The Purity of crimson - By Beverley Lee
The Purity of Crimson has some strong things going for it, even before you open the book and start reading.
The benefit of being the third book in a trilogy is having the lore and previous history created in the first two books from which to call upon. A lot of the “leg work” of place, character, and world-building are already in place in TPOC, leaving the author room and time to expand on character and plot, and this third book in the Gabriel Davenport trilogy is no exception to that “enriched” third book phenomenon – Beverley, quite rightly, narrows her focus almost exclusively on character and lets the world she has built slowly destroy them, piece by emotional piece.
That close of the trap, the feeling of finality to the headlong flight of the characters is apparent from the get-go. Beverley maintains the strict short chapter pace that is a trademark of the series and pushes the story with emotion – Almost every chapter ends on an emotional conflict – all showcased by Beverley’s sweepingly poetic descriptive prose. I can say, in my limited (5 books and 2 shorts in anthologies) experience of Beverley’s writing, that Beverley’s success lies in leaving no emotion unturned – the conflicting thoughts and pressures and consequences, regrets and hopes, fears and despairs – all of them are given air time. That’s going to either immerse the reader in the characters until the reader is as committed to the ongoing story as the characters themselves or alienate the reader with internal thought and relentless emotional breakdown.
How do I sit on that?
Well, honestly, this was on the edge of being too much emotion for me – I like action, description of violence, psychological horror, body horror. I like being shocked, I like being surprised. I love emotional horror too, make no mistake. It’s a question of the amount.
I can say that the emotional content of the book was almost overwhelming – yet the physical action that the book hinted at was rarely shown. The trio of MCs in the book are once again caught, with almost no effort. Their threat is negated – Beverley shows them working as a team to bring several humans down to feed upon, yet against other vampires, very little fight is given air time – a case of being dangerous to humans yet underdogs amongst their own kind. Clove is set up to be the returning hero, yet if we analyze his input in the first two books, he also restrained himself from showing threat and here has a singular fight, but again leaves his children to fend for themselves. A case of sink or swim. The climax is on several planes, bound to a tree and a vampire internal telepathic network, and rushes to a close in the last 10%. The hundreds of vampires present, flee.
TPOC has all of the elements of Vampirism that are going to appeal to lovers of the genre, and the characters are so familiar now that even non-vampire fans like myself can find the storyline engaging. Beverley injects adrenaline into every chapter ending, the pressure is unforgiving, the stakes seem high at every turn of the page. Look – it’s a thrill, it’s the climax fans (including myself) of the series have been hoping for, the relationships are all explored, baddies are dispatched, evil vampires are mean, meaner, meanest, even-more-than-meanest-er. You are going to hate returning characters that you are meant to hate and cheer the unlikely trio on to the finale. You will be left wondering why Clove decides to do so little, but have a grudging respect for him because he feels like George Peppard smoking a cigar and pronouncing "I love it when a plan comes together" type of thing.
And after all that, you are certainly, definitely, going to need a nap to calm down.
This gets 4 ⭐ ‘s from me, great work, Beverley.
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