Fantasy Review: ‘Blood Oranges’ by Kathleen Tierney

Blood Oranges (Siobhan Quinn, #1)Well it is no wonder I keep getting this series recommended to me.  The first person narration is as haphazard, unreliable, and just plain crazy as one of my reviews.  Did I in fact write Blood Oranges?  I don’t remember doing so, and if so my writing quality has gone up by quite a bit, but damn that is a familiar writing style.

Siobhan Quinn is a hunter of the supernatural and a damn good one.  But when a nasty werewolf leaves her infected and almost dead she is saved from the most unlikely of sources, an ancient vampire stuck in a child’s body, who decides to pass her own little gift on to Quinn as well.  Now Quinn is twice cursed, and by the way, all of her exploits are possible a bit of an untruth as well.  That line about being a damn good hunter?  Perhaps a bit of a stretch.  In fact she is a junkie that hasn’t died yet due to pure luck and by being a bit useful to the right people. 

At first glance I took this to be a parody of the urban fantasy genre but I don’t think that was the point.  If anything it felt more like a parody of other parodies that don’t realize how transperent they are. Quinn is all too aware of the UF tropes and laughingly points them out throughout.  Sparkly vampires (honestly someday I am reading Twilight just to understand this reference) is just one fallacy about the supernatural she points out.  Want a quick history of vampire mythos?  She has it on hand and can set you strait on which are real and which may be a stretch.  But don’t take her word for it.  Seriously, have I mentioned she is a bit untrustworthy?

The real story here is whatever Quinn wishes it to be at the moment.  She admits almost immediately that she has already lied to the reader and warns that she will most likely do it again in the future.  She goes off on tangents at a whim, sometimes a few lines and other times it can overtake the entire chapter.  She forgets where she is, backtracks, and then hopes like hell the reader is still following. Throughout though she is dark yet funny and a complete blast to read; if I didn’t always believe a street junkie runaway could be so well read, no matter how much time she spent hanging out in a library, her quick and dirty history lessons were always a highlight.

Her story itself, or at least what can be believed, is enjoyable and tightly written.  A classic survive the set up and track down those responsible type thing.  She runs into other vamps and wolfs, gets riddles from trolls, gets pranked by dirty seagull (my favorite scene in the whole book, damn did I laugh), and puts all the pieces together the wrong way.  The ending is either completely genius or a huge cop out; I am still trying to decide.  Needless to say it fits both the character and goes against the grain of urban fantasy, so I am leaning on pretty damn smart.

Another book in which your mileage may vary.  No doubt its entertaining anti-hero, dark storyline, and consistent humor should appeal to many.  But I have seen unconventional writing styles turn people off before, and this one is completely unique.  Quinn was at times a little too aware she was living in a fantasy book, but for the most part it worked.  A junkie with a new habit, a bone to pick, and an unknown amount of luck left.  What’s not to like?

4 Stars