Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book Review: Shelter (Blood Haze #1) by Tara Schuler

Title - Shelter (Blood Haze #1)
Author - Tara Schuler
Publisher - CreateSpace
Date Published - 2011
# of pages - 204

Two guys, one girl, and two dark secrets that threaten to tear her world apart.

Alice Wright is a young vampire going to high school for the first time at the age of seventeen at the behest of her eccentric mother. In many ways, she's more afraid of the human students than they would be of her.

She feels lost and awkward in human society, but she soon develops a strong bond with the cousin of one of her human classmates, nineteen year old Kai. He is beautiful, but somewhat of an enigma. She discovers a dark secret in Kai's life, and she instantly wants to shelter him from the pain that has tormented him all his life.

Then she meets Maksim Augustine, the incredibly gorgeous guy who seems more like he should be a model than a high school student. She is overwhelmingly attracted to him physically, but her love for Kai causes her to continually push him away. Eventually, she discovers a frightening secret about Max, too.

But Max's secret threatens to destroy everything...

My Thoughts: 

Initially I thought this might be just another vampire story, formulaic and predictable. However, I was pleasently surprised. I was going to read it anyways since I actually haven't read a vampire tale in a while. And then when I started reading the story was so different than other vampire books I have read. It deals with important issues and although romance plays a huge part in the plot, there is something that goes deeper than that.

One of the issues Tara Schuler has her characters go through is physical abuse by a parent. A very heavy topic. I can't speak for those who have been abused, but I did think that Tara did a beautiful job trying to convey the emotions and character of the one who went through this.

At the same time there is much that is exciting and adventurous about the story. I liked the different culture that the author created for the vampires. The book opens with Alice explaining who vampires are and how they set themselves apart from humans. Almost like they feel they are too good to be around people - their culture reaks of what could be seen as "high society" and sometimes snobbery. One of the things I liked about the backstory and is what intrigued me about it in the opening lines is the idea that vampires weren't created (as in bitten) but are born that way. They are almost like a separate race rather than anomalies. 

I really enjoyed the story and plan on reading the next two books. There is still much to learn and see and the adventure continues. However, I give this book a lower rating than my love of the story would suggest. I did have some problems with the writing style - it seemed a bit strange at first and took a whlie to get into the flow of it and really just enjoy the story. I also found mistakes in a few places that seemed avoidable - almost as if spell check or auto-complete took over and added in the wrong words but they were completely missed in the editing. I just thought it needed another good eye to go through it. I hope that wont distract you from checking it out if you are interested though as I really think Tara Schuler has a great thing going with the plot, characters, and a fresh perspective on vampire lore.

Disclaimer: Free download from Smashwords

My rating: 3/5

You can purchase Shelter in paperback and kindle formats from Amazon.

You can also see Shelter on Goodreads to read more reviews or add it to your list.

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