In the Roses of Pieria (The Blood Files #1) by Anna Burke
In the Roses of Pieria (The Blood Files #1) by Anna Burke

In the Roses of Pieria (The Blood Files #1) by Anna Burke

Pure Burke Beauty

From the first sentence, you know it’s going to be pure Burke beauty. By the second, the mood is set.


When given the opportunity to study hitherto unknown artefacts from the Nektopolian civilisation, Clara Eden doesn’t hesitate long. Higher wages than she’s ever received in her six years as an adjunct teacher and a cute cottage to live in don’t hurt either. How could she know that her research will uncover a story of love, betrayal, revenge over too many years to count? A story she’ll unwittingly become a part of, among creatures she didn’t know – or want to believe – existed, finding love herself on the way?

This book has everything. Action, romance, sexy times, humour, gore. It’s terrifying and hot – sometimes simultaneously – and beautifully written as usual. It takes tremendous talent to make reading about a scholar working on ancient texts fascinating. The letters between Natek and Gata (beautiful, beautiful letters) remind me of This Is How You Lose the Time War. The story is completely different but they have the same enemies-to-lovers tension. Then Burke moves on to action-packed scenes, with the same ease and fluidity as she writes about intellectual pursuits.

In the Roses of Pieria (The Blood Files #1) by Anna BurkeThe story is told in first person, from Clara’s point of view, which makes every emotion she feels, every shiver that goes through her body the reader’s as well, be it fear or the first thrills of attraction. With all her knowledge and intellect, Clara isn’t ready for the secrets she’s confronted with and the decisions she has to make, but page after page, revelation after revelation, she steps up. I have this feeling of her in my head, straightening up as events unfold and fortitude is needed. I’m very curious to see what happens to her in the second part of the Blood Files.

There are many details that would deserve to be discussed, I can’t get into all of them in this review. The worldbuilding, though. It’s twofold and glorious. Nektopolis, the letters, Clara’s research, which conjure up ruins and dust, musty rooms and filtered light – dry, hot, and golden. Then the present, the world Clara didn’t know she lived in, a world just as complex and dark, that brings to mind moss and the scent of water, green and black and fresh yet stifling.

I don’t read a lot of horror because I scare easily. So I convinced myself this book was just fantasy. I love fantasy, I love Anna Burke’s books. Easy. Except this one really is scary, it pushed me way out of my comfort zone and I swear I had to step back from myself to stay in the book. All worth it, obviously. More than worth it.

What blows my mind is that we owe such wonderful books as this one and A Long Time Dead by Samara Breger to three authors – Burke, Breger, Jenn Alexander – challenging one another to write vampire novellas. Which turned into novels, and a duology for Burke. As a reader, I couldn’t be happier. Because everything I’ve read so far has been brilliant and there’s more to look forward to. There are similarities between the two novels that have been released, yet they have very distinct personalities. A Long Time Dead is the lush and decadent sibling, In the Roses of Pieria is the academic one, deceptively bookish, unabashedly and gleefully wild when given the chance. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the family. 4.5 stars

In the Roses of Pieria (The Blood Files #1) by Anna BurkeIn the Roses of Pieria (The Blood Files #1) by Anna Burke

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