Bloodstained Ivy Halls
by Philippa Grey-Gerou and Emery Sanborne, fantasy (2011)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-831-3


Bloodstained Ivy Halls is the fourth book in an ongoing series called Rule Of Three, and we are talking about the same recurring main characters in all these books, so I strongly suggest that you read the books in order. In fact, I'd direct you to the review of the first book, Echo Of Distant Thunder, to get the low down on the main characters if you are new to the series.

Yes, this is a ménage à trois, but it's an interesting ride so far because the authors take the trouble to depict the ups and downs of this relationship. Diana Glandower and Graeme Shepherd obviously have a more stable relationship with each other, while Peter Oberon is the more... tempestuous fellow. There are ups and downs, and when this story opens, things are a bit on the down side as Peter and Graeme got on each other's nerves so much that Peter happily fled for a new position at Copenhagen. Peter soon reappears, however, and it isn't long before our threesome find themselves in an obligatory plot to excuse the existence of this story.

Despite the presence of a murder mystery, this story focuses so much on the soap opera of the three characters. And this is where I have to wonder whether the authors are trying to kill all my interest in another installment of this series. So much of the story is about the immature Peter stirring up nonsense between Graeme and Diana, that it isn't long before I am fatigued by his presence. Peter is immature, annoying, childish, and he has a tendency to play games and keep secrets just because he can. In other words, he is a character that is best taken in small doses. Here, however, he has free rein to run wild. The relationship of these three is pretty joyless to read as they seem to have become so tired of each other that they are better off going separate ways. There are sex scenes here, but they seem to exist because we all know that every romance story needs a sex scene.

The tired and joyless relationship seems to parallel the relationship between me and these books. Maybe it's time for a break, as long as Peter remains a spoiled child who never has to grow up or genuinely become accountable for the pain he carelessly inflicts on other people.

Rating: 51


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