said, the story is an awesome and unique one and doesn't deserve to be passed on! I am relieved that the sequel has the romance appeal! It has an eerie gothic look to it. I really like it!

Hey Lea! Another book added to the list! Yes!! You know, I've not seen you read a fantasy type book before. Up for a friendly challenge? :P

Donna (Fantasy Dreamer) said...

I agree on the cover, when I first seen it I'd didn't really pay attention. Still hadn't till now, really enjoyed your review. I'm adding to this one to the tbr wish list. It'll my introduction into Steampunk.

Cybercliper said...

Hi Amy...I'm with Blanche on this one. Cover didn't appeal to me at all. I've picked this up and put it down countless times because I just couldn't reconcile the cover and the blurb. Now your review makes it much more appealing and the next time I pick it up, I'll probably walk away with it. Thanks...

Gail Dayton said...

Hi! My name is Gail Dayton, and yes, New Blood is my baby. I have been ambivalent about the cover--it's definitely eye-catching, which is a good thing, but it's creeped people totally out, which is not so good.

My editor (Heather Osborn) and I have had conversations about how she has had to plead with the art department to put a couple on the cover-- They're used to doing science fiction/horror/high fantasy covers, not romance, so they tend to shy away from anything "mushy." But we did get a couple on the cover of HEART'S BLOOD.

At the RWA literacy signing, I put my "autographed copy" stickers over the worst of the blood. I also thought about having "No vampires, just magic," as the slogan for the book.

Oh, and the December 29 release date is the correct one for HB. (It is Grey Carteret's story, for those of you who've read the first book.) It was originally going to be released in Feb., but they moved it up a month--which was a surprise to me when I saw it on the cover flats a week ago Wednesday.

In most of the bookstores I've seen it in, it hasn't been in the romance section, but the SF/F section...maybe because of the cover?

Anyway, thanks Amy for the lovely review. And if y'all have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them. :)

(I LOVED the Black Jewels books. Liked Sebastian and Belladonna too. Anything by Nalini Singh-- I'm at GoodReads and Shelfari if y'all want to friend me. :) )

Amy C said...

Hi Gail!
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. Maybe having reader feedback like this will help the cover artists be more cooperative in the future when working with a romance targeted book. I'm so happy that you were able to get a couple on the cover of Heart's Blood! I do really like that cover. It has an eerieness to it!

I was wondering about Heart's Blood. I couldn't find any info about that book, and I am so pleased to hear that it is centered around Grey! He didn't have a huge role in New Blood, but enough that I would love to learn more about him. And Grey also being Jax's descendant of sorts.

I assume then, Heart's Blood picks up where New Blood leaves off with healing the Dead Zones? And will there be more of Jax and Amanusa in this one? And her learning more of the Blood Sorcery and bringing in other women to train?

Yay! Another Anne Bishop fan! I have and read all her books. Wasn't the Ephemera duology pretty darn cool? I would love to see her revisit that world. It was so crazy complex!

Gail Dayton said...

Yes, New Blood ends in August 1863, and Heart's Blood begins in October '63, in London. Amanusa and Jax will return, but fairly late in the book. They're off on their honeymoon, after all! :) I'll get the "official back cover copy" up on the website ASAP. Maybe even today.

Amy C said...

Thanks, Gail! I went and read the blurb for Heart's Blood. It sound great! I swear, I won't even hesitate to pick this book up when it hist the shelves!