I’ve been a fan of vampires since I first saw the old Hammer Horror, ‘The Prince of Darkness’, as a young child. ‘Dracula’ is one of my favourite novels. The TV series ‘Angel’ is on my biyearly watch list. The problem with vampires being so popular is that it can be difficult to keep making them interesting and new. Thankfully, Tracie Provost’s ‘Under the Blood Moon’ manages to do just that.

Juliette de Grammont, vampire, wakes from 200 years in torpor to modern day New Orleans. Not only is she a feisty, former plantation manager, she is also magic. Not just a magic user, but a rare thaumaturge, which means she can produce magical power from inside herself rather than gathering it from the world around her. It’s a truth she likes to keep secret, because thaumaturges are rare, and sought after. Much has changed in New Orleans in the two centuries Juliette has been asleep, including an increase in the vampire presence, and as if adjusting to the 21st century wasn’t hard enough on its own, werewolf strays are causing havoc, demons are being summoned and someone has it in for the vampire elite. It’s a steep learning curve for Juliette.

Tracie Provost makes her vampires, and the version of New Orleans they live in, her own. Juliette is a vampire, but she is also a highly skilled healer, voodoo practitioner and an elemental source of magic. The magic system in ‘Under the Blood Moon’ is what really lifts it up and makes it fresh. Every time the plot comes in danger of being predictable, a magic rule sends it in a new interesting direction. The magic system in this world makes sense. It has rules, boundaries, and is believable within the confines of the world that is presented.

The characters are also great. Juliette is strong, prickly, snobbish and yet she is likable. Marc, the vampire Grandmaster, is imposing but fair. Josh Bouchard, another vampire and former Texas ranger, is laid back, but don’t mistake his slow pace for ignorance.

Likewise the descriptions ae beautiful and paint the scenes and characters vividly, but without detracting from the plot or slowing the pace.

I enjoyed ‘Under the Blood Moon’. I liked Juliette, I enjoyed spending time with her and I wanted to find out what happened next. The descriptions made the story immersive, I liked the cast of characters and did I mention the magic system? Yeah, I loved that. There is also some nice humour in the book, which made me chuckle.

‘Under the Blood Moon’ loses one star for being a little too safe. Lots of exciting things happen, but I would like the stakes to have been a bit higher, the gore a little more visceral. Don’t get me wrong, this book is exciting and a lot happens, but I had expectations set up for a blue moon and those expectations weren’t fulfilled.

There is also a sex scene. Okay, it’s tasteful, but I thought it was unnecessary. Your mileage may vary.

Therefore, I award ‘Under the Blood Moon’ by Tracie Provost…

‘Under the Blood Moon’ by Tracie Provost is available on Amazon for in both eBook and paperback, and from other good retailers. Check out Tracie Provost’s website to find out more.

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