Blood Ties (Oliver Nocturne Book 3)
In Emerson’s third outing, Oliver is off to the old country with his parents. Dean is allowed to accompany him since everyone believes that Oliver is his master. The trip is guaranteed to be tense as Oliver is still unsure what his parents’ plans are for him, but Dean is looking forward to a break from the awkward tension in his own home. Dean, Oliver and Emalie have been working hard to uncover Dean’s true master, but so far they have made little headway. Emalie, however, has been very successful studying her mother’s notebooks concerning her Orani heritage. As her skills continue to develop, Emalie also is learning a great deal about her mother’s work before her disappearance. When the notebooks point her toward a site in Italy nearly directly above the boys’ destination, the three make arrangments to meet up. Oliver becomes seriously concerned, however, when he overhears a conversation between his father and someone from Half-Light involving a sacrifice that Sebastian must commit in order to prove his loyalty. Convinced that he will be murdered during the trip, Oliver is more commited than ever to learn about the prophecy and to unravel Dead Desirre’s mysterious riddle. Once in Morosia, Oliver is amused to see his parents battling ideologically with Phlox’s family, but when the conversations begin to take an ugly tone, Oliver begins to wonder to what lengths they will go to protect the old ways. When the investigation brings the three to a museum bearing a statue that strongly resembles Emalie’s mother, they know they are on the right track, but when they stumble upon Bane interogating the curator, they begin to wonder what his motives may be. As the action intensifies, Oliver comes face to face with his father and finally confronts him concerning his fears, his role in the prophecy, and his anger about being kept in the dark. With everything finally out in the open, Oliver momentarily joins forces with his father to get answers before the Half-Light Consortium does away with one of his last contacts.
In this volume, Emalie begins to really embrace her Orani past and use it for a definitive purpose, namely finding her mother and helping Oliver discover his role in the Nexia Gate prophecy. Dean’s strained relationship with his family is a nice element of the story, allowing the author to explore the lengths to which a parent will go to stay in the lives of their young, even in death. The resentment of his siblings is realistic and adds to Dean’s own development which had previously been somewhat lacking. Oliver’s less than open relationship with his parents continues to color the story, but his eventual clearing of the air is a welcome addition. Sebastian and Phlox are more deeply explored in this volume as well which exemplifies Oliver’s growing maturity and thus his ability to see them as complex individuals. In addition, it allows the reader to more closely relate to each character and the complicated and difficult decisions they are being forced to make.
Emerson is excellent at exploring novel environments (the underground world of Morosia, the infiltration of every level of human society, the vampire marketplace beneath Seattle) and his explanations of the physics of each including the modern travel methods of new world vampires is fascinating. In addition, the continuing ideological battle between old world and modern vampires creates a nice tension that exemplifies both generational and regional variations on the blood-sucking theme.
Overall, this is a solid addition to the series that answers many of the reader’s questions as well as adding to the tension with new problems. Fans of the series should not be disappointed.