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Monday, January 21, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Kiss of the Butterfly by James Lyon

Title: Kiss of the Butterfly
Author: James Lyon
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: July 22, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.


Why You're Reading This Book:
  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like vampires that are actually scary (i.e. they don't sparkle)
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "'The smell of blood is in the air, I sense it even now. People thirst for it; the entire country is mad with desire for it. And now we are going to war with our brothers because they look like us, and because we can smell our blood coursing through their veins...' A mysterious letter starts a university student on a journey into the war-torn lands of rapidly disintegrating Yugoslavia. Naively trusting his enigmatic professor, the student unwittingly descends into a dystopian crucible of decay, destruction, passion, death, romance, lust, immorality, genocide, and forbidden knowledge promising immortality. As the journey grows ever more perilous, he realizes he must confront an ancient evil that has been once again loosed upon the earth: from medieval Bosnia to enlightenment-era Vienna, from the bright beaches of modern-day Southern California to the exotically dark cityscapes of Budapest and Belgrade, and horrors of Bosnia."

My Two Cents:


"Kiss of the Butterfly" is part mystery and part thriller. There is even a little bit of historical fiction in there my fellow historical fiction lovers (the book takes place in 1990s, the 18th, and 15th centuries). There are vampires but these most definitely are not your sparkly, brooding vampires (okay, they might be brooding but they're actually a little scary). Lyon weaves in Balkan folklore to bring the vampire myths to life. Guys, I really love books based on folktales. They are so interesting! It's so interesting to me to see how someone takes an old story and turns it into something really different and special. Before this book, I was really not familiar with the Balkan vampire folklore, other than Vlad the Impaler (a.k.a. the one and only Dracula) but let me tell you, it is completely fascinating! It's even harder to take historical events and weave them together with such a myth so that the events still seem completely real and plausible!

I love the setting of the book, especially the parts set in the 1990s. If you'll remember, the early 1990s were a really difficult time in the Balkan regions. There was total chaos because of the Bosnian War, which was in full swing. So many different countries were included. Lyon weaves in the horror of the vampires with these real life events in a really amazing way. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book!

Overall, I really enjoyed how the book was laid out. Sometimes the detail verged more into the telling rather than the showing, which made the first half of the book initially hard to get into. The upside of all of the detail is that you get a really good sense of the myths behind the story, which is very cool. There is a lot of explaining of the myth and the various locations. The book really picks up in second half with a lot more action and a total escalation of the action in the story. Once the book really gets going, it keeps going fast and furious until the final climax.

This book will definitely appeal to a lot of different kinds of readers. Thrillers are not usually my usual kind of reading but I found a lot to like about this book. I love the history so much!



Giveaway:

I have two ebook copies of the book up for grabs (open internationally)!

 


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14 comments:

  1. I like thrillers and then you add the other elements and it looks like an interesting story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maureen,

      It's a bit old-fashioned...starts slowly, then builds. I hope you enjoy reading it.

      Best

      James

      Delete
  2. I really like the timeframe of this book. I was just barely old enough to understand what was happening in the Balkans during the 1990s and I remember this was the first international news event that I followed and learned about concurrently in school. I read one book about Vlad the Impaler/vampire and really liked it. This one sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lara,

      I hope the combination of the book's timeframe, Vlad and the Balkans whets your appetite for... garlic. :-) Because after reading "Kiss of the Butterfly", you might decide you wish to increase your garlic intake. :-))

      Best

      James

      Delete
  3. Great review, I understand about the show don't tell, but it does sound like an interesting read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Kimba,

      Meg is right about the show-vs-tell in the first part of the book. I had to struggle with a way to convey a large quantity of information in order to undo some of the modern pop-culture vampire myths and reconstruct them. If I could go back and do it over, I'm sure I could find a way to make it more showy and less telly, but hindsight is always 20/20. Sigh.

      Best

      James

      P.S. Now if I can just find a way to get you to read "Kiss of the Butterfly". :-)

      Delete
  4. Thoughtful review which captivated my interest. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Traveler,

      You are correct, Meg's review was very thoughtful and well written. As an author I really love seeing how a reader connects with a book.

      James

      Delete
  5. I recently reread Dracula and have a taste for all things vampire. This sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Nancy,

      I didn't read Dracula until after I had published "Kiss of the Butterfly". The reason? I wanted to base "Kiss" entirely on original folklore, as opposed to the using someone else's filter. Even now I'm vampire hunting for original folklore on a regular basis. Just last week I visited the site of the first ever confirmed historical vampire, Kisiljevo in Serbia.

      Best

      James

      Delete
  6. I love that it involves vampires! Anything that has those bloodsuckers in it intrigues me!

    mestith@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Meghan,

      They don't just suck blood. Real vampires also smother people, bang pots and pans in the middle of the night, and hang out at watermills.

      Hope you enjoy "Kiss of the Butterfly".

      Best

      James

      Delete
  7. I was born and raised in Zvornik, so you can imagine my excitement when I read the first several pages of this book. I can't wait to see it in print.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dear Anonymous,

    Pozdrav iz Sarajeva.

    Hopefully a print version (with maps and illustrations) will be available by April on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other on-line book-sellers.

    Best

    James

    ReplyDelete

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