Warning: this review contains spoilers for Blood Ties.
As in Blood Ties, Blood Ransom sees Theo and Rachel sharing the narrative, our point of view shifting back and forth between them. It's an arrangement that works incredibly well, heightening the tension as one character's chapter alerts us to the fact that the other is about to walk straight into danger... and then we switch perspectives to accompany them as they do just that, blissfully unaware of what we can already see coming. But where Blood Ties was perhaps more Theo's story, Blood Ransom shifts the focus slightly more onto Rachel. The girl we saw transformed in Blood Ties is now strong-willed and determined, and definitely Theo's equal in the action-hero stakes. This time, she's the one Elijah has his wicked sights set on, and when we finally find out what he's up to it's genuinely shocking stuff. Think fight scenes, nail-biting escape attempts, and sinister revelations.
Amidst all the breathtaking action, we also revisit the themes of identity and nature vs. nuture that made the previous book such fascinating reading. New character Miles not only provides us with a different perspective on the life of a cloned human being, but also poses a threat to the relationship between Rachel and Theo. Again, über-baddie Elijah pushes the boundary between genius and insanity, proving that there's no lengths he won't go to to achieve his aims - and giving us food for thought about where science ends and playing god begins. There's a little more romance this time round, but those who don't enjoy that kind of thing can be reassured that Blood Ransom never strays too far into mushiness. It's first and foremost a thriller, and the thrills are most definitely there.
Blood Ransom is a welcome return to the world we first visited in Blood Ties. It's perfectly paced, thought provoking and sprinkled with jaw-dropping moments that'll have readers on the edge of their seats. Fans of the first book will love it.
Out: October 1st 2010, UK
Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for providing a review copy of this book.