Bloodlaced by Courtney Maguire is a stunning reflection on gender fluidity and a fresh reflection on the vampire mythos.
The Bloodlaced Story: A New Vampire Myth
Set in Japan, Asagi, a man and a woman, is enslaved, sold by their mother after their father dies. They are slaves in an abusive household lead by a man who takes advantage of Asagi’s masculinity hidden by their femininity, a combination the master can’t stand.
My feeling about the master is that he was personally, internally challenged by Asagi’s gender expression. Outward and hidden homesexuality is a theme throughout the book. The master didn’t like what he found inside himself, and instead of facing the fact that he liked boys, he abused the one who made him feel that way. Afterwards, this master takes the young boy Asagi views as a son, and Asagi cannot stop him. These feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness pervade the book and lead to the final, inevitable ending.
The master sells Asagi to another household. This master, Mahiro, is different. He is kind to Asagi, who for the first time has clothes and food. Mahrio and Asagi bond, leading to an explosive romantic relationship. But, Mahiro has a secret. He lives off of blood and never ages.
After a while, their romantic relationship takes a turn. I’ll leave the events out of this blog so you can discover them by yourself. But, suffice to say that Asagi makes choices that have terrible repercussions.
(If you want to read the book summary, click here. I have Amazon and B&N links below but this summary has links to all the places you can buy the book.)
Why I Loved It
For me, Asagi’s gender identity was a delight to read. The insights into how someone identifying as both male and female thought and lived, dressed and loved, gave me something new and inspiring. The vampire story and complexity of the plot, combined with the Japanese terms and feudal culture is engrossing.
I recommend Bloodlaced by Courtney Maguire with 5 stars and I am looking forward to the second book, Bloodpact, which is out May 4.