Bloodshot (Cheshire Red #1) by Cherie Priest
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I wasn’t sure that I wanted to buy Bloodshot. I tried to read one of Cherie Priest‘s steampunk books — Boneshaker — a while back but only managed to get about halfway before losing interest. I’ll likely try it again at some point; it’s a well written story but it just couldn’t hold my attention at the time. In any case, though, it made me hesitant to invest in Bloodshot. In the end, though, I did order it and I’m very glad that I did since Bloodshot is a lot of fun, due in no small part to Raylene’s charm.
Raylene has all of the characteristics I love in an urban fantasy heroine: she’s spunky and funny, has a strong sense of who she is and what she does, is capable of taking care of herself and getting the job done, and has a lot of style. How can you not root for someone like that? Plus, a lot of the official folks who are looking for her think she’s a man, thanks to a slight build and a flapper-style haircut. I love that Raylene embraces that as yet another level of protection, rather than getting fussed about it.
Cherie Priest has also created some great supporting characters. Raylene’s got two teenagers living in her warehouse — two teens that she is reluctantly responsible for. Her relationship with them is sweet and unforgiving at the same time, which gives the reader a lot of insight into Raylene’s personality. There are also some other interesting folks, like Ian, her mysterious client, and Adrian, an AWOL soldier hiding out as a drag queen. Adrian, in particular, endeared himself to me since he was so tough but had no problems being Sister Rose (his drag identity). I thought it was cool of Cherie Priest to incorporate this type of character without making any bones about his/her sexuality or choices. It took me a little more time to warm up to Ian but I liked him by the end of it. As a blind vampire, he’s an anomaly in Raylene’s world and it was neat to see how he coped with such an obvious weakness.
The end of the novel makes it clear that there is still more work to be done if Raylene’s going to get to the true bottom of the government conspiracy she finds herself in in Bloodshot, and I look forward to reading her next adventure.