I received an email from YA Bound Book Tours asking if I would be interested in reviewing “The Black Lotus” and “Blood Orchid” by Claire Warner. You know the phrase, “Never judge a book by it’s cover”? I definitely judged “The Black Lotus” AND “Blood Orchid” by their covers and just knew I had to get my hands on both to review. “The Black Lotus” was published March 21st 2014 and is available for purchase here. And “Blood Orchid” was published June 3rd 2016 and is available for purchase here.
Before I get to the reviews (I will be reviewing BOTH in this one blog post) let’s take a look at Claire Warner. Claire has written a total of 4 books, with a supposed 5th on the way:
- The Black Lotus – Night Flower Book 1
- Blood Orchid – Night Flower Book 2
- Faded Rose – Night Flower Book 3 (no word on when this will be published)
- Amber Sky
Before receiving this particular e-mail, I had never heard of Claire Warner. . .which is truly a shame, because I’m pretty sure if word got out about these books, she’d be a well known name in the YA community. . .maybe she already is and I just happen to be out of the loop.
*** The Black Lotus Review ***
So . . .this book. . . . Are there any LOST fans out there? You know how watching LOST, you were, well. . .lost? By the end of one episode week after week you were left with a million questions and maybe one was answered in that 50 minute period? Welcome to “The Black Lotus”. To begin with, readers are actually starting 5 months BEFORE we get to the backstory. This actually had me upset because I like an order to things. But I have to be honest. The way that this “prologue” ended literally had me laughing out loud and ready to dive into this book. However, what really got me was that with each chapter read I had about 15 new questions and maybe was rewarded with 1 answer.
Melissa De Vire has just been debuted for court with one goal in mind; to find a suitable husband. Among the guests is a notorious womanizer, rather well accomplished considering his age, and he has drawn the attention of Melissa. Although completely smitten with this Justin Lestrade, it seems he has written her off, which is completely fine for her family’s standards. No amount of etiquette and manners classes could prepare any girl for a man out to ruin their reputation; which is exactly what happens to Melissa. While filling out her dance card, Melissa is forcibly escorted away from the crowd. Panicked, Melissa does not want to make a scene, however she knows this could damage her prospects for her. Acting on her own volition, she strikes the man across the cheek to get him to stop and listen to her. Unfortunately for Melissa, the man intends to strike back. Luckily, a crowd has drawn and Melissa’s brother, Marcus, saves the day, while challenging the man (Montjoy) to a duel to defend his sister’s honor.
Much to her parent’s dismay, they decide to pack up and move back to their country house in hopes that court life will regret their daughter’s debacle. What they weren’t expecting was their daughter’s mistake to be overshadowed by a string of murders.
While her family is dealing with embarrassment and fighting for her honor, Melissa poses the most perfect question. Why is she at fault for defending her own honor. If Melissa would not have taken initiative in striking a man that may have defiled her honor further, there would be no future suitors for her at all. Why is she being blamed for stopping it? Why does her family have the ultimate say in her future and she just has to pretend to be okay with it? Melissa struggles with the pivotal question why she was born a girl instead of a boy- something that a lot of girls even struggle with today, making the main character extremely relatable.
The start of this book actually had me cringing. I kept saying, here we go again. . .it’s another girl meets bad boy, bad boy tells her to stay away from him for her own good, silly girl decides not to listen, etc. It’s been done. . .overly done. And then half way through the book, I was able to look past this over-done plot and really fall in love with the story line.
There was an ever present issue I had with this book, which ultimately brought down the rating it deserved. . .I actually had to wonder if this book went through editors. There were SO many mistakes. I know that not ALL mistakes make the cut, but seriously, it seemed like there was at least 5 in each chapter. Not to mention that on the kindle version there was an ENTIRE chapter repeated- start to finish. I don’t easily get annoyed by mistakes, although with how much I read they are easier to pick out. . .but when I seriously have to re-read a sentence every single chapter because something isn’t making sense, it takes away from getting into the book and makes me want to mark it with a red pen.
All said and done, “The Black Lotus” is a worthwhile read. . .it’s extremely different than what I first imagined it would be. I’m hoping when I move on to “Blood Orchid” that it has gone through editors.
*** Blood Orchid Review ***
“Blood Orchid” continues right where “The Black Lotus” left off, Melissa damned eternally, and throwing a minor temper tantrum that she has to stay away from her family. Her beloved Justin is on the verge of dying, or what the curse considers dying; think of it as a walking dead situation.
Marcus, ever the valiant, honor-keeping brother once again decides to go take on Montjoy for once again, attempting to defile Melissa, and seek vengeance for his mother’s death. Marcus, and friend James, decide to pay Montjoy a visit at his home.
Emily is on a mission to retrieve Justin’s stolen brooch from John. And to get to John you must go through Katherine. Katherine reluctantly gifts Emily with an address; which will unintentionally run her into Marcus and James.
Throughout the whole book readers switch perspectives. You jump from one era, to 20 years in the future, attempting to accomplish one menial task. . .continuing to search for a cure for the black lotus. Justin continues to search for ancient tomes while evading John and his associates.
Will they find a cure? What does the blood orchid bring to the table? What exactly does John want? I’d love to tell you all these questions will be answered in this book, but they will not be.
After finishing “The Black Lotus” I left it with the only saving grace “Blood Orchid” will have for me if I see it was truly edited. . .
I am actually quite disappointed with this book. I read it on the kindle, and at 33% I was finished. . .no, it was not a “Did Not Finish” the story was LITERALLY over at 33%. At first I was confused, thinking I just received a sample of the book, but as I flipped forward, a sample of another book was listed, and then the ENTIRE book of “Blood Orchid” was repeated.
And once again, we have a book that I fail to believe made it through an editor. I understand a few mistakes. But once again, we have several mistakes in each chapter- to me that just detracts from the story. Maybe other people don’t have a problem with that, but that’s the glory of opinions, and this happens to be mine.
At this point in time, I don’t really care to find out how this series ends.
Both books were provided by YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.