The Dancing Crow by Des M. Astor
The Dancing Crow is an urban fantasy tale about Ares, a vampire prince who goes into hiding from his own kingdom. He creates a gang of followers and together they try to protect innocent humans and stop them being taken as blood slaves by other ruthless vampire royalty.
This is an action packed story with lots of blood and gore from multiple battles. The author has created a world filled with mythical creatures and most of the action takes place in and around an unnamed city. There is a large cast of characters, many living in their own gangs and at times, it was hard to remember who they all were. Although the main plot of this story ends in this book, there is also an opening left for the continuation of the series.
I liked the mythical creatures and Ares was likeable for his principles and his sense of humour. However, I thought that his character needed deeper development to back up the purpose of the whole story arc. There was also room to make some of the other main characters more rounded and unique; at the moment too many of them act and sound too similar which makes them harder to picture.
Overall, I liked the story idea, but it still needs a bit more attention to the plot and the characters, then a good polish and tidy up; there were too many editing and proofreading errors for me to ignore.
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Life as we know it is coming to a close. Vampires emerge from the shadows to rip dominant species on Earth from our grasp. There is no hope.
Or… is there? An unusual hero rises up from the depths of the city streets to fight for mankind. He’s a powerful vampire gang leader named Ares, and while he has plenty of flaws, he tries to stay true to his morals as much as possible. Blood runs like a river down the streets as the vampire war erupts all over the world, and magic starts to kindle from the slumber humanity locked it in.
Can Ares and his gang manage to pull through for at least his city and the innocent humans that reside there? Or will they fall like the rest? Time is ticking as the vampire tyrant known as Ash Elapid claws his way up through the ranks and tries to take the city, and nearby kingdom, for his own. Eventually this leads Ares to unusual allies, like a half-dragon and tasmanian devil shapeshifter.
Of course, saving his city isn’t the only thing on his mind. A vampire hunter known as Cecelia, indoctrinated heavily due to a religious cult, is trying to off him. While she’s a miserable failure, could she prove to eventually rise up and slay him?
Many humans are blind as to how vampires truly work, on top of all this. Not only are they very much alive, a sister humanoid species to them, but methods such as sunlight (which vampires are sensitive to since they’re nocturnal), holy water, crosses, and the light do not work to kill them. Some got it right with silver, at least, which is a deadly poison to vampires. None of that matters now–humans were taken off guard and will likely never recover.
Small areas of harmony can be established if people like Ares have any say in it.
This is the “Crow Version” of Book 1 in the “Kingdoms of Blood” series. The other version, Red Viper, features Sam Viper, a half dragon, and Darcia Deville, a tasmanian devil shapeshifter.