2.5 stars - My review cross-posted here courtesy of Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/new-reviews/vengeance-paid-with-blood-by-stephani-hecht
Toby’s Drone clan may have won the last battle against the Pure Born Vampire Regulation Force, but the Drones’ victory has just upped the stakes in their ongoing war against the VRF. With Drone clans being attacked by the VRF, it’s no time to leave home. But that’s exactly what Toby and his warlock mate Blaine have to do. There’s a dark warlock named Tarick who wants Blaine and he won’t rest until Toby’s dead and Blaine is in his clutches. Blaine and Toby won’t go down without a fight, but with only two other warlocks to aid them, can they really defeat Tarick?
A powerful warlock makes one hell of an ex…particularly when they’re evil and “owned” you. The overarching plot of the Drone Vampire Chronicles takes a back seat to freeing Blaine from the threat of the dark warlock Tarick in Vengeance Paid with Blood. I admit, it’d been a while since I’d read the last Drone Vampire Chronicles tale so it took me a few minutes to remember who Toby and Blaine were. I normally have no problem remembering characters, but the big downside of this series is that – with rare exceptions – the characters all sound like they fell out of one of two molds. That being said, once we got into the actual road trip with Toby, Blaine, Kale, and Ian, Vengeance Paid with Blood was entertaining. Stephani Hecht seemed to be building up Ian more in this book than focusing on Toby and Blaine, who are already settled into a relationship.
In Vengeance Paid with Blood, Ms. Hecht explains away the anticlimactic death of a series “big bad” that happened in the previous book, Tears of Blood, but this was actually a drawback for me. When combined with yet another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it killing of a “terrifying evil” in Vengeance Paid with Blood, I’ve lost faith in Ms. Hecht’s villains. It’s hard to be invested in the Drones’ war against the VRF when each powerful villain is seemingly dispatched with few problems. Why should I worry about the Drones when there’s always a vampire or warlock with some heretofore unknown superpower waiting in the wings to defeat whatever evil comes their way? This has me concerned for the series as a whole.
Vengeance Paid with Blood is the thirteenth installment in the Drone Vampire Chronicles and Ms. Hecht provides enough information for new readers to follow along (it actually might be less confusing if you haven’t read the previous books). There’s some crossover with Ms. Hecht’s Archangel series, as Ms. Hecht brings the succubus Lilith into the Drones’ fold. I didn’t exactly buy the way Ms. Hecht brought Lilith into Vengeance Paid with Blood, but the show-stealing succubus continues to charm the hell out of me so I didn’t actually care why she was there; her presence alone could have made Vengeance Paid with Blood entertaining.
The Drone Vampire Chronicles tends to be a bit of an uneven series for me, but it’s saying something that I’m still reading the books. Vengeance Paid with Blood didn’t really add anything to the series, but taken on its own it’s a fun paranormal tale.