I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
Oh, I loved this book.
Jordan Castillo Price is one of those authors that makes me glad I bought an e-reader, because otherwise I doubt I would ever have read Hemovore or Among the Living, which I also enjoyed. At the same time, however, I found myself wishing that I had been reading Hemovore in paperback form rather than e-book form. There were several times I would have liked to have been able to flip back and forth between parts of the book in order to confirm certain world rules, and that would have been easier to do with a paperback.
I had a hard time figuring out, at first, whether Mark was just a paranoid germophobe, or whether all his precautions were justified. Even after it became clear that, yes, his precautions were justified, I still had trouble wrapping my brain around the way Hemovore's world worked. As contagious as the hemovore virus was (much more contagious than HIV), I wouldn't have been surprised at all if Mark managed to catch it from Jonathan while they were on the run. In fact, I couldn't really understand why the hemovore virus hadn't taken over the whole world already, since stage one was easy to mistake for normal illness and V-positives were already contagious at that point. In the U.S. at least, V-positives seemed to inspire both fear and fascination, and I couldn't quite get a picture in my head of how that would work.
None of my questions about the world were enough to get in the way of my enjoyment of this book, however. Mark's “voice” was appealing: snarky, quirky, and a little neurotic. If I hadn't long since abandoned marking favorite lines in my e-books (the controls on my e-reader are annoyingly clunky), I'd probably have marked up a good chunk of this book. An example of one of the lines I enjoyed so much: “Dear Lord. I'd become a celebrity in the goth-vampire freedom-fighter circuit.” (p. 98 on my Nook). I also loved the part where Jonathan forced himself to try one of the flavored oil shakes, for lack of any other food.
The only time I found myself wishing parts of the story had been told from Jonathan's perspective was after Jonathan finally revealed how he felt about Mark. It was such a bittersweet, heartbreaking moment, but I was still left feeling a little unsatisfied, wondering what it was about Mark that attracted Jonathan to him in the first place. Jonathan, as far as I can remember, never said. Still, I enjoyed how the setup, with Jonathan and Mark unable to touch each other with their bare skin, kept the sexual tension high and prevented sex scenes from taking over the book.
Although Jonathan and Mark spent a good chunk of the book running and hiding, it never felt monotonous. Things kept progressively getting worse for them. They had no blood and Jonathan was resistant to taking Mark's – in fact, he wasn't even sure he could keep Mark's blood down if he did drink it. They had cash, but not much. They needed antimicrobial gloves and gels in order to keep Mark from catching the virus from Jonathan, but all those things cost money. They needed to stay out of the sunlight, which limited their hiding and traveling options. The list of obstacles in their way went on and on, and I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how they would survive.
I'm still not sure whether I like the ending. I don't mind that it's happy, but I found it a little surreal that Mark went from being Jonathan's cat blood-procuring, painting-selling assistant to genius art critic. Even so, I loved the book as a whole, so much so that I'm considering getting a print copy in the event that my e-book file becomes unusable in the next few years. I tend to worry more about the longevity of my e-book collection than I do about my print collection, and this is one I don't think I'd want to lose.
(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)