Review: Cat out of Hell, Vol. 1 by Candace Blevins
Ever wonder what happens when two sadist who are amoral get together? Wonder no more. In the latest from the Only Human Universe, a sadistic centuries old vampire takes on a a young twenty something cat shifter. This book is a three part series with a cliffhanger for this first book. This book can be read as a standalone in this universe. For readers who like antiheroes, this book is for you.
When it comes to character development, I am a huge Ms. Blevins fan. She takes time to consider her characters and she creates them to be unique and multilayered. These characters are not the status quo. What is interesting is that this universe incorporates historical figures who either gods or some kind of supernatural creature. Kendric maybe be new to some readers and at first I couldn't place him. The book quickly explains what his previous name was and how we knew him before his current identity. As a vampire, he needs to change his identity every couple of decades, especially with today's technology.
Kendric is an interesting character as we learn about his history and how the victors will record events in their bias manner. Kendric's upbringing is horrific and it helps explain his amoral stance. Amoral is not the same as unethical or evil. He basically doesn't see the world as in good or evil. For him, the ends justifies the means. He also enjoys torturing which is verboten in most of civilized society. Fortunately for Kendric, he's lived many centuries, allowing him to practice and learn how to pretend to be civilized. I love this about him. As I learn more and more about him, I like him even more. He's the kind of anti-hero I comprehend and admire.
This book does add an extra element that we don't usually see in Ms. Blevins' stories. The main female character, Becca is also an antihero. They say that most readers tend to find male antiheroes more readily liked and acceptable compared to a female one. That may be true for some readers, especially female readers, but for me, since I am attracted to both sexes, this is not the case. In fact, some of my favourite characters in TV and movies are female antiheroes. So why is it that Becca leaves me a little bit lukewarm? Because I do believe I will warm up to her. After days of consideration, I realize that I am attracted to a particular type of antihero. Specifically I have a soft spot for a high functioning sociopath. Becca is not high functioning. She is barely functioning due to demon meddling and her own upbringing. Granted, she is also only in her twenties. She is still a baby with every disadvantage thrown at her.
This urban fantasy is now classified as a character progression storyline. I absolutely love this kind of story telling. Because we take a flawed character who has a glimmer of redeeming qualities and watch as they grow into something possibly elegantly lethal. Now I'm super excited for the next two books in this trilogy. What challenges will Becca face to grow into what Kendric sees in her? Will Becca be part of an ancient prophecy? Inquiring minds want to know.
Whilst this book is laying a solid foundation of how and why Kendric and Becca are they way they are currently, it also includes some deliciously sadistic torture scenes. Let's be very clear. This isn't BDSM erotica. In my view, this is an urban fantasy with BDSM erotic elements as well as BDSM torture. Ms. Blevins is crystal clear which scenes are consensual and which scenes are pure punishment. What may cause some readers discomfort is that ... both Kendric and Becca derive pleasure through both. Honestly, I can't fault them. And after years of reading copious amounts of non-con and con kink, I completely understand and feel the same as Kendric.
This urban fantasy is recommended to readers who love antiheroes and stubborn felines.