There will be spoilers for the novel or novel series Beast Blood.
Trigger Warning: There may be references to rape, racism/prejudice, murder, drug use, suicide, sexual assault, and sexism, as it appears in the novel or novel series.
Euphemia Ashencourt is a pretty girl… and that's all anyone sees in her, which only puts her that much deeper in her half-sister's shadow. Her elder sister is none other than the mayor of Gothic City – a corrupt city overrun with Nightz addicts, gangs, and Beast Blood-hating groups murdering them whenever possible. But Euphemia's sister is slowly working on turning things around. Naturally, Euphemia wants nothing more than to help her sister make the city better and prove that she is more than just a pretty face. So, using her sister's connections, Euphemia gets a job at a research facility to find a way to naturally destroy the Night Bloom – the flower used to create Nightz.
Euphemia never thought that trying to help her sister destroy some flowers would ever lead her to danger. However, one evening, after seeing the Night Blooms bloom, she is captured by some gang members on her way home. They take her out to the Wilds with the intent to assault her before feeding her to a Muta – a monstrous and blood-thirsty creature. Before the men can touch her, she resolves to take her own life and control her death. But in the middle of her attempt, a man with glowing silver eyes appears.
His name is Zelaide, and he isn't just any man. He is Beast Blood, a species that looks human but is much more than that. He's stronger, he's faster, and he's more beast than man, and he's a Hunter – a contractor that does all the violent, dirty work that most humans can't or won't. He takes out the men, defeats the Muta, and saves Euphemia. That would typically be the end of Zelaide's involvement with a human woman, but the moment Euphemia laid eyes on him, she wanted him and wasn't going to let this beast of a man get away.
It's unfortunate to say that this ended up being a really big disappointment. The art absolutely sold me on this, and I was super excited to give it a read. That was maybe two months ago? I have been trying to finish this two-volume series ever since. It is rough. The writing is really, really bad, particularly in the dialogue and internal monologues. Sometimes, the characters speak like they are from the Renaissance era (and even act like it with random curtsying and mentioning “higher stations”). Sometimes, they speak like they are from the 20s (saying “fat cat” and other antiquated phrases). Then Zel sometimes sounds like he might be a hick from my neck of the woods, or he could be Irish? It's all over the place and just sounds terribly awkward. Not to mention, they exclusively refer to sunglasses as specs about one million times. It might be the most used word in the entire series. It was beyond cringe-worthy.
It only hurts more that I have to tell you how gorgeous the illustrations are. They are beautiful, and they were the reason I kept reading because they really are worth seeing. They are beautiful. The character designs are lovely, and, again, it was the art that made me want to read this. What's fun is the very last illustration is a colored illustration of Euphemia, Zelaide, and Zephyr together. It was beautiful, and I wish there had been more because that almost made the whole journey through this story worth it. I am not sure that the art was worth it, but it is pretty.
Now, back to some of the reasons I didn't like this. Don't get me started on character names. They are some of the worst, with some worth mentioning being Vulcan Asymmetry, Zelaide, Euphemia, etc. They just sound like whoever came up with them was trying really hard to make them sound cool, gritty, and unique. The Muta names aren't that better, some of which being Cancers, Bijours, and Chudes, just to name a few. It could be that the writing was so rough that it made the names that much worse, but I think most people would agree that Vulcan Asymmetry is a bad name for a character. It just added a whole other layer of cringe.
Also, the story is pretty weak. First, it feels like many of the ideas and worldbuilding were decided on as the author wrote it. Particularly, everything having to do with Beast Bloods and their culture felt randomly made up. The whole mate concept just popped up out of nowhere, and then there is the whole age thing with Beast Blood's aging slower mentally than humans, which meant Zelaide is 40-ish years old, but mentally, he is a teenager, which didn't really align with his personality to me. Then, there is this whole idea that Beast Bloods are more capable of picking up on human emotions, but most of the tension relies on Zelaide being unable to determine what Euphemia thinks of him or how she feels. It seemed to constantly contradict itself because these details weren't thought out ahead of time and were just brought up to suit the plot.
Second, It tries to build up a mystery on who the big bads are, but the hints it leaves on who they are are so heavy-handed that the big reveals aren't revealing at all. I had guessed who the villains were either by the middle of the first volume or by the end. It was pretty disappointing. And because the mysteries were so easy to solve, all of the tension on who they were and how they were going to attack Euphemia and Zelaide next was lost. I wish the focus had been more on the Beast Bloods, who they are, and how they live over the whole government conspiracy angle. That probably would have resulted in a more interesting and more well-rounded story.
Thirdly, it made no sense why Zelaide randomly decided to abandon Euphemia after all the enemies had been defeated and they had finally confessed to each other. This also contradicts something Zelaide mentions earlier about Beast Bloods that suggests they could get sick or die if they are separated from a living mate for too long, but that is beside the point. He confesses he loves her and is euphoric because he can finally be with her without fear of hidden enemies… only to then decide he has to get stronger before they are together forever. So, he just leaves and doesn't come back until after two or three years have passed. It made no sense and added nothing to the plot because we don't even see what he did during that time. It was just an excuse for him to come back and see his daughter with a misunderstanding that Euphemia moved on without him and had a child with someone else. It was a cute scene, but I would have much rather something that actually made sense, like him being freaked out and scared that she's pregnant with a Beast Blood, them exploring pregnancy together, and maybe for him to find out what a different kind of love is when he meets his child for the first time.
Finally, there are sex scenes, which is why I've tagged this as mature, but if you are expecting some fun, sexy time, there isn't much to be found. One scene gets pretty hot and heavy, but it ends without the actual sex. Then, when Zel and Euphemia finally do consummate their relationship, it is described as happening in a cut-away, which is beyond disappointing since there was such a massive build-up from the initial sexy scene. So, if you are at least hoping for some sexy time, you probably will be disappointed on that front.
I might be a bit harsh in my criticisms, but I wanted to clarify why I found this light novel so poor so others know what to expect going into this. Many people like this based on some of the other reviews I've read, but I found this to be lacking, which is unfortunate because I think, conceptually, there was something there. The sex wasn't sexy, the mystery wasn't mysterious, and the writing was not all that great. I would not recommend it, but if you decide to give this one a shot, don't say I didn't warn you.
Have you read Beast Blood? If so, what do you think? Do you agree with my assessment? Do you not? Let me know, and comment below!