Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blood Orange Soda - James Michael Larranaga

This book caught my eye on NetGalley for many reasons, but one major reason was that it's set in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I've actually visited St. Cloud, a long time ago when I knew someone who lived there at the time, and although I don't remember it well it makes an interesting setting for this book, as in my mind it's jarring to contrast the normal smallish town world of St. Cloud with a larger vampire story. I liked the way the author set up the story, grounding it in reality so that it didn't seem ridiculously far-fetched. The author set up an altered reality and I felt like he supported it with details so that it felt very real.

Yes, there are a lot of YA vampire novels out there these days, but this one was surprisingly realistic - if that makes sense. I'm not a teenager and I haven't been one for a while, but I thought the author really captured a teenager's voice. This is hard to do; many authors seem to "dumb down" or go too far into ridiculous slang and that type of thing, but this author never did. It helped me relate to and like the main character quite a bit, and it ensured the story didn't fall into predictability. Another thing I liked was that everything wasn't set up as a black/white good guys/bad guys simple story; many of the characters had complex motivations for their actions.

One thing I have to mention is that even for an uncorrected proof ARC, this was chockablock typos and other errors. One typo I've been seeing more and more lately is having quotation marks inside a quote where they don't belong. This one also had a lot of spelling errors, and the dates it cited were off. I'm sure this will all come out in the wash once it's corrected, but man it makes me want to try to get hired as a proofreader.

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