Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Audiobook Review: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause

Title: Blood and Chocolate
Author: Annette Curtis Klause
Series: N/A
Pages: 264
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Paranormal YA
Source: Library

Goodreads Description:
Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf? Then Vivian falls in love with a human. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He's fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.Vivian's divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really--human or beast? Which tastes sweeter--blood or chocolate?

My Review:
*Sigh*...You know how you can read something as a kid or a teenager and it seems like one of the most brilliant and life changing stories ever, but then when you come back later in life you realize that it's actually not as good as you thought it was, and is in fact pretty terrible?...yeah...Unfortunately, that is what Blood and Chocolate is for me. I am actually really upset by this...Blood and Chocolate was my very first introduction into the world of werewolves and the supernatural (aside from Harry Potter) and when I was a pre-teen, I thought it was one of the most magical and amazing books of all time. Sadly, now that I look at it, I realize that there are a lot of paranormal books that are way better in pretty much every aspect. There are so many details that I thought were cool, that are really corny now, or explained in a way that doesn't really make sense to adult-me...Maybe it's just that I had such high expectations, but this book was a bit of a disappointment the second time around. 

I have to say, maybe it wasn't so good because it is an older book. The release date says 1997, but to me it seems even older. Vivian talks about ratting her hair and Oh-My-Sweet-Baby-Jesus, there is actually a fanny-pack involved. I feel like it's about time for some remodeling or editing to cater to the younger generation. At least to make it a tad less dated. The classic band t-shirts still work, the cars are still fabulous, but when your mode of removing severed body parts is a polyester fanny-pack, then I reserve the right to take nothing in the book seriously from that point on. It's amazing to me how some books like The Great Gatsby or To Kill A Mockingbird are so old, but they still remain relevant. This book is a little more than a decade old, and I already can't take it seriously. Ah well, what can you do?

Well, what you could do is  to write characters that are easy to like and can stand the test of time. Unfortunately...that doesn't happen in Blood and Chocolate either. Vivian has to be the least likable character I have had the displeasure to read about in years. I can't tell what part of her I hate the most. Was it the vindictive bitch side that she shows when she trashes some random girl's room? Was it the self-loathing mopey bore that can't decide if she wants to be a human or a werewolf? No, the part of Vivian I hated the most, was the side that was so obsessed with herself and her body that she literally spends paragraphs and pages talking about herself. There was one scene where she was stretching, and she started talking about her legs. Normally I love a good description so that I can better picture the character, but honestly, I felt like I had to get down on one knee just to view the blessed and most shapely leg of Vivian the Great. Honestly, three full pages of Vivian talking about how gorgeous she is, and how amazing her body is, and how strong she feels. I'm definitely not a fan of the main characters who are complete wimps, but I would take them in a heartbeat if I never have to read about that much self-obsession again in my life. Sheesh. It was like being inside Regina George from Mean Girl's head...before she found out that everyone hated her.

Another thing that ended up bugging me was that the plot moved a little too slowly. I enjoyed reading about Vivian and Aiden's romance, but it was really tame and boring. I could see where Aiden could start to love Vivian, but it made no sense to me why Viv would love Aiden. Also, she really pissed me off when she treated Aiden and Gabriel (her mate in the pack) so terribly. She uses both of them to make the other jealous, and hates Gabriel for no other reason than he's good looking and the older women of the pack hit on him. Eventually, the plot picked up, and I started enjoying the story a little more. I thought the fight for Alpha in the woods was terrifying and beautiful at the same time, and all of the side fighting was fantastic and the outcome really shakes up the story line. Then the murders start and things go in all sorts of twisted directions that are actually pretty interesting. I enjoyed the ending of the book, though it was predictable, and I thought it ended on a much nicer note than anything in the beginning.

I actually really liked listening to the audiobook. Alyssa Bresnahan was the narrator and I feel like she did a really good job changing characters with her voice. Even changes in emotion were very clear and I could really get into the story when the voice was so smooth and interesting. Though I will say that I was extremely irritated by the shrill voices of Astrid and Esme. I know they are supposed to be annoying and villianous characters, and the definitely sounded like it, but I was so thrown off by their voices that sometimes I lost track of the story. Still, their horrible voices let me to instinctively view them as bad guys so maybe it worked out for the, occasionally Bresnahan got a little sing-songy when it came to descriptions and monologue in Vivian's head. I sometimes felt like I was at some hipster coffee house somewhere listening to a creepy guy with a soul-patch reading crappy poetry about the pain and pleasure of life. The audio-formatting was a little odd as well. There was such long breaks in between each chapter! I swear that they had to have been at least a minute long, which had me checking if my C-D player was skipping every single time! I was listening as I was falling asleep for a few nights, and each silent break just let me drop right off to dreamland. Not exactly what you want from a book full of action and awesomeness.
Though I really did enjoy Alyssa Bresnahan's reading of the story, I can only justify giving Blood and Chocolate 3 Keys. And it is a really grudging 3 Keys that is almost 2 Keys. The middle of the book really picked up in plot, and the ending was particularly good, but it still can't make up for my irritation at Vivian, and the obvious nonsense of certain plot points from the beginning. I can't imagine what I was thinking at age 14 that had me so in love with this book. Maybe Vivian's self-obsession looked like self-confidence to younger me? I'm not sure, but there were just too many things that bugged me or didn't make sense for me to rate it higher. Try this one out if you can over-look dated technology and fashion, as well as ridiculous religious beliefs and customs. Or if you love listening to pages of description about the fabulous body of a 17 year old girl...I'm not judging...whatever floats your boat my friends...


  1. I read this a few years ago and loved it. There are so many books that I loved that I just know if I read them now I would hate
    My reading tastes have really changed, especially since blogging.

  2. So true! It makes me so sad though! This was one of the books that first got me to love paranormals! Maybe I'll just avoid reading anything that I read as a

  3. I very rarely go back and read a book, a second time. What i read at 14 was perfect and my memories are good, but you have grown as a reader..and you can never really recapture your youth.

  4. I've never read this one but I know what you mean about going back years after reading a book you really loved as a teen and reading it again with adult eyes and not liking it as much as the first time. I had the same situation the second time I read Hobgoblin.

  5. What? When did fanny packs go out of style? LOL


    Awe. Bum deal that the book was not what you remembered. I actually never read it before, but I did watch the craptastic movie. Hehe. Still, I did buy the book from the bargain book bin on Amazon, but it looks like it's gonna stay at the bottom of my TBR for a bit longer.

  6. You know, I know exactly how you feel! I recently decided to re-watch all the MacGyver episodes and it ended up pretty much the same.. Disappointment and bubble-bursting! I regret re-watching it, all of a sudden it was just.. so silly and naive lol. Nothing like I remembered it! And for that reason alone I will not be re-reading Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.. I am afraid it would be exactly the same.

    Excellent review! LOVE how you review books!

  7. This was the second YA book I read that made me fall in love with the genre! Thank you for the review, it brought back pleasant memories from my first read! =)

  8. Thank you for your thoughts. It is funny how our thoughts change over time with books. I noticed this book on the banned books list last week and was curious about it. I'm glad I found your review.

  9. I never read this book but saw the movie but I also sae it on the banned list and I didn't understand why.great review

  10. I really need to read this book, I LOVE the movie. I also don't understand why it's on the banned book list =/

  11. I've never read BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE. I am intrigued.

  12. I saw this on the Banned Book lists and was curious about it. After reading your comments, though, I may skip it. I like books about werewolves but I don't have much patience with a slow pace. Thanks for sharing your comments and helping us pick books :)

  13. I have seen this at the library and almost brought it home countless times, but it hasn't happened yet. Seems like a made a good choice. I think after the first page and a half of this girl talking about how amazing she is, I would have put it down anyway. That is a shame though, because I have heard on numerous occasions that B and C is just awesome in every way.