The Blood Race – The Blood Race series #1
K. A. Emmons
reviewed by bookwolf4
I’ve been running from my past for one hundred years. And I’m still just a teenager.
I was selected by my teacher, Sensei, to train in The Dimension: a secret place of refuge for the ‘anomalies’ of past, present, and future earth. Here I would learn to connect to my ‘warrior within’ as Sensei calls it – to channel energy orbs, commute between realms, and even shape-shift into an alternate form. But never did I guess that my training would include taking on an anomaly student of my own: a loose cannon of a college guy named Ion.
Late one evening, I invite him over to Sensei’s house for a little chat; one that will turn his life upside-down. Shoving him into the broom closet turned portal, I drag Ion into the Dimension, opening his eyes to his true homeland: a realm of anomalies. His kin.
As we train to become Protectors of future Earth, battling each other as well as our own demons, I begin to realize that there’s more to Ion than I originally thought: a darkness he’s spent his life running from. And beyond that, a looming threat hidden in plain sight – something that could destroy me, him, and the future of Earth.
“…Having lived so long without the light, the darkness will seem more familiar to them. But the future is not their to claim for darkness—it is yours to reclaim for light…”
The Blood Race has been on my radar for a very, very long time, and I finally got to see what all the hype is about. I went into the book having no idea what to expect, and came out totally surprised and amazed. The Blood Race is more than just a story, it is a challenge, a call for Christians to step up and find the strength and courage to forgive, and to believe the best about others no matter what. There is plenty of humour and touching moments. (My favourite character was definitely Fin, hands-down.) The story maybe isn’t totally original, but it is entertaining and thought-provoking. HOWEVER… I couldn’t recommend it to people without first warning them about all the swearing. Also that a character was raped – it isn’t graphic at all, but just something to keep in mind before handing it to younger readers.
**possible spoiler** One other thing I HAVE to mention is this: Hawk is a good person. Icarus is a bad person. Fin is a good person. Can we all just agree on what is obvious here? Forget all that two halves of a soul stuff!! **end of possible spoiler**
So, now I just need to get book two!
“One cannot grow used to something they’ve yet to acknowledge,” he said. “And how can one acknowledge something they’ve been told is an impossibility?”
“…Something is only impossible in one’s mind until it is achieved, and then it is no longer impossible.” He paused here, seeming to consider the matter. “It was never impossible to begin with.”
“He’s a little arrogant. But then, that’s to be expected. He is, after all, a non-transdimensional male, as I pointed out before.” “That sounds more akin to judgement, dear one.”
“How do you make this look so easy?” “Insomnia.” Fin stepped up beside me. “And practice.”
“I think you’re used to hurting people,” she continued, her voice a little lower than before. “You’re so used to it, in fact, that you do it without even knowing it—you don’t even know how to stop.”
“Then trust is dangerous,” I concluded. “Trust is superlative. The result is never lukewarm: it is either an extreme producer of life, or death.”
“Our past can only follow us if we allow it to, Hawk.”
“If you wait until things make sense, you’ll never take action,” I said.
“Do you think less of me, Hawk?” She shook her head. “No, Icarus. I don’t think less of you.” After a few minutes she turned to look at me. “And even if I did, that would be a fault in my character, not a black mark on yours.”
“But doubt is questioning.” “And questioning is faith that there is an answer. And that you will one day find it.”
“Have our own conventions, our own rules and regulations, stripped us bare of what faith we had left in who we were?” A hush fell over the platform again. “Have we so long guarded ourselves, so long sought to do what is right, that we’ve forgotten what actually is right?”
(note: Ion/Icarus are the same person, I use these names interchangeably. Same goes for Riley/Raiden.)
14+ for strong language, moderate violence and sexual content
Hawk takes Ion to a portal, which is a dark closet. Ion tells her most people would consider that suggestive behaviour on her part, and asks if the experience is going to be at all sensual. (She says no.)
Hawk tells Ion about the code of conduct he is expected to follow. This includes no distractions, such as romantic relationships – “Physicality, sex and anything associated with the two. Purity is sacredly upheld within the dimension.” Ion says he thinks that would be a good thing, creating more people like them. She tells him no, “But points for trying to find a loophole for sex, Ion.”
Mel is trying to get information out of Ion. She gets him drunk, then flirts with him, kissing him and putting her hand on his thigh. He takes her to the portal (the closet) and she tries to take his shirt off.
Hawk was raped when she was 17. There are a few flashbacks, but nothing graphic. It is all handled very sensitively.
Mention of a scantily clad girl Ion sees Ruger making out with.
A girl asks Ion if she can stay the night. (He says no.)
VIOLENCE & GORE
Ion accidentally almost kills someone by punching them.
Hawk, as a bird, has her wing injured. It is a test, Ion heals her.
Hawk tells Ion to stab her. He stabs her hand, pinning it to the table. She looks as blood oozes out, pulls the blade out of her hand, blood spurting onto the table, and heals herself.
Hawk makes two inexperienced people try channeling, one is injured very badly. His hands are split open, and his ribs break. One of his ribs punctures a lung, causing internal bleeding. Fin smashes a window so Hawk can escape. Colour floods into the room, “spattering the walls like blood had done only minutes before.” Hawk also heals the person, telling them “I opened you up and pieced your ribs back together. With my bare hands.”
Multiple mentions of a character wanting another character’s blood.
Hawk tells Ion what would’ve happened if Riley beat him “Little bits of your insides would be splattered all over the safe room walls.”
Hawk slices open both of Icarus’ palms and her own, then grabs his hands so that their blood meshes.
Icarus is hit in the leg by a tree splitting in half. He says “I felt several oversized splinters nail smoothly into my right thigh with a sickening sound like meat being skewered.”
Icarus stabs someone in the chest with a knife, trying to kill them. (But they heal themselves.)
Raiden slices Icarus’ palms open (the third time his poor hands have been chopped up).
Icarus pushes Raiden over the edge of the platform, killing him.
PROFANITY & INSULTS
Holy crap x2, crap x1
You suck / that sucks x3
Shut up x2, shut the hell up
Mentions of screwing up x7
What the hell/where the hell, etc x21
Frickin’ x4, friggin’ x1, freaking x1
My god x5, god x6, oh my god x2, thank god x2, god knows x1
“What the f—?” / “Holy fu—” x2
ALCOHOL, DRUGS & SMOKING
Ion goes to a bar and gets wasted.
One of Ion’s housemates likes to party. There’s lots of drinking, etc.
FRIGHTENING & INTENSE SCENES
Raiden tries to kill Icarus and Mara. Lots of explosions and flying objects, Raiden sets people’s clothes on fire.
Icarus has flashbacks that can be very intense.
Raiden traps Hawk and Icarus, and tries to kill them both. This is fairly prolonged and intense, but it ends when Icarus pushes him off the edge of the platform, killing him.
Channeling energy, shape-shifting, healing, cognitive readings and levitation are all skills they (sliders) have. A lot of their training methods are all based on yoga techniques.
Fin takes Hawk to a place he went a lot as a kid, saying, “My father used to come here to talk to God. He believed He ‘dwelt most in the seas’ or something like that.” Hawk asks Fin if he comes here to find God. He says “No, I would come here to be overwhelmed.”