Author: Juliann Whicker
First Published: 2011
Series: House of Slide #1
Seventeen-year-old Dariana Sanders wandered through much of her life an empty shell. Her soul had been stolen from her as a child and now that her beloved brother was gone, it seemed that her cold, colorless existence was finally at its end. When Lewis Axel Nialls was drawn inexplicably to follow her into the woods, neither of them knew this stolen moment would be the start of so much chaos and destruction. Lewis might be perfectly placed to save Dariana from the cold, who will save them from each other?
Whicker’s debut novel spins a fantastical tale of rival families, forbidden love and the ties that bind us. While overall I found the novel engaging and compelling, I continually wavered back and forth during this story, unsure if it was excellent or merely ok. The characters are appealing and the reader continues to uncover hidden depths throughout the length of the novel. The narrative vacillates between captivating and confusing, though you care enough about the characters to see through the frustrating bits to find out what will happen. I found Whicker’s writing at its most compelling when describing the forbidden love and angst-ridden torture of teenage relationships. When we finally reach the climax of the story I was riveted to the text and felt the tugging at my own heartstrings along with the protagonist.
The main challenge for this novel Hotblood is one of review and revision, and I believe a good editor would be able to take this novel from merely good to excellent. There were many places where I had to pause and turn back to review a sentence or paragraph because I was a little perplexed by what was happening. Some small changes would also contribute to a more polished finished product, such as eliminating the often trite chapter titles and streamlining some of the awkwardly worded sentences.
In the end, I’m invested in the relationships among the characters in Hotblood and eager to read more from Whicker in the future.