Blood of Anteros revolves around the vampire Curry and his Agape, Chansey (no, not the pokemon). Curry was forced in to the lifestyle of a vampire by his creator and, in an interesting turn of events for the mythos of vampires, was freed from his bondage in order to be able to love his Agape – Chansey.
The interesting parts of the book concern the evolution of Cates’ version of vampires. In here, they are somewhere between the traditional
blood suckers of classic vampires and True Blood. She has built an interesting mix of mythos and new world ideals. The creation and relationships within the vampire community are, for the most part, interesting and refreshing. That Chansey is mortal is also a concern, though one that is dealt with in the Agape part of the mythos.
Unfortunatly, these selfsame interesting pieces of worldbuilding are hindered by Cates’ characterization. Almost all of the characters – with the occassional exception in Curry and Chansey – are cardboard cut-outs. It would be easy to swap many of the secondary characters around and, without their physical description, you’d have no idea who Cates is referring to. They are almost all of the same personality and speech patterns, which is a significant detraction. It takes away from the idea of a well-built society of hidden vampires and trivializes it.
Similarly, how the characters speak is a major detraction. I can count on my fingers how many times each character has used a contraciton when speaking to another character. This makes some sense for Curry – he’s been around for a long time and his speech pattern could have evolved back when he was a human and he has kept it all of this time. The rest of the cast, however, has no such excuse. They are supposed to be Floridian college-age folk (for the most part). I don’t know of a single college student that speaks without using contractions. It really takes away from the characters to have them feel so wooden and artificial. What are supposed to be intense moments between Curry and Chansey is ruined by the speech patterns feeling so forced.
The conflicts, as well, are resolved incredibly easily, furhter cheapening the relationship that is so central to the book. Every conflict/challenge Curry has to face in obtaining Chansey is resolved within a few pages (at least until the end). This cheapens the notion that Curry is going to extreme lengths for his Agape and, therefore, cheapens the relationship that the book is built around. If the conflicts are all that simple, then he really has nothing to spend a page worrying about it.
On the whole, the novel is a good first attempt. There is a lot of potential in the story, but it needs some work to really shine and seperate itself from other similar novels.