Bad Girls Drink Blood (S.L.Choi) has some fun ideas and might be worth reading, but I’m not excited for book two. A big reason for that is the super icky love interest. It’s yet another noble Prince-in-Exile, who’s also vastly older than her. And he’s been grooming her since she was 15, deciding she was “a female worthy of him”. At first she’s shocked to hear this, and a chapter later … decides that it’s normal and actually very romantic.
If you can stand to read more, on to the secret world. It’s fine. In this universe the supernatural stuff is public knowledge, but doesn’t mix much. Most magic critters live in fairyland, anyway. Mainly, humans get a thrill out of visiting non-human establishments. It’s not the usual dark demons and vampires and weres. What we get are Sun fairies and Moon fairies (which are more like elves). Awww. Sure, there are a few big scaries, but we also get furballs who can sprout fangs and teeth but even then are more cute than deadly. And there isn’t a Master Vampire in sight.
Powers-wise, she’s super strong, heals by drinking blood, and is weak in sunlight. So she’s a 1/2-vampire, right? Well, no — she’s a defective artificial creation for The War called a Blood Elf. That’s neat, right? Of course we later meet some normal full Blood Elves and learn a little about why she’s defective.
Her personality does a great job of pushing what the genre wants. She’s the muscle in the family detective agency, so thinks of herself as stupid, especially compared to her sisters. Back in fairyland she was put down by Sun Fairies and has clearly internalized it. She wants to hate them for being all stuck-up and elfy, except her adopted sister is a Sun Elf. She can’t use magic and dislikes fairies who can, but her other ice-fairy adopted sister is super-magical. Basically, she’s a mess of insecurities and constantly second-guesses herself.
Back to the secret world and plot, we find out the war was Sun vs. Moon elves. But later that it was just one Moon elf faction. We learn that the art of portal-creation was part of the war, possibly involving long-lost druids. We learn that fairy magic is channelled through foci, which all come from living crystals. We get some Moon Elf politics. It’s fine.
But then come the story problems. Having met her True Prince so early, flirting and new guys out of the equation. The main bad guy is cartoonish — pure evil, even using evil spells, with a needless personal hatred towards our girl, sexist insults included. Then the last half turns into pure action. As the danger escalates, the answer is turning our heroine into a killing machine. She just punches and smashes and slays her way to the ending.
And that’s the rest of why I have low hopes for book two (and there will be one — this book is AKA “Bad Fae Druid Book 1”). As part of the turn to action, she just wins. We started with her and her two adopted sisters trying to keep the detective agency afloat, living in a makeshift house hidden by the human/fairy border, questioning whether she’s good enough. By the end she’s saved the world, is besties with the queen, has cathartically overcome the effects of childhood bullying, has found her soulmate, and has gained an epic new power.
Sure, we still have her sister with a crush on that insufferable Sun Fairy royal guard. And she just met her mysterious grandfather. And I guess we could watch her prince boyfriend put his kingdom back in order? But her conflicts are done. Book 2 will probably be named “Queen’s Assassin: Conquest of DarkRealm”.