The Blakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.
I was a little reluctant to start another series about vampires, despite the positive reviews of these books I've seen throughout the blogosphere. But then Emma from Bloomsbury sent me the first three in the series and it didn't seem right not to read them. So, thank you, Emma - now that I've given the series a chance I can see its appeal. My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey is the first in a YA vampire series with an interesting vampire heirarchy that deals with a queen's court and other vampire mythology. It also contains a lot of romance, some kick-ass heroines and strong friendship. While it isn't the best book I've read in awhile, it was entertaining and I sped through it pretty quickly.
Solange comes from an unusual family where the vampires are born and not made. Solange is even more different by being the only female vampire on the cusp of making the bloodchange into becoming a vampire. Because of this, she emits special pheromones that attract other vampires and is also the reason of much jealousy and her position puts her family and friends in danger. Solange, together with her best friend Lucy (a human), Solange's parents and her seven older, attractive brothers, must battle a jealous vampire queen, a team of vampire slayers called the Helios-Ra and a whole horde of hormonal vampires set out to woo Solange.
I admit that at the start, I was a little confused. It seemed a lot of information to take in regarding Solange's family history, the courts, and the Helios-Ra. While I was reading it, I did have to flick back and forth to make sense of it all, but it all became clear in time. The story is told with a dual-perspective, as we get inside both Lucy's and Solange's heads. This allows the reader to witness more first-hand action as well as see into the thoughts and feelings of both girls as they struggle with their feelings for the men in their life. I found Lucy, Solange's human friend, to be quite a fun character. Lucy is kind of brash and reckless whereas Solange is more after the easy, quiet life in her pottery shed, but you can definitely feel the strength of their friendship pretty quickly when reading.
The action was pretty fast-paced but I felt like the vampire mythology had too much packed into too small of a space. I'd like to have seen the information trickle down to the reader at a gentler rate, especially as it is a series. Having said that, it does give a good foundation for future books having already established the groundwork.
As for the romance, I thought that the relationship between Solange and the vampire hunter happened too quickly for my likely and didn't seem quite believeable. However, the chemistry and relationship between Lucy and Nicholas was wonderful. I'd like to have seen scenes with the two of them expanded just a little bit more and I loved the transformation of Nicholas from Solange's annoying older brother to someone who makes Lucy's heart skip beats. I liked their shared history together, but I so wanted more.
All in all, I did enjoy this book. It's a good first installment of what looks to be an interesting series of vampire books. Thankfully I have the sequels, Blood Feud and Out For Blood waiting for me.