Genuinely upset over how disappointing this was.
Where The Glorious Heresies had so much life, The Blood Miracles had almost none. And this novel’s lifelessness is its most fundamental problem. Ryan goes through so much shit throughout the course of its narrative, and yet we never really see him deal with any of it. There are the occasional glimmers of depth and insight, but other than that, it felt like he was just going from one fuck-up to another, with no time for him–or us–to properly process the psychological or emotional repercussions of those fuck-ups. Like, I can maybe buy that that’s part of Ryan’s character, that the point is precisely that he’s unable to grapple with his decisions and their consequences, but I don’t think it makes for very compelling reading to have so little insight into a character who is making the most infuriatingly frustrating and idiotic decisions possible. And of course, Ryan made bad decisions in The Glorious Heresies, but that novel worked because we got to see his pain, his anguish, his awareness that he was constantly letting himself and the people he cared about down. The Ryan of The Blood Miracles is not subdued so much as he is hollow. He fucks up and you’re like okay, I guess that’s another shitty decision out of the 29037129371 shitty decisions he’s already made… It was truly the most frustrating reading experience I’ve had all year.
I don’t know what happened between The Glorious Heresies and The Blood Miracles, but something got lost along the way. The wit, the spirit, the energy of the first book is nowhere to be found here, and the result is a novel that feels like such a drag–depressing in a way that invites irritation rather than understanding from the reader (at least this reader). I was so ready to love this book; I would’ve forgiven it so much, and it still let me down.
(Also if I have to hear about Natalie in the next book I am going to SCREAM. OH MY GODDDDD I have never cared less about a character.)