Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cave Canem by Susan Sizemore- Review

Book: First Blood
Story: Cave Canem
Author: Susan Sizemore
Series: Laws of Blood
Category: Paranormal Romance
Grade: C-

The first short story in the First Blood Anthology is Cave Canem. This is my first time reading Susan Siezemore and the experience was a less than fufilling one.

Two of Dan Conover's hellhound pups have been stolen and he wants them back. The Hunter sets out on a mission to find the pups and runs into a Were-witch by the name of Tess Sirella. Tess is apart of a werewolf group that is assigned to keeping a watch on the hellhounds, and is searching for the missing pups as well. Dan suspects that Tess might have something to do with the pups disappearance since werewolves eat hellhounds. Tess eventually convinces Dan that she's trying to find the pups just like he is. She has a lot of insight to the hellhound species and informs Dan that his pups were probably stolen by a Demon bent on turning the pups pure evil for their own gain.

Meanwhile, the Vampire Valentine has been brought into the case of the missing pups when she finds out that an old flame, Yevengy, has kidnapped one of the hellhounds to give as a pet to a boy he's raising. He needs Valentine's help training the wild pup. Valentine warns Yevengy that Dan will come looking for the pup but nevertheless she will try to help him train the hellhound so that a child can handle the animal.

Moving forward, Dan and Tess believe that Valentine is the one responsible for the pup-napping since the murders of mortals by a wild animals they believe to be the hellhound's are happening in Nevada, Valentine's current location. Little do they know that a Demon has one of the missing pups and is training it to be a cold blooded killer.

Can I just say confusing? As a newcomer to Sizemore's Laws of the Blood series, Cave Canem is not easy to understand. First off there are multiple flash backs that are not marked. One chapter will be set in the past and the the next is the present with no warning that time has jumped hundreds of years forward. There is also a lot of series specific mythology going on that is not clearly explained. To make matters more confusing, layers of mythology are continually added throughout the 65 page story. The amount of information dropped was too much for so small a space.

Now on to the characters. While their motives are somewhat clear, some of their actions are not. At one point Dan is untrusting of Tess so he uses magic to strip her of all her clothing, bind her body motionless, then proceeds to use his hands to check every inch of her. Every inch. Just to be sure she isn't hiding any spells on her body or up her whoo-ha. This grossed me out but for whatever reason the virgin Tess really enjoyed this strip search. And within the next scene she is no longer holding on to her vow chastity for the sake of her magic, she throws it to the wind for a night with Dan. Valentine and Yevengy are no easier to understand. They had a past relationship that ended when Valentine refused to turn Yevengy into a vampire. He found someone else to turn him and Valentine feels betrayed because of it. That's about as deep as their conflict goes.

Still, Dan and Tess and Valentine and Yevengy find love in each other. I understand that anthology stories are limited in space, so I'm not expecting an awesome love story that will blow me away, but I was looking for something more than superficial, instant magical attraction.

Cave Canem started out with potential. The beginning of the story was interesting, but between the complicated mythology, sudden time jumping, and characters that had little appeal, it fell flat. I'm not tempted to go out and buy any other books from Sizemore's Laws of Blood series. Grade C-.

Next up for review: Russian Roulette by Erin McCarthy.


  1. I concur. Not having read anything else by the author, I was confused for the first few chapters. There were way to many characters for a novella!

  2. I agree, way too many characters for so short a story.