The Society of Blood (Obsidian Heart book 2) by Mark Morris
|The Society of Blood (Obsidian Heart book 2) by Mark Morris|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: Alex Locke is back in the 19th century still searching for the stone heart in order to save his daughter while trying to escape a death worse than fate. Oh yes, the bloody and oh so satisfying scary world of Mark Morris has returned and very welcome it is too!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: October 2015|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
In order to find his kidnapped daughter Alex Locke still needs to find the Obsidian Heart. The trail leads back from 21st century gangland London to the dark, dirty 19th century version of the capital. Here the streets that witnessed Jack the Ripper's murders only a couple of years before are just as lethal but the danger isn't totally human. Alex doesn't quite know how you'd classify it, but it stands between him and the person who means the most to him so walking away isn't an option.
Horror and TV writer extraordinaire Mark Morris has much for us between the pages of this, his second Obsidian Heart novel. After sending Alex from the 21st to the 19th century at the end of The Wolves of London, we catch up with him in a Victorian London. This is a streetscape of thick, mysterious fog, weird animal prints in the snow, reappearing apparitions and a high, highly bled-out body count. (That's a subtle way of saying perhaps this isn't one for the squeamish.)
Alex is now living the life of a comfy Victorian middle class thanks to future-him (more on that later) along with his 21st century friend and ally, Chloe. Making up his pseudo family is Hope, one of the two children he rescued from the evil doctor who takes bionic experimentation a little too far, allowing Mark to add steam punk to the SF, thriller and horror genres when it comes to book description.
Alex collects problems like soap powder commercials collect beetroot stains. We know he has to find the stone heart from whence all his trouble started and hope this will save his kidnapped daughter. Now he has the complication of trying to find the mysterious Society of Blood, remaining alive while others are being turned into bleached carcasses in moments and worry about Hope's deteriorating medical condition. (Mark's touching acknowledgements at the back hint at the reasons for his emotional investment in writing Hope's health problems.) That's not even counting his encounter on the Thames. Actually I'd be interested to see if anyone who sees the Thames regularly will look at it in the same way again after that scene.
In a couple of places we may feel as if we're circling, marking time before the crescendo of Book 3 hits but Mark hasn't just thrown gore and thrills at paper to see what sticks. Amongst the adventure he brings our attention to the interesting chicken-and-egg time paradoxes that Alex has to encounter while in the time zone that a future him has occupied before. I can imagine Mark going through a few what-ifs during some wakeful nights of plotting.
The Society of Blood is definitely a Book 2 rather than a stand-alone. It will make a lot more sense read in sequence including the 21st century back story that would be missing if the wonderful Book 1 was sidestepped. Meanwhile at the end of Volume 2 Mark leaves us with one heck of a cliff hanger. (Rotter!) We know that Alex will get out of it (or else it will be a very short book!) but we can't predict how. So, Book 3 as soon as you like please Mark?!
(Thank you to the folks at Titan Books for providing us with a copy for review.)
You can read more book reviews or buy The Society of Blood (Obsidian Heart book 2) by Mark Morris at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Society of Blood (Obsidian Heart book 2) by Mark Morris at Amazon.com.
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