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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Intriguing Horror Suspense Mystery

    This is the story of two people who meet for moments but are intrinsically entwined in some unknowable way. It is well written, intense and action-packed and kept my interest from beginning to end. The author has created two groups of people with their own communities and rules that don’t always overlap easily. The Bloodwalkers and the circus people should not have much in common but…in this story they definitely do share something that is definitely not sugar and spice and everything nice. Sylvie is a Bloodwalker and it time for her to marry. Bloodwalkers do not expect love and are subservient to their husbands. Little did Sylvie realize how horrible her life would become after her marriage. Rurik is in charge of security for the circus - the venue for the wedding ceremony. He was once the strongman of the circus but after his run-in with lightning on two occasions he has relegated himself to staying out of the limelight due to the scars he bears. His focus at the time of Sylvie’s wedding is to find out who is kidnapping children on the last day the circus is in each town they perform in and put a stop to it. Once the wedding is done Sylvie moves off with her husband to an abusive life of drudgery. Rurik continues to search for the kidnapper while dealing with issues in the circus. Eventually Sylvie and Rurik cross paths again and when they do their world shifts and shakes leaving them wondering if any sort of future is possible for them. Creating the Bloodwalkers - a group of people that have lived apart for centuries, have their own rules, have their own customs, and give service to their community was intriguing to read about – they seemed so very real. The phrases at the beginning of each chapter made the Bloodwalkers depth and gave more insight into their lives while foreshadowing what might take place in the chapter ahead. I applaud the author for being so inventive and detailed in creating this group of people. I also believe she did a good job depicting life in the circus. I enjoyed this book and would like to thank the author for the copy to read in exchange for my honest review. 4.5 Stars
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    Draws You In & Won't Let Go!

    Bloodwalker drew me in right away and I found it really fast reading...mostly because it was so riveting that I found it hard to put down. I kept wanting to see what would happen next! The two main characters are Rurik, a former strongman disfigured by a lightning strike, now working at the circus he used to perform in, as the head of Security; and Sylvie, a naive and pretty young woman born into the tradition of Bloodwalkers, a group of people who stay apart from regular society and who perform the duty of preparing the dead. as well as knowing various charms and herbs for healing and harmony. Some are even able to see prophecies and truth from people. But Sylvie has no gift for Bloodwalking or prophecy. Everything she does seems to go wrong and she is terrified of being found lacking and cast out of the only society she has ever known. Both Rurik and Sylvie are fascinating characters and easy to care about. While both have gentle hearts, they also have the inner strength to do what needs to be done when they are tested. The Bloodwalkers were a really interesting creation and one I especially enjoyed. The author created a unique group of people that live their lives by traditions set long ago. They live apart from the world in virtually every way, and to rebel is to risk being shunned and cast out. Their life is difficult. They are trained to work with the dead from an early age, but such work makes regular people see them as bad omens and they are often denigrated by regular folk. They have no say in who they will marry and must be subservient to their husbands who must be of a certain bloodline, as tradition demands. The entries from their "instruction book ... the "Bloodwalker Book" at the start of each chapter really enhanced the believability of the group and it was fascinating to read. So creative! It reminded me of the caste system still alive today in some parts of the world, and the Untouchables who are despised for doing jobs that others find disgusting and therefore seen to be revolting themselves. The book opens with Rurik trying to catch a child kidnapper/murderer after he begins to see a pattern of missing children that follows the route the circus he is employed in is travelling. To protect the circus, his friends and his livelihood, he is determined to stop the person who is dressing up in an old fashioned clown costume with a Harlequin pattern on it. When Sylvie arrives at his circus to be married by Zora, the circus owner's beloved wife who is also a revered Bloodwalker, she stumbles upon evidence of a horrible crime that ties into the kidnappings that Rurik is investigating. The two story lines criss-cross at various points, telling parallel stories of Rurik and Sylvie, along with the mystery of the missing children, until they come together at the end in an exciting conclusion full of twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat. A gripping read with so many creative and interesting elements! I highly recommend it!
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    Entertained me from beginning to end.

    Zorka Cyrka, (Travelling Circus), travels through eastern Europe, bringing joy to the townsfolk that they visit. That is, until they leave, and the children of the town go missing. Rurik is a former member of the circus. With his strong man act, he is now their security chief. After noticing what is happening to the children after every town they have visited, he sets out on a mission to discover who the suspected killer is, in their midst. Sylvie is a young Skomori, she cares for the dead – although she isn’t very good at her job. The Skomori clan and the Zorka do not get along, but after an arranged marriage has been made between the two, they call for a one-day truce. Sylvie is the bride to be, but after she discovers a body, she has a big dilemma about what to do, with a decision that will bring no good outcome for her. Bloodwalker is a fascinating book. It engages the reader and places you slap bang in the middle of the story. You are tantalised with the mysterious circumstances, and whilst some details may not sit comfortably with some people, I found it hard to put down. The alternating chapters between Rurik and Sylvie, really let you feel what each of them was going through, and you get to stand in their shoes, see and hear what they hear, and be there for their discoveries into the murders. There is also a large cast, but this works really well in this book, not something a lot of books can get away with. Bloodwalker isn’t something I would normally have chosen to read, but I am so glad that I did, as it had me on the edge of my seat at times, and entertained me from beginning to end.
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    Twisty, unique, and well-written - irresistible

    Bloodwalker picks up the folklore of the Skomori, a legendary Romanian clan whose women traditionally lay out the dead. Sylvie is eighteen and facing an arranged marriage to a man she's never met, late at the age of eighteen. Sylvie has faced a lot of challenges as an apprentice bloodwalker; despite her knowledge, laying-outs go awry, she doesn't share in the bloodwalker ability to see the future, and there are whispers about her in her home village. By long tradition, the Skomori weddings take place in the Zorka circus, presided over by one of the oldest bloodwalkers living. Sylvie is terrified of what Zora will prophesy for her future - but even her wildest nightmares don't come close. L X Cain has created a unique story, lifting the curtain to give her readers a view into an area of Europe shrouded in fantastic legends of monsters. With a plot where the supernatural blends seamlessly into a murder mystery, peopled with circus performers, murderous clowns, and the closed, ritual-bound community of the Skomori, Bloodwalker will suck you in from the first page and not let go until the last one. This is a fast-paced, brilliantly-crafted book that touches on everything from folklore to domestic abuse to multi-cultural society, and the characters and settings are fascinatingly plausible. Twisty and gripping, I highly recommend this to enthusiasts of the fantasy and thriller genres alike.
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