Updated: Jun 18
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A delightfully bloody blend. Young Adult, vampires and mental health done justice.
The moment I saw the cover art for Nocturnal Blood I was hooked. Now, admittedly, the YA tag almost made me hesitant, but oh wow am I glad I trusted my instincts and dove into this one!
Villimey treats her Young Adult debut the way the genre deserves to be treated. She doesn’t shy away from difficult topics or mature themes, rather embraces them and how they serve this fiercely powerful coming-of-age story.
And what a story!
Mist paints a perfect picture of Leia, our endearing protag who is absolutely named after everyone’s favourite rebel princess, and the first-person POV works magic to draw you into this intriguing character and her ‘quirks’.
Leia has OCD. She’s timid and has few to no real friends until the day her classmate Sophie comes to her rescue. But as friendship blossoms between the polar-opposite youths, Leia’s life is upturned as events suddenly whisk her saviour far from their Anchorage home.
Growing up can be torture without your best friend, but when Sophie unexpectedly returns into Leia’s life amidst a string of savage local murders, the real torture begins. Sophie has become a creature of the night and blood, a vampire capable of tearing grown men to shreds, and while this repulses her old friend, Leia is left no option but to join Sophie on an unforgettable road trip.
Throughout the novel, Mist shows strong command of language and ability to create tense, atmospheric and powerful scenes with ease. The story flows wonderfully, leading the two unlikeliest of companions along the backroads of the country, contending with the threats of a vampire’s world - from common muggers to human, vampire-serving familiars, ghouls and single-minded hunters.
What shone strongest for me was the carefully identified and planned lore, along with the confidence to take the story where it needs to go. Young Adult shouldn’t hide from the grittier nature of life and it is those same aspects of life and relationships which empower this tale.
This book is easy to read, which, as we know, makes for the hardest writing. Mist’s choice of a main character is brave and compelling, aiding the tension of the story and adding fuel to its fire.
Strong character interactions, believable motivations, harsh truths and dark twists await you in these pages, along with pepperings of pop-culture references which spoke to me as so much in this fantastic tale.
A grand and doomed adventure rooted in the heart and the most basic and vital of needs - to be loved and share time with those dear to your heart. Human motivation woven into the supernatural brings Nocturnal Blood its greatest strengths.
Highly recommend this for the discerning YA reader, especially those ready to step foot on the bridge to more mature content. Ready yourself for the bloodiest road trip you’ve experienced. Nocturnal Blood will not disappoint you!