I’m always glad to see a vampire novel that moves away from stereotypical plots and settings. So, when I learned that Georgia Evans’s Bloody Good was set in England during World War II and that its vampires were Nazi secret agents, I was immediately intrigued.
Bloody Good is at its best when depicting the struggles of ordinary country folk during the war. Through the many neighborly chats that fill these pages, the reader gets an idea of what it might have been like to deal with air raids, rationing, and the experience of either being an evacuee or having an evacuee billeted in one’s home. For several of Brytewood’s residents, who are secretly supernatural beings, hiding their true nature is a further challenge. Evans does a great job of showing a cozy setting in ominous times.
I also loved the scenes with Bela, a fairy who has been taken captive by Nazis and forced to use her powers to serve the Third Reich. Her struggle to reestablish communication with her family, and her clever ways of deceiving the Nazis without technically lying, are captivating. I can’t wait to see more of her.
Where Bloody Good stumbles is in the pacing of two of the plot threads: the vampire-saboteur plot and the romance plot. The vampires don’t really do much, and the resolution of this plotline is anticlimactic. Meanwhile, heroine Alice Doyle and hero Peter Watson fall in love at lightning speed. I didn’t find it as believable as I’d have liked, especially since in the early chapters their attraction is more “told” than “shown.” Then, suddenly, they’re having wild sex and talking marriage. (I believe they’ve known each other for a few weeks at this point.) The romance plot is prominent enough that it feels like the main plot, making the vampire stuff more of a subplot, and so it was disappointing that it developed in a way that I found unrealistic.
In addition, Bloody Good needed more copyediting. There are numerous typos, and a distracting frequency of sentences beginning with “Seemed,” which more stringent copyediting might have been able to tame.
I am, however, looking forward to Bloody Awful, which features a character who was “onscreen” just enough in Bloody Good to pique my interest. I think the Brytewood setting offers a lot of room for storytelling, and hopefully the later books will be more “plotty” now that the world-building is out of the way.
Brytewood — (2009) Publisher: While the sounds of battle echo through the sky, a lady doctor has more than enough trouble to keep her busy even in a sleepy hamlet outside London. But the threat is nearer home than Alice knows. German agents have infiltrated her beloved countryside — Nazis who can fly, read minds, and live forever. They’re not just fascists. They’re vampires. Alice has no time for fantasy, but when the corpses start appearing sucked dry, she’ll have to accept help where she can get it. If that includes a lowly Conscientious Objector who says he’s no coward though he refuses to fight, and her very own grandmother, a sane, sensible woman who insists that she’s a Devonshire Pixie, so be it. Indeed, whatever it takes to defend home and country from an evil both ancient and terrifyingly modern…