Sweet Oblivion 1: Brazen by Jordan Castillo Price – review

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 
Title: Sweet Oblivion 1: Brazen
Author: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: Paranormal, vampires
URL: Changeling Press
Price: US $4.49
Other Information/warnings: Threesome, blood play, explicit m/m
Summary [from the publisher]:
It’s a sultry July night, and Wild Bill is content. It’s deliciously warm outside, the fireworks are about to start, a whole pint of freshly-tapped blood is on the menu, and his boyfriend hasn’t murdered anyone in months.

Too bad Bill’s contentment isn’t shared by Michael, who’s tired of his own lack of experience. He hints that a new lover in their bed might broaden his horizons. Their first encounter might have been a threesome, but it certainly didn’t end well for the third participant.

Even now, Bill can’t seem to shake the memory of the hickory stake protruding from the chest of his old nemesis. Lust wars with guilt as Wild Bill tries to figure out how to bury his past, once and for all.

My review:

This is officially the start of a new series, separate from Channelling Morpheus, but it is in reality a direct continuation of storyline and characters from that earlier series, so I’m not really sure what the demarcation is. Basically, it is more of the same, both in quality and style, so if you like Price’s vampire Wild Bill and his increasingly spooky, creepy ‘human’ lover, Michael, then you will love this.

Having said that…I think this is where I hop off the vampire train. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this story. The sex is hot, the relationship is twisted and fascinating, becoming more so, and Wild Bill is a compelling narrator. But – the problem for me is that Price is too damn good at her descriptions, and the increased fetishisation of blood and grotty surroundings (she does love her manky men) is a real turn off for me because she makes them so real. There’s no pretending these people are living some kind of decent, fairy tale existence. It’s squalid, aimless and predatory. So much so that even Wild Bill is a little sick of it.

There’s very little plot in this – Michael is horny, Michael wants a threesome, and what Michael wants, Michael gets, the little bitch. But we see more of the blurred line between his humanity and Wild Bill’s vampire state, which bothers him not at all but Wild Bill quite a bit. We learn more of Bill’s past, and his burden of guilt. We learn more of the obstacles in the path of a human-vampire longterm relationship. But when you come down to it, it’s pure and simple erotica, and Price does this very well, even though she makes you squirm while she does so. As such, it holds lesser appeal than some of the other stories with these characters, but if you want good smut, this is definitely it.

I will still probably read the next books in this series – Price really is that good – but without any expectation of enjoyment. Not the way I look forward to her next Psycop, say. Not a personal reread, but it’s quality writing, nonetheless.