Review: Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney

February 24, 2013 Review 2


Cover by: N/A

Blood Oranges

by Kathleen Tierney

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes | Book Trailer: No
Reviewed by: Julia | Source: Publisher

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Roc Trade (February 5, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0451465016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451465016


Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & put this author on your watch list.

Sexual Content

References to sex, abuse, and prostitution.


My name’s Quinn.

If you buy into my reputation, I’m the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I’m an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or…whatever.

Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn’t commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was “saved” by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too.

So now…now, well, you wouldn’t think it could get worse, but you’d be dead wrong.


With the haunting, opium dream of THE DROWNING GIRL fresh in my mind, I was very curious to see how Caitlin Kiernan’s intricate, puzzle box storytelling would translate to urban fantasy. Though writing under a fresh nom de plume, Tierney brings that characteristic darkness; writing a charismatic, unreliable heroine, as defined by her addictions as by her supernatural nature.  It’s not just Quinn that is broken and flawed, but her complicated world of betrayal, lies, and every-man-for-himself politics.

Perhaps most impressive out of this narrative is the fact that while I doubted Quinn’s narrative at times, I never lost interest in her.  A liar, a junkie, two different kinds of monster… and yet worryingly fragile as well.  Quinn has no special insight to protect her from trusting the wrong person, and while the action in BLOOD ORANGES moves quickly and clearly, it’s by no means easy to decide where the line between “good guy” and “bad guy” lies.  The ambiguity of Quinn’s world made this story all the more gritty and realistic.  Though dark, the supernatural violence of Quinn’s life is almost overshadowed by the grim realities of her human past.  And I never felt like the abuse and neglect and prostitution in Quinn’s narrative was simply for shock value, or that it benumbed me to the present tense story.

Tierney has written a heroine that I never stopped caring for.  Sometimes I doubted her, most of the time I worried about her, but I never felt disconnected or lost hope.  Not your typical urban fantasy, BLOOD ORANGES is a mesmerizing exploration of magic without certainty, the day to day details about surviving as a vampire or werewolf.  And Quinn herself is as transparent and unknowable as any real person, I was mesmerized by the process of decoding what she says and what she means and what she herself doesn’t even realize.  A must read for anyone drawn to the darker edges of urban fantasy, this book is a book I can’t stop thinking about.



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2 Responses to “Review: Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney”

  1. Chris

    Ah! I’d totally forgotten this book came out earlier this month. Glad to see you liked it Julia. I was a little worried it would be completely different writing style since the author was using a pseudonym.