Welcome to the land of shadows, where evil is the greatest power, where nightfall marks the birth of terror, where your very soul is at risk. Join me as I investigate worlds filled with black magic and dark souls and encounter the monsters rule these wicked places.
This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.
That said, on to the review!
Paul Stoddard traveled to Europe to learn glassmaking from the Austra family, ignoring the threat of Nazism that was looming over the continent. However, no sooner does he begin studying under no less a personage than Stephen Austra himself than the Austras themselves become enmeshed in the spreading web of espionage and counter-espionage efforts. After Paul nearly dies attempting to thwart one assassination plot against Stephen Austra--needing instead to be rescued himself--he learns what it means to love--and to be loved by--an Austra. And because of that love he is willing to cross the continent to save one of the Family whose abduction by Nazi scientists risks the exposure of the Austra clan's most guarded secrets, and the rise of an even greater threat than that posed by Hitler and the Third Reich. Even if it means embracing a foe far older than Stephen and far more dangerous than Hitler himself, or dying at the hands of the very one he is trying to save, Paul's love and loyalty will accept no less. Will the Austras?
Blood Alone is neither sequel nor prequel to Shattered Glass. Rather, it could--and does so, very well--stand alone, with readers neither needing to read the first novel nor refer back to it. Careful readers may remember that Paul Stoddard did appear in Shattered Glass in a supporting role. This time he is one of the main characters, but don't think of this book as being designed to establish Paul's place in the Austra family; think of it rather as expanding on the history of the Austra clan.
One of the more interesting and captivating facets of this novel is the extent to which the Nazi scientists are willing to go to create the "perfect" race, and I'm not talking about Aryans here. It isn't a particularly new plot--attempting to attain immortality and perfection by experimenting with a "superior" being--but it doesn't need to be. It fits in quite cleanly with the commonly perceived goal of Nazi Germany that students learn in school. What is more frightening would be how close this plot actually comes to fruition.
As with Shattered Glass, don't read this novel if you're a timid or puritanical reader. Like its predecessor, Blood Alone contains scenes and descriptions that could become physically uncomfortable for an inexperienced reader. However, if you're able to control your body's responses to textual stimuli, then this is a book you won't want to miss!
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