5 Star Reader Review:
I have just finished reading Blood Moon Rising by Angela Lam Turpin. This book is a little gem. I couldn’t put it down. When I started reading it I stayed up until 2 am and finished the book the next morning. Although I usually don’t read books about vampires this whimsical little tale was more about mother and child relationships and the problems that develop when the child is born half vampire and half human.
–Sharon K. Moxley
Here in Shaman’s Forest, sheltered between mountain trails and campsites, a sanctuary of deciduous plants and lush evergreens magically mingled with dry pines and dusty fir trees. A silvery creek full of freshwater salmon cut through the sanctuary like a ribbon woven through a young girl’s hair. In the protective embrace of nature, fairy lantern castles swung next to blue jay nests. Owls took flight with pixies on their backs, and goblins shared acorns with squirrels. Trolls peacefully dug for mushrooms along the mountain trails far from the curious glance of campers who fished in the streams below. Wind whistled through the trees, singing songs understood by the gnomes, but incomprehensible to human ears.
Near the edge of the sanctuary, in a cavern excavated to the center of the earth, a low groaning echoed through the stalactite chambers. Bats flitted through the dark tunnels. Their shrieks reverberated against the craggy walls. A tall slender female with long raven hair and exquisite porcelain-like skin ran down the dark corridor. Her black cloak flapped like monstrous bat wings. With inhuman strength, she pushed aside the stone that sealed the tomb. Her son, Anthony, sat with his knees folded to his chest, rocking back and forth, a dull whine escaping his dry, parted lips. Valkyrie knelt beside him and felt his face. His skin burned.
“Not again,” she whispered, searching for the amulet. She placed it around the boy’s neck. “The wizard said–”
“No promises.” He glanced down at the dangling silver globe and curled his fingers around it into a fist. He yanked the shining brilliance from his feverish neck and threw it against the rocky wall, hollering. “Weren’t you listening? I’m half human and it doesn’t always work with humans.”
Valkyrie sighed, ashamed and worried. She stretched out her arms in supplication. “Come here. Let me hold you.” In spite of defiant reluctance, the boy crawled into his mother’s lap as if only her touch would ease his fever and aching skin. After fifteen years, he weighed no more than an armload of branches and stood no taller than a bush. His lack of development did not amaze his mother, for vampires grew slowly into maturity. Valkyrie never bothered thinking of her son as something different than herself, although he was. Physically, he appeared to be a pre-pubescent boy, although he was old enough to have a driver’s permit. His mother treated him like a ten-year-old who knew nothing of the world. But he was neither a teenager nor a child. He was a dhampir, half-human and half-vampire. He was susceptible to disease. Like a human, he would age, although at half the rate, and eventually he would die. Until recently, he had been of good health, content to gather beetles and insects by night and sleep during the day. He was a swimmer, a hunter, a gatherer, a plaything of mischief and delight. Wind tickled his toes. Owls played peek-a-boo with him. Bats showed him where the wild berries grew. Squirrels helped him gather pinecones which he made into a necklace.
After the full moon of the winter solstice, Anthony’s temperature rose. He stopped eating, sleeping, playing after a week of constant discomfort. Anthony rocked beside the cave’s entrance at night while his mother searched the forest for fresh blood. He refused to leave. Worried, she consulted a wizard who prescribed a dose of witch hazel with moss brew. He also gave her a silver medallion to ward off unfriendly spirits. Valkyrie continually placed the amulet around Anthony’s neck and poured the bitter potion into his pursed lips, spilling more than was consumed. The fever diminished temporarily, but flared up again the following full moon. This time when she tried the potion, Anthony, eager to be well, sipped it against his will. The fever had subsided, but returned now, two moons later.
Let me call upon the sorceress, Valkyrie thought, remembering the sorceress’ ancient wisdom and maternal kindness. Surely, she’ll know what to do. But Valkyrie knew she must wait until sunset. In the meantime, her son stared up at her with vacant eyes, searching her face for an answer that was not there. Valkyrie tried to comfort him with leaves dampened with rainwater and his favorite blanket stolen from a camper. Anthony squirmed in her lap, grasping the blanket with one fist, pushing the moist leaves off his forehead with a hot palm, forever wrestling within his skin for a moment of peace.