Written in the Blood (The String Diaries #2) by Stephen Lloyd Jones

“Chilling . . . A neo-gothic treat; original, richly imagined, and powerfully told.” —The Guardian 23197290(UK) for The String Diaries

See the girl. Leah Wilde is twenty-four, a runaway on a black motorbike, hunting for answers while changing her identity with each new Central European town.

See the man, having come of age in extraordinary suffering and tragedy in nineteenth-century Budapest; witness to horror, to love, to death, and the wrath of a true monster. Izsák still lives in the present day, impossibly middle-aged. He’s driven not only to hunt this immortal evil but to find his daughter, stolen from an Arctic cabin and grown into the thing Izsák has sworn to kill.

See the monster, a beautiful, seemingly young woman who stalks the American West, seeking the young and the strong to feed upon, desperate to return to Europe where her coven calls.

Written in the Blood is the epic thriller of the year, a blazing and dexterous saga spanning generations, and threading the lives of five individuals driven by love, by sacrifice, by hunger and by fear. They seek to save a race–or to extinguish it forever. – Goodreads.com

Let me start by saying, if you are the type of reader who doesn’t mind reading a series out of order, I strongly recommend you don’t take that approach with this series.

This book started out slow for me and it took me longer to finish than normal, but eventually got to a point where it grabbed my attention.  Chapters alternate between different points in time, past and present, and varying characters and viewpoints, but I enjoyed learning how they were all connected and interwoven near the end.  I also appreciated meeting the person Leah had become and seeing how her character had developed.

The first book in this series, The String Diaries, was a solid five stars for me (review here), but this followup didn’t reach out and grab me in the same way.  Although I liked seeing how the different storylines were related, it takes a long while to get there.  The climax of the book was full of action and some surprises, but the last few pages were wrapped neatly in a box that left me feeling slightly betrayed.

Even though this book didn’t resonate with me as much as the first, I’m glad I read this sequel to followup with these characters and continue their story.

This review is based on a digital copy from the publisher through NetGalley.



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