Title: Blood Debt (Touched #1)
Author: Nancy Straight
Released: 15th July 2012
Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5 stars
I was a bit hesitant the first time I saw this but eventually I decided to give it a shot – and I’m so glad I did. Nancy Straight has brought something wonderfully refreshing to the YA market. Angels, demons, vampires, werewolves? Faeries or mermaids? You can temporarily put them to the back of your mind while you read about centaurs instead.
Camille has never known her father, though not for lack of trying. Her entire life her mother refused to say much about him but on her deathbed, she finally gives Camille some information – a way to contact him. It’s not long before she finds herself at her father’s house, meeting an entire family she never knew existed, but being welcomed with open arms. But despite the seemingly pleasant, ordinary surface, Camille learns that not only is she a centaur with magic in her blood, she is expected to pay a blood debt for her mother’s mistakes. And that’s only the start of her problems.
I have to say, I haven’t read much of centaurs. I think the only time I’ve come across them is in the Partholon series by P.C. Cast (I miss you, ClanFintan! *sighs dreamily*). I was a little bit worried that the book wouldn’t manage to live up to the novelty of a different genre, but that concern did disappear after a while. I enjoyed learning about some of the customs the centaurs had and how they came to be. The author also included a couple of twists, taking a basic preconception of what a centaur is, claiming that it’s wrong and then twisting it again. Something I would have liked to see is more about centaurs generally – the book focuses primarily on their ideas regarding marriage and relationships, and I think it would have been really interesting to learn about other aspects of their lives.
Cami was a strong character, which really appealed to me. Let me tell you, if this girl thinks something is wrong, she absolutely refuses to go through with it. It takes a lot to break her. She knows how to stand up for herself, something I seriously appreciate in people and characters. She was also a little cautious when it came to her new family’s reception of her, although I think she was quite quick to shake off that caution. That reception, too, was something I found quite unbelievable. Secrets or not, I find it very hard to accept that an entire family could be that happy with finding out there’s another of them. A question was raised as to Cami’s father’s wife, and it was never really answered, so I hope to see that answer in the sequel.
I really liked Bianca and Drake; they were both full of integrity and Bianca especially surprised me in her total lack of ill-feeling towards Cami. When I first met her I was a little suspicious, but then they became best friends and reading from her perspective showed her to be a truly sweet character. The guy she was in love with also surprised me, although I think the delivery of that knowledge in the writing could have been much more effective. Drake was really sweet too. In fact, most of these characters – Biance, Drake, Gage, Cami’s new brothers – really had me warming to them.
Zandra, however. Zandra is another story. I won’t say exactly who she is, in case it’s a spoiler, but what I will say is that she. Was. Evil. I absolutely could not believe what. On earth. She was doing. She made me angry, she had me gasping in horror, she just...ugh. I just...I can’t. And then after all that, when Cami made a dismissive remark about her, all I could think was, ‘Are you crazy? Where have you just been?’ She was a little stupid there.
Overall, this was a really enjoyable book. I had some issues with the writing itself, there were a few grammatical errors and the POVs sounded quite similar, but in terms of the ideas and characterisation this was a pleasure to read. The ending is perfectly ended for a sequel, and I can’t wait to see where the author takes this further.
A big thank you to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.