Review: Of Blood and Bone (Minaldi Legacy #1) by Courtney Cole
On a research trip to finalize her doctoral thesis in psychology, Dr. Eva Talbot meets a man she can’t take her eyes and mind off of. Emanating an air of danger and vulnerability under his rich, beautiful, confident facade, Luca Minaldi is a man cursed; is he responsible for the brutally violent deaths of the young women around Malta or is it really a pack of wolves as suspected? Can Eva cure him before its too late? Of Blood and Bone is not a paranormal but is worth a look.
- Title: Of Blood and Bone
- Series: The Minaldi Legacy, book #1
- Author: Courtney Cole
- Prominent Characters: Eva, Luca
- Recommended Reader Age: 16+
- Genre(s): contemporary romantic thriller
- Sexual Content Level: moderate with some sexual violence
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Right from the start, this story put me in a Fifty Shades frame of mind. Not for any BDSM (Of Blood and Bone doesn’t have any), which is what a lot of people associate that book with, but the combination of first person present tense, strong crisp emotional expression in the writing and between the characters, and the darkness buried within the male protagonist that’s just waiting to lash out. The heroine is also a little bit of a clutz and likes to give humorous mental nicknames, such as Handsome Running Guy, to people she doesn’t know. The hero is rich, beautiful, and mercurial with a very dark side, and plays haunting melodies on the piano. Elements of this story remind me of the Twilight Saga books, which Fifty Shades of Grey was originally based on.
If you follow my reviews, you might remember that I’m not a fan of this style, the present tense first person narrative, but when it’s done right, it is powerful and memorable. I could tell from the first elegant chapter that this book had the potential to be something special. However, as I progressed through the book and there was still no paranormal element, I realized I might have initially misjudged its genre. It’s sort of a slow-paced contemporary romantic suspense with an unexpected (by me anyway) twist at the end. The writing is solid and sophisticated, but the plot held notes of similarity to other (hugely best-selling) stories and it became difficult for me to read Of Blood and Bone as an independent work. I think what trips up the story most is pacing; Ms. Cole shows flashes of brilliance in a few incredibly touching and emotional scenes, but the overall plot just starts to drag after a while. The ending, however, definitely sets it apart and promises an exciting continuation for the series.
If you liked Of Blood and Bone…
If you read the Thoughts section, these recommendations are going to come as no surprise, and I normally don’t recommend such block-buster books without mentioning a lesser known story that is similar and just as good. That’s the whole point of this section, afterall! However, with this one, I found that a) I don’t generally prefer this style of writing so I have very little to compare it to, and b) these two books just really stood out as I read it. So with that in mind…
If you enjoyed Of Blood and Bone, you might also like the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy and the Twilight Saga books. I know, I know, they’re both everywhere and you’ve either already read them or made up your mind based on their overwhelming amount of media coverage and social exposure. Objectively speaking, the male protagonists in all three books are very similar. They’re all filthy rich, brooding, have heavy-handed tendencies toward their female counterparts, and their moods change faster than Texas weather. Their ladies are the narrators of the stories and are all gentle, naive, somewhat submissive, and at least a little clumsy. The emotional factor is high, meaning you find yourself becoming more and more immersed in the story (even if you don’t want to), and the first-person vantage brings a personal vulnerability to the stories that gives them that extra draw.
If you haven’t had a chance to pick up the first book in the Twilight saga and the first Fifty Shades book, and you liked Of Blood and Bone, definitely give those two a go, regardless of what you might have heard about them. Don’t prejudge – you never know when you’re going to fall in love with a story someone else hated! I do feel like I should give a quick warning for those of you considering embarking on your first journey with Fifty… be prepared to read through the second book at least, and accept that you might be emotionally impaired for a while after reading it. Scared yet? *grin*
I’ve done a fair amount of comparing this story to other iconic books, but it really does stand on its own. Ms. Cole’s style is flowing and elegant and brings a sophistication to the characters that I don’t often see in paranormal romance. While this book technically doesn’t fit within our niche, the connection between the characters is strong and the story memorable. If you’re looking for something a little different and are in the mood for a contemporary romantic suspense, Of Blood and Bone is worth a look.
Rating: Of Blood and Bone