|Lately it seems that all paranormal romances are so bogged down with excessive characters, plotlines, new species and weird terms pertaining to these species that I can’t bring myself to want to finish the books. In Maggie Shayne’s book Bloodline this is not a problem; she keeps her characters to a minimum and doesn’t force the reader to learn many new made-up terms and weird new species. The one thing this book suffers from is a formulaic plot that has been done way too many times before.
The Division of Paranormal Investigations (DPI) is a government organization made of humans. They have been kidnapping newborns that carry a special type of blood antigen that makes them able to be turned into vampires. The DPI then place the newborns into an isolated former military base known as “The Farm,” where they are brainwashed from birth until they are old enough to be turned into vampires. As vampires they are able to run faster, jump higher, and are much stronger than humans. The DPI hopes to create their own vampire army that will destroy all non-DPI controlled vampires, also called “wildborns."
Lilith wakes up naked under a bridge with no knowledge of her past. She is being chased by an unknown black Cadillac Escalade that is armed with weapons. Lilith realizes that she can run faster than a moving vehicle and jump higher than she thinks a normal human is capable of. Lilith senses something familiar in the distance and runs towards an isolated farmhouse, passing out in the barn from exhaustion. There she meets Ethan, a vampire and the owner of the farm; she senses a familiarity with him that makes her think she is safe from those hunting her.
What Lilith doesn’t know about him is that he is also a former inmate of “The Farm” and is one of three people to have ever escaped. Thinking that Lilith has been programmed by the DPI to kill him, Ethan is reluctant to help her at first. Eventually he realizes that Lilith has turned into a vampire and has somehow escaped the DPI’s clutches. Slowly, with help from Ethan, Lilith regains her memories and decides that she is going to rescue the rest of the captives at “The Farm.”
Meanwhile Ethan’s brother James (whom Ethan has been searching for since he escaped two years prior) has appeared out of nowhere to seemingly assist Ethan and Lilith. Mistrusting James from the start, Lilith is wary of plans that James suggests. Ethan and Lilith are now in hiding from the DPI, and once the DPI starts showing up in all of the places James suggests they hide, Ethan begins to doubt his brother as well.
Serena, Lilith’s mother, is also searching for her and has been since she was stolen at birth 22 years ago and taken to “The Farm.” Serena belongs to an order that is sworn to protect the vampires living in the human world but not to interfere in their lives overly much. Eventually Serena’s help is integral in Lilith’s plans to save all of the children still trapped in the DPI’s evil clutches.
Bloodline's plot isn’t new to the genre; girl meets boy, girl regains memories of boy, boy and girl try to overthrow the ones hunting the vampires. I didn’t feel like I was reading anything that I hadn’t read before, and I had a hard time getting to the point where I really cared for the characters. The nice thing about Bloodline is that there weren’t all sorts of crazy new otherworldly species to learn about. Oftentimes an author trying to create a paranormal world will create too many new types of species and a reader is forced to look up terms in the book’s glossary, but with Bloodline this isn't necessary. It is a simple straight-forward vampire book.
Lilith is a strong female lead but at times she is stupidly reckless and too headstrong to cheer her on. Ethan is a little weak-willed and isn’t able to stand up to either Lilith or his brother James until the very end of the book.
Bloodline contains a few characters from prior books at the end of this one, but they play so small a part in the plot that you shouldn’t look to resurrect some of your favorite characters from her previous novels. While Bloodline is not a book I’m going to read again and again, it was a pleasant diversion on a rainy day.