Sunday, January 24, 2016

Book Review: Blackmoore by Marcus James

Within the secluded shelter of evergreens and cliffside that surrounds Bellingham Washington is South Hill, the city's prominent old money neighborhood; filled with gracious Victorians and manor homes, over looking the fishing port of Fairhaven and the dark waters of Bellingham Bay. 17 year-old Trevor Blackmoore has lived here his entire life, shunned and feared, along with the rest of his clan by the snobbish and superstitious families that surround them; who regard the Blackmoores as the devil's concubines. As a young clairvoyant dealing not only with the dark secrets of his family but also with his homosexuality; two things which have made him an outsider, he struggles to find normalcy. Trevor's life is made extremely difficult by his tormentors and former childhood friends Cheri Hannifin, Greg Sheer, and Christian Vasquez; three school gods of the prestigious Mariner High School. When Christian suddenly returns to Trevor's life, full of regret and a sudden need for something more, Trevor is unaware that he is walking into a devilish and dangerous trap concocted by Cheri and Greg, who have more in store for Trevor than simple revenge but a plot to ruin an unsuspecting Christian as well.  This act sets off a chain of events that will fulfill the doomed prophecy of the Blackmoore family, who in their mysterious world, lined with voodoo and their dark and complicated Irish roots, are in grave danger. A century's old curse comes to an end, releasing an ancient and bloodthirsty evil, set out on destroying the family, and Trevor learns that he is at the center of it; realizing that he is all the stands between this darkness and his family's survival.

Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the book.

The cover is...just okay. I have the sense it is supposed to convey the loneliness that the Blackmoore family is facing, but it is somewhat spoiled by the text clutter on the upper right hand side. Removing that would have been a little more effective.

Blackmoore is a book with both m/m romance and supernatural elements as well, with the romance dominating the first half and the supernatural the second half respectively. For the most part these elements play off together nicely-Trevor is a confused teenager who can't afford to love due to the curse that is on his family. The mystery and details of the curse itself are very unique and help to make Blackmoore an entertaining read.

The supporting characters also come across as very strong and my favorite by far is Trevor's mother, who comes across as timid in the beginning and by the end she is a powerful, vengeful woman. The weak link seems to be in the antagonists, who, for the most part, also seem to want to fall in love with Trevor, which can conflict at times with their plans to hurt Trevor (that's teenage love, I guess). Others are not quite as developed as the main characters and could have used a bit of expansion.

I wrote that the romance and horror elements play off 'for the most part' because towards the middle of the book the conflict seems to end, somewhat jarringly so, but that is where the horror elements (the curse) come into focus and it's up to Trevor to end it for good. Blackmoore also concludes in a satisfactory way, closing all loose ends  but making it possible for a sequel. Which, in my mind, is the best way to end a book.

Final grade: 4 out of 5. Strong characters and a strong set-up outshine a few of the weaker antagonists. Overall this was an entertaining read.

Blackmoore can be found here.

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