Set in the future on the rural landscape of St. Cloud, Minnesota where pre-Vampire teens are required by the government to take a daily Red pill to prevent their urge to bite, Blood Orange Soda is a coming of age story of love, life and death.
I really liked the sound of Blood Orange Soda, picturing a gritty dystopian future in which Vampires are are somehow forced to suppress their urges. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet my expectations…any of them.
Blood Orange Soda is written in diary-entry format from the perspective of protagonist Darius, a goth teen who is constantly bullied at school and plays in a rock band. Oh, and he’s a pre-vampire. If he stops taking his pills he will become a full vampire, although that’s not really recommended until he turns 18.
Although I did find some things I liked in this story – enough to keep me reading – I felt constantly let down. I was waiting for things to get interesting but they never did. There’s this whole sub-text about under-age sex (biting-before-love, surely not!) and drug culture (the Blood Orange Soda of the title which speeds up the transformation in pre-vamps, and ‘Normals’ just get ‘juiced up’ on) which could have worked well but was just too transparent and read as immature.
I thought it was going to get interesting when Darius’s Uncle Jack was training him for his impending fight (a ridiculous concept in the first place). There was pretty much a Rocky-style training montage and everything, and I started to think Jack may have ulterior motives for helping him and encouraging him not to tell anyone about taking the Blood Orange Soda, but no, it was just another false alarm and led nowhere!
I found the characters one dimensional, and not a lot happens. I did like that it had an urban feel to it, but Blood Orange Soda is a coming of age story with no bite, excuse the pun!
Disclosure?: I received an advanced copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: Blood Orange Soda
Author: James Michael Larranaga
Details: ebook, 350 pages
Published: Expected March 15th 2014 by JML
My Rating: 2/5