House of Blood
December 10, 2004
Trade Paperback/368 pages
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"The story glimmers with real genius, but promises more than it delivers."
". . . Death?s handsome face and seductive body lure you to the pit of hell that waits Below."
Death is preferable to the pain of a broken heart and disillusioned love until Death’s handsome face and seductive body lure you to the pit of hell that waits Below.
Dream Weaver speeds north through Tennessee far away from the disillusionment of an unfaithful lover while her friends bicker and snipe at each other until she can stand it no longer and pulls off the highway to get their attention, plunging them into a nightmare of werewolves, demon lovers, and a hidden world of slaves and death that beckons her to join them and end the pain.
Meanwhile, in the world of Below, a plot to overthrow the Master of death and illusion seethes and simmers, ready to boil over when the savior, one of Dream’s friends, arrives. Dream is seduced by the Master and willingly embraces what he has to offer, only to attempt to seduce him in turn just when the hell of Below breaks open and threatens to engulf them all.
House of Blood by Bryan Smith shows moments of sheer beauty juxtaposed with a true hell on earth—or just beneath it—but the story is disjointed and jolts from character to character, plot point to plot point. Overall this is a fast-paced read with a fascinating premise, even though some of the writing just doesn’t work. The characters exhibit sparks of humanity but aren’t given enough room to breathe, and too much is left unexplained and unfulfilled. The story glimmers with real genius, but promises more than it delivers.
However, for all of that, while Smith’s visuals are palpably real and his characters at times rise above the faceless mob, they never seem to find their footing.
Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell