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Posted June 23, 2012
A Dozen Black Roses takes place in part of a large U.S. city called Deadtown. The citizens of Deadtown are made up of drug addicts, alcoholics, gang members and vampires. There are two vampires that are fighting for control of Deadtown. One is Lord Esher who was good friends with a certain horror author from the 1800’s. The other is Lord Sinjon who founded Deadtown and is a much older vampire then Esher.
Everyone in Deadtown lives in fear of Esher and Sinjon but things change when Living vampire and monster hunter Sonja Blue comes to town to put an end to both vampires. Sonja soon discovers that destroying the vampires may not be as easy as she thinks when she meets a boy named Ryan whose mother is being brainwashed into marrying Lord Esher. Sonja promises to save Ryan’s mother but Esher practices black magic and has power that may be to much for Sonja to handle.
A Dozen Black Roses is a bloody good time. There are some great characters in this book, including an alcoholic priest with a troubled past and an aging hippie that doesn’t take crap from anyone. I really enjoyed the backstory on Esher and Sinjon. Both vampires even when they were human only cared about having power over others but their personalities are very different. Also the way they gained their power is different as well as how they conduct themselves. Esher has plans on expanding outside of Deadtown and through black magic has a more loyal following then Sinjon. Sinjon on the other hand is satisfied being the drug lord over Deadtown and still dresses and acts as he did in the 1700′s. Nancy Collin’s vampires have very unique peronalities but all have the same motivations which to me makes them more interesting.
My favorite part of the book was how Eddie and Sonja became surrogate parents for Ryan. These two characters don’t have any experience with children but when Eddie finds Ryan eating out of a dumpster he does what he feels he has to do by taking Ryan in. Sonja on the other hand makes the promise to get Ryan’s mother back and shows a different side to herself when Ryan shows his feelings for her.
I also enjoyed the action scenes in this book. One scene I didn’t see coming was when the townspeople have decided they’ve had enough of hiding in fear and go through “changes” as they decide to rid Deadtown of lowlifes. Another good one was when two gang members are forced to fight to the death naked, while suspended in a cage above an audience of bloodthirsty vampires. This scene will hurt to read if you are a guy. I also liked the suspense that buils towards the end as Sonja prepares to take on Esher. A Dozen Black Roses is definitly worth your time.
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Posted July 26, 2012
Part of my initial love of A Dozen Black Roses was that it came out when I was LARPing and so I gleefully imagined some of the characters I had to deal with getting into a show down with Sonja Blue. Now Biting Dog has released a White Wolf-free version of A Dozen Black Roses, which makes it less like a shoe horned effort to keep a star writer like Collins while also pushing the White Wolf RPG line, and more like an actual Sonja Blue novel.
Collins' vampire hunting vampire Sonja Blue was one of my first loves in horror (now though it might fit more in Urban Fantasy). She's different, from her creation story, to her split personality, to her punk rock attitude. And Collins' style is different as well. Known for loving descriptions of ultra violence Collins easily keeps up in a genre that seems to be boy territory. In fact Sonja shaking up the old boy's network is a key theme in this book, making it all the more fun. Sonja faces down the two vampire lords of Deadtown, vicious vampires who barely even notice humans as pawns in their quest for power and personal indulgence. And thought she's not exactly a superhero she's definitely the good guy come to make the (other) vampires pay.
Highly recommended for public and private collections, here's your chance to read the book as it should have been, without rules and dice and power gamers.
Contains: violence, language, drug use, rape
Posted January 14, 2013
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