“New Order”, the second book of the Bo Blackman series, is as fresh and as much fun to read as “Dire Straits” was.
Bo hates being a vampire. The idea of drinking blood revolts her. The fact that she was turned against her will makes her angry. The fact that there was a good reason for turning her just makes her angrier still. Despite being told, many times by many people, that there is no cure for vampirism, she sets off to find one and gets into a great deal of trouble during her search.
I love Bo’s anger, her impulsiveness and her (sometimes stupid) refusal to ask for help or take advice. Most of all, I like her refusal to accept that there is no way out of her situation. True, all of these things make her life more difficult than it needs to be, but they also make her more human. Bo’s humanity, or rather her refusal to abandon her humanity, is the driving force of this book. She may be a vampire but she’s determined to still be herself. Except, some parts of being a vampire (running across the rooftops of tall buildings, having super strength, healing really quickly) are really cool, and, much as she want to break free from the Monserrat vampire family that turned her, the leader of the family attracts her in ways she finds hard to ignore.
Helen Harper, describes her alternative London with deft, confident strokes. She clearly has a larger story arc in mind. Her world building deepens, telling us more about witches, demons and magic, as well as seeing how the vampire families work.
Although Bo is always dashing from place to place, often throwing herself in harms way, the story is not chaotic. The pace is carefully controlled and perfectly timed.
By the end of this book, I found that I now had an ensemble cast that I’m interested in, a volatile main character with bags of potential to entertain and surprise and a well written new world that I’m going to enjoy visiting as often as Helen Harper invites me to.