Vein of Love by R. Scarlett

Themes

  • Demonology, Hell/Underworld, supernatural, demonic contracts
  • mistrust/deception, seduction/manipulation, arranged marriage, classism

“You’re going to destroy me, sweetheart…unless I destroy you first.”

Hear me out, this purchase was one hundred percent accidental. Truly. I have a first edition Kindle, probably ancient by today’s standards, but it serves my purposes well. I can purchase books I am not completely sure I want to buy outright at a cheaper price. It allows me to burn through them much faster too, since it still holds a beautifully long charge and its design fits well in the hand. There are always drawbacks too though. Digital books don’t have the feel of paper, the rustle of pages as they turn faster and faster, or the intoxicating smell of ink, pulp, and memories infused into them. For the books I know I will love, I spare no expense in order to indulge.

Vein of Love was no such book. I actually meant to read the summary for an adjacent book, but my Kindle sometimes has a bit of a lag time. I impatiently clicked once (read here as a few times) and when the page caught up I had purchased for myself a completely different book. Luckily it was only $0.99, and I accepted the purchase since it was so little. I support small business and independent authors trying to put themselves out there. Even though the title was cringey, I read over the summary and found that while it was clearly meant to be smut, it might be entertaining.

A few centuries ago a human family craved power and protection, enough to promise one of their own to the demon family that would grant them such luxuries. Unbeknownst to them that their lineage had mixed with the blood of demigods that were used as guardians against demons entering the world.

In present day New York, a family is horrified when they are approached by the same demonic family laying claim to their child as she is the fulfillment of their contract. Understandably they panic, spend her childhood attempting to outrun the devil, and never attempt to fully explain to their daughter what she is or the reason for their actions. Almost two decades pass and naturally there is chaos as the man that will “inherit” introduces himself and takes over her life.

The premise isn’t unique but done correctly this could be informative and interesting. But let’s start with the basics. The characters are lazy archetypes: the girl in question “Molly” is a NY heiress socialite type that is equal parts naïve and stubborn. She is prone to rash behavior and outbursts in bad situations because of her status and her ignorance. I had hoped this would slowly resolve as she advances through the plot and draws new conclusions about the world around her. She doesn’t, at least not in this installment. The series has a total of four books.

Tensley is her keeper more than her companion throughout the book. As neither is fond of their situation, I had hoped there would be a common ground between them as they figured out how to extricate themselves from the scheming of others. He is an incubus, (if you don’t know, look it up but it promised some things that the content of this book never delivered), and extremely reserved toward everyone. The archetype is cold, dark, and self-serving. At first he is meant to seem like a villain, but the ploy is obviously a bait and switch.

This “couple” plays it hot and cold/hit and miss, be prepared for frustration as it is Always a miss with them. This drags out the book, making it hard to read because you hope that just once they will give each other the benefit of the doubt and advance the plot. As other demons including “the Fallen One” become aware of who and what Molly is, Tensley works behind the scenes to try to keep her hidden for her own good all the while refusing to “claim her” and solidify her status and protection.

I am glad to have supported an independent author, but I have to admit this book would have benefitted from a better proof editor. There are some grammatical errors, but the most scathing of the errors comes in the form of dialogue alluding to scenes that must have been removed or rewritten prior to publishing. The side characters are decently their own, but the peanut gallery does little more than offer additional dialogue and tidbits. The antagonists were better fleshed out and the overall plot was salvageable if the characters could only be on the same page figurately of course.

I refuse to give spoilers, but the last fraction of the book gives us a glimpse of what Molly and Tensley’s dynamic could have been. The final scene was sets up the next installment and it was rage inducing for me. I literally rage quit on the final page of the book. Reading over some reviews of the following book “Body of the Crime” led me to feel I made the right choice in not reading it.

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