Christine Cody’s Blood Rules is the second book in the Bloodlands series. The Bloodlands series is set in a post-apocalyptic US after wars, terrorism, zealots and crazies have decimated the country leaving it fractured and relying heavily on other countries to support its well-being.
Blood Rules picks up two months after Bloodlands ended with the “monsters” of the New Badlands getting the better of Johnson Stamp and his men after they tried to invade their habitat and steal their aquifer water supply. Even by winning, they lost because the group decided to flee for safer confines while avoiding yet another run in with Stamp and his surviving lieutenant Mags who want nothing better than to eliminate all monsters from existence.
In the first novel Bloodlands, readers were introduced to 23 year old Mariah Lyander who was infected with the were-wolf virus when her family was attacked and killed in Dallas. Mariah has become sort of a pariah or pet psycho because she continually puts her neighbors in jeopardy by shifting when she is under emotional distress or anger and then running out into the open desert. Her relationship with Gabriel has reached a tipping point and it’s become harder to control her anger.
Gabriel is a vampire who came to the new badlands looking for his girlfriend Abby and was angry when he found out the truth about what happened to her. Gabriel and Mariah ended up imprinting on the other so that now they can basically calm the other when distressed. Gabriel was told that he will revert back to being a human if his creator dies. He, at least, has something to look forward to that those like Mariah don’t.
In Blood Rules, Gabriel and Mariah decide that they will travel to one of the hubs, better known as a former city like Denver, and explore the possibility of finding a cure for Mariah’s were virus before it completely takes over her.
This being the second story in the trilogy, it lacks some of the depth that Bloodlands had created. While interesting enough to continue to the last book of the series In Blood We Trust (09/27/2011), it had what I thought were too many points of view.
Readers will continue to journey with Mariah and Gabriel, but Cody has also added the oldster (were-scorpion) and Stamp to the story mix. Cody introduces readers to the mother of all monsters named 562 and the possibility that his/her blood could either cure Mariah, or make her even stronger and something entirely different from what she already is.
Overall, the world building and introduction of several new characters along the way, kept my attention right to the ending which obviously leaves the reader wanting to continue to the last book in the series. For me, I can only hope that Cody doesn’t go off the reservation and add more POV’s to the storyline.