by Daria Karpova, fantasy (2006)
Loose Id, $4.99, ISBN 1-59632-208-X
Flesh Will Tell has genuine horror overtones. This is a romantic horror story which revels in some of the blood-soaked antics a vampire can get into. If you want stories of whiny vampires nobly rejecting their vampire nature, this is not the story for you.
Floria Santini is well-known among the modern opera scene as a techno-opera soprano. However, she is dying and she appropriately behaves like a diva as she tries to reconcile herself with her failing health. When a handsome stranger walks into her life offering her a way to live not just a little longer but forever, she has to decide carefully whether she should take up the offer. There is more to this story as the stranger, Rhyst, has a secret or two that he keeps from Floria.
Flesh Will Tell may have a supposed grand love between Floria and Rhyst, but the love scenes take place among those two as well as with a third person as Floria continues her initiation into the ways of the vampire. This is an interesting story, I must say, but at the same time, it also comes off like an abbreviated version of a much longer story. The short length of the story leaves me unsatisfied because it causes some pacing issues, with revelations coming out shortly before the last page which leave me with more questions rather than providing the story with some closure. There are some choppy transitions from scene to scene as well, especially towards the last few chapters, which lead me to wonder whether some scenes have been cut hastily at the last minute from the final draft. The short length also prevents the characters from being developed adequately.
Flesh Will Tell could have been a really good sexy vampire story more in the old-school vampires-are-really-bad style rather than a typical emo vampires-are-romantic-and-misunderstood romance, but it unfortunately comes off like a half-baked story that should have been fleshed out and developed into something more substantial.
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