Review: A Dance in Blood Velvet / Author: Freda Warrington / Publisher: Titan / Release Date: Out Now
Originally published in 1994 and having been out of print for more than a decade, A Dance in Blood Velvet is the second book in Freda Warrington’s Blood Wine sequence, which is being reissued by Titan Books.
Following on from A Taste of Blood Wine, Charlotte forsakes her human life so that she can be with her vampire lover Karl. However, a vampiric existence is not without its problems, as whilst Charlotte’s thirst for blood repulses her, feeding brings exquisite ecstasy. Further problems arise when Karl’s former lover, the seductively beautiful Katerina, is rescued from the Crystal Ring (a sort of vampire trans-dimensional rapid transit system) and now she wants to reclaim her life... and Karl.
Charlotte is, naturally, none too happy about her suitor’s ex muscling in on the scene and so, in her despair, becomes fascinated by the prima ballerina Violette Lenoir. But Violette isn’t as human as she appears to be, being a descendant of the goddess Lilith, and if she should be turned… Well it wouldn’t end well for anybody or anything.
It would be easy to dismiss this sequence as yet more teenage, Gothic, horror-lite romance, but then you’d be doing the books a disservice. This is an extremely well plotted tale of complex, believable characters. Yes, they are vampires and they are often vicious and terrifyingly deadly. But rather than being portrayed as cruel, motiveless monsters, or moping, emo sops, they are essentially human, albeit with pointy teeth and an appetite for haemoglobin. They fight, they love, they are adults and all that that implies.
Freda Warrington's prose is simply stunning, sumptuous and graceful and as seductive as the vampires she portrays. She also has an imaginatively nifty creation theory on how vampires came into existence.
Charlotte, especially, will strike a chord with many readers. Here is a real woman dealing with a myriad of dangers and extraordinary events all for love. She is both feminine and tough, a proto Buffy if you will. So if you like the densely plotted, character-driven works of Anne Rice, minus her often irritating purple prose, and you want something very definitely adult (and we don’t mean that in the top shelf of a newsagents way), then this could just be what you’ve been looking for.