This is the first book in the ‘Almost Human’ series by C.L, Mannarino. It is pitched as a Young Adult Paranormal novel and follows a familiar theme of vampires living among us.
There are some issues which definitely need addressing. There is considerable swearing – the ‘F’ word in particular – and this is not going to be to everyone’s taste. At the same time there’s an almost complete absence of sex bar literally a couple of seemingly incongruent moments. The two you would expect together (for older readers) or not at all (for younger).
More irritating is the number of typographical, grammar or spelling errors which litter the book (I marked up at least 20 as I went along) which means Mannarino’s proofreader(s) didn’t do a good job. While even the best writer/editor teams miss some slips, there shouldn’t be many or it distracts the reader from engaging in the story.
Then there’s the story itself. Scott Whitney is the downtrodden hapless youth who realises a vampire is stalking his family. He sets out to free them from the danger and persuade someone to believe him that a monster prowls. A standard plotline with plenty of room for twists and turns but, if I’m honest, nothing much happens. In writing a series of books, the author must of course think both of the overall story arc which will run the course of the novels but ALSO of the need to make a satisfying story for each individual book.
I didn’t feel Mannarino managed to do this with ‘What We’ll Do For Blood’. There are times when the pace seems to flop along rather than makes us breathless and chapter endings rarely leave you on a ‘page turner’. After the penultimate climax in the last few chapters we have the traditional ‘calm before the storm’ but in this case it’s two chapters that read like a personal travel diary; there’s no hint of danger or false plot leads to tantalize us. Until the climax occurs it goes nowhere at all.
In short, there are issues which Mannarino will need to sort out for the next book in the series or risk losing the audience. There IS potential for the storyline and it’s not a bad novel as such – I did find one or two characters intriguing for instance. As long as swearing isn’t an issue for you then this is something a young teenager trying out their first ‘vampire’ series could enjoy. Yes, the plot is predictable right up to the end but then that could be said of all but a small handful of YA paranormal novels and fans will not mind this I’m sure.