A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion by Jordan Castillo Price
Series: Channeling Morpheus, Books #6-10
Source: Review by Request
Copy Provided by the Author
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Staking a vampire isn’t so easy now that Michael’s got a vampire of his very own. Although killing them is no longer an option, he’s as determined as ever to stop the spread of vampirism.
Wild Bill is a lover, not a fighter–so he’s tickled when Michael’s new agenda, to dispense condoms and sterile phlebotomy gear among vampires, replaces the old “heads will roll” approach.
It takes courage to track down vamps in their own territory and deliver a lecture on safe sex, and more importantly, safe bloodletting. Michael’s never been short on audacity…but he’s finding that he and Wild Bill aren’t the only ones with agendas.
Dark, Twisted, Blood-soaked sexiness in a beautifully detailed and gritty Urban Fantasy world.
Maybe you think that everything’s random, and we’re just here on this earth to eat and sleep and shit and fuck, but I don’t. Call it arrogant, call it naïve, I don’t care. I have a purpose – I stop vampires from hurting people. If you don’t want to go with me, seriously, I’m fine with it. I’ll drop you off and…”
“Cut the crap. You’re not in it alone.” He waived a hand like he was clearing smoke from the cab. “When it’s all said and done, I’m more on-board with the scientific research agenda than I was with the whole guillotine fiasco.”
This series is fucking phenomenal. I loved every second I was able to spend getting to know these characters and watching their story unfold.
Channeling Morpheus is completely addictive – 100% un-put-down-able. Between the first box set (Channeling Morpheus for Scary Mary) and this set (A Bitter Taste of Sweet Oblivion) you get the entire series beginning to end. All ten books – No cliffhangers, no waiting for the next installment – just one fabulous five-star series at your finger tips.
It should be noted that in addition to the ten primary books, Jordan Castillo Price occasionally slips her fans bonus short stories to sink your teeth into.
See what I did there? Sink your TEETH?
Heaven Sent (Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion #3.1) FREE
Flex (a 425-word Channeling Morpheus Flash Fic) FREE
The Michael Interview (Interviewed by Carolyn from the PsyCop Series) FREE
Jackpot (Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion #10.1) Amazon
Canine (Channeling Morpheus/Sweet Oblivion #10.2) Amazon
Anywho, I know I will be indulging in those shorts, and whatever JCP has to offer. I’ve read this series as the whole PsyCop series, and I am fucking WOWed by this author. Her dark sense of humor is right on par with mine. I love her characters, adore her dialogue, enjoy her realistically detailed urban fantasy worlds…
Yes, after enjoying two beautifully written series, I think it’s safe to say I’m a big fan.
Be sure to read the first six books in the series before starting this box set or you’ll be hopelessly lost. Wild Bill and Michael have a history together which should be savored. It’ll make the ending that much sweeter…
Explosives, Threesomes, and Confessions…
Mikey and me, we were living in our own little vacuum of blood and sex and vampire love.
Well, book six in the Channeling Morpheus series certainly started out with a bang – that is to say, a fourth of July fireworks display and a bit of public sex…
Bill holds the POV of this story and he’s become a little more introspective as the series continues. He really is a fabulous character, and it’s always a pleasure to get into his brain.
Michael is settling into his life of an Almost-Vampire. He and Wild Bill work as a team to wrangle goth kids willing to donate a pint for Bill’s dinner. It seems as though Michael has traded his satchel of stakes and roofies for a phlebotomy kit.
Michael and Wild Bill have gotten quite comfortable – traveling across the county in their van, fucking like bunnies, and hiding from daylight… So Michael suggests a threesome, and given that he and Wild Bill are loath to spread the Vamp virus around, good ol’ Mikey suggests they pull another set of fangs into their bed. The target: Damien. Yes, that Damien, the vampire that Wild Bill went all territorial hiss-fest on in book two, Vertigo.
As threesomes go – and I happen to be a connoisseur of these things – it was pretty fucking awkward.
Michael was over-eager,
Bill was over-protective,
and poor Damien was fairly certain he wouldn’t survive the hookup.
I was worried for Damien’s safety as well. It wasn’t a jealousy thing, more like a Damien-can’t-keep-his-mouth-shut- thing. The Vamp had a million questions about Michael’s acquired immunity to the virus and he wouldn’t freakin’ shut up about it. Poor Mikey isn’t exactly talkative about his condition…
Anyway, incredibly awkward gothy hookups aside, Wild Bill has some pretty incredible moments during this story, not the least of which occurs when he waders into a confessional and ponders the threesome that began this whole adventure… Michael, Wild Bill, and Ambrose Grey in the first Channeling Morpheus book. That hookup was spark that ignited the relationship between Bill and Michael, and it was the last night on Earth for Ambrose Grey…
Yes, there’s been a lot of bloodshed in this series, but I have a feeling that our favorite couple are turning a new leaf. Looks like there might be a little “If we can’t beat ’em, educate ’em” on the horizon.
Have I mentioned how much I’m loving this gloriously macabre series?
There was a stranger forty feet away, and a wild vampire in the woods outside. And a goat.
This episode of Channeling Morpheus took me back to everything I love about this series..
Filthy Hotel Rooms,
& this gorgeous Romance between Wild Bill and Michael…
So… we had a meet up with the good Doctor Jim in this episode, and maaaaaaan that guy is creeeeeeepy. *shudders*
The professor working to find a cure for Vampirism calls Michael in for a Vampire hunt in a stretch of farmland not far from the University. Seems like a rogue Vampire picking off the local livestock and leaving behind gruesome scenes.
I realized two things while reading this book:
1. Every time Michael and Wild Bill come across another Vampire this feeling of dread washes over me. I’m thinking ‘Don’t you trust that asshole!’, I know that’s probably leftover heebie jeebies from the horror show co-op in Rebirth, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s Bill and Mikey against the world sometimes.
2. It felt really good to get back to hunting vampires – all the action, suspense, blood, and gore that I’ve come to crave from Channeling Morpheus – it was all there and more.
Plus, I enjoy all the talk about good vs. bad Vampires and the guilt that comes from killing these creatures. Michael pretty much retired from Vamp hunting. He had a series of near misses, fell in love with a sardonic blood sucker, and wound up contracting the vampire virus and becoming an almost-vampire.
The combination of all that gory goodness with the gothly adorable romance and the blazing hot sex? Yes, I’m so in love with this series right now.
Mother of God, the SEX!
The cut was fast. His mouth covered my throat, and he drank. My heart stuttered, then started pumping again in time with Bill’s swallows. We were an ocean, Bill and me, and my blood was the tide. And wave after salty wave struck against the shore as I came, if you could call it that, this thing that was probably no more than an orgasm, but felt like a tsunami.
Jordan Castillo Price never fails to deliver delicious sex scenes, but she really outdid herself in this episode.
A Near-Miss with Lake Michigan…
Then I saw the water slide.
So that’s how easy it was to net a vamp. It had never occurred to me that there was anyone else out there like Michael – and it made sense, if this guy was anything like my one and only, he knew damn well he was vamptastic.
The boys have landed in Milwaukee – it’s the longest they’ve ever settled in one place. They’ve got a by-the-week hotel room and Michael even scored a job at an all night veterinary clinic.
It’s been a few weeks since Wild Bill fled Dr. Creepy’s lair with a drugged up and vamped out Michael in the back of the van.
Michael officially retired from Vamp killing,
He’s pretty much given up on the professor’s cure,
That leaves one avenue left to protect humans from bad vampires, the “planned parenthood” approach…
The reaction to their safe-vamp-sex lecture generally produces one of two reactions:
1) the subject indulges their explanation but only halfheartedly believes them
2) the subject assumes that the Gothed up couple is into some kind of blood-fetish
There’s a general feeling of hopelessness and uselessness as Michael drifts through his days.
Michael’s melancholy is affecting Wild Bill in ways he’d rather not voice…
On the one hand, vampires are hugely attracted to dark and pensive (vamp heroin) donors, and Michael’s somber moods simultaneously make Bill’s teeth itch and his dick hard.
On the other hand, Bill hates seeing Michael so down – Sure, Wild Bill’s first step toward pulling Michael out of a funk will always be sex, but in this episode of the Channeling Morpheus series, we get a glimpse at the deep connection that has formed between the guys.
Turns out, Michael’s not the only Vamp Heroin Hunter in town…
In the aftermath of that run-in, the reader is treated to some glorious introspection from Wild Bill.
“That was some quick thinking,” I said. And what I really meant was, I’m sorry, I’m so fucking sorry.
Personally, I think the reader knows Wild Bill better than he knows himself through the books which feature his POV. I think Bill dismisses his own epiphanies, and he certainly doesn’t share his deeper moments with Michael… I always feel like I walk away from Wild Bill’s books knowing way more about his fascinating, complicated character..
By the end of this book Bill and Michael have a very real conversation about what can be done, what should be done, and exactly why they’re trying to prevent the spread of the Vampire virus.
The last bit of this book gave me a case of the warm fuzzies, and if you told me that Wild Bill could pull and “Awwwww” moment from me when I started this series, I probably wouldn’t believe you.
This episode flew by in a flash of sex, tattoos, bullies, art, & blood.
Ink, dab, ink, dabe… the steady rhythm was hypnotic. The antiseptic smells of surgical soap and the rubbing alcohol almost masked the scent of fresh blood, but that familiar copper tang was still there, beneath it all.
I closed my eyes and tried to will myself not to get aroused. It wasn’t easy. Blood and pain and vampire were in the air, my triumvirate of kinks.
Wild Bill was staring when I opened my eyes. He mouthed the words “I love you,” and I worried I might bust out of my jeans, because that was the cherry on top.
Michael’s vampish tendencies come to a head while working at the vet clinic. An ill-timed, bloody practical joke from a douchebag co-worker has him turning in his scrubs and cleaning out the Ketamine cabinet…
Michael finds himself dwelling on the idea of bullies and predators, and how the same qualities that attract bullies seem to attract vampires. He’s deep in a funk by the time the sone goes down and Wild Bill wakes up…
Bill opens up about his former artistic aspirations in this episode of Channeling Morpheus. In fact, Bill does an awful lot of opening up. He takes Michael on a tour of his old Milwaukee stomping grounds in search of the last piece Wild Bill ever painted. A mural in the basement of a now burned out building, but the boys find more than art within the dark dank walls of that abandoned building.
Suddenly Michael is gaining a whole new appreciation for the predator/prey relationship…
Cause Michael is Vamp Heroin, and he and Wild Bill walk into a swarm of junkies…
All good things must come to an end…
It wasn’t my weakness, laziness or apathy that had let him down. It was my worn-out, half-assed moral compass.
And so, we come to the thrilling conclusion of this fabulous series. Emphasis on the word thrilling. This book packed a heart-pounding punch that kept me wide-eyed while reading. I felt all the suspense and angst pouring out of the pages.
What an amazing fucking ride.
Wild Bill and Michael made it out of the Milwaukee Vampire nest seemingly unscathed, but it turns out the Vampire Silk left a deadly time-bomb lurking under Michael’s skin. It’s a race against time to save Michael’s life – one which causes Wild Bill to question his pacifist leanings and even call in old enemies to help save the man he loves.
I never expected Wild Bill and Michael to ride off into the moonrise on some sort or love-sick honeymoon in search of white picket fences… That’s just not how these two roll. They had to go through hell before they earned their version of an HEA, but I’m so thrilled that these guys made it.
Yes, this is the end of the series, and it was beautifully executed. This is an ending worth of the books which preceded it. Well done.
Part 2: Snare
The odor of rot was unmistakable. Decay has its own earthy-sweet foulness that can’t possibly be anything else. The alkaline underpinning of chlorine masked the aroma slightly, but it was still there, a force of nature, inevitable, inexorable.
I knelt by the side of the pool and scooped out a handful of slimy brown leaves. When was the last time it had been cleaned? If I had a skimmer, I’d do it myself. The kids at the shallow end didn’t seem to care that they were covered in seed pods and had dead bugs stuck in their hair. I should probably take a lesson from them and stop being so picky. After all, no one ever accused me of being a neat freak.
But the smell of rot—that was different from the other smells I lived with, cigarettes, and bodies, and sex. I didn’t know if I’d ever slough it off.
There was the possibility that I’d get the motel clerk to come out and give the pool a once-over. All I had to do was ask. And if he said no, I could ask again—while I reached out with my mind and tried to imagine him having a big change of heart and being bowled over by the desire to make me happy. It didn’t always work when I tried to do that. But sometimes, it did.
It would feel amazing to knife through that water. The pool was old, and therefore deeper than they usually make them nowadays, with all the litigation-happy predators looking for an excuse to file suit. It had a diving end. I’ve always loved diving, the suddenness of it, the drama. The plunge.
“Do you even own a pair of swimming trunks?”
My sister’s shadow stretched over me. She hadn’t startled me or anything. On some level, I’d felt her coming—I just hadn’t shifted my attention to her quite yet. I looked up at her. She’d worn makeup. A hint of plum eyeliner, a touch of mascara. I smelled hairspray.
And leather. She had my jacket clutched against her chest like a shield.
“I could wear cut-offs.”
“I guess. So, where’s your boyfriend?”
“Sleeping.” If you call it that. Wild Bill does, and he even claims he can wake up any time he wants. I have my doubts.
“Sleeping? It’s almost sundown.”
“He stays up late.”
She held her hand up, palm-out. “Don’t say any more. I don’t want to start picturing it.”
I rolled my eyes and stood. She would’ve said that whether or not I was gay. It was her obligation as a sibling to act like my sex life was gross.
We walked to a poolside table. The cheap plastic chairs had the beginnings of mildew creeping up the legs. More rot. I held out Julie’s chair for her, and she shot me a strange look before she sat.
“What’s with that?” she said.
“Never mind. It’s just weird, is all. We were still kids when you left. Now we’re grown up.”
We were? I thought she was exactly the same. She laid my jacket across the table. I wondered how thoroughly she’d searched it. Enough to find Jim Harman’s card and email him. But enough to find the stashes of Rohypnol and Ketamine I’d sewn into the seams? I could hardly check, with her sitting right there. And even if she had found it, I don’t think she would’ve guessed what I was using it for. She’d probably just think I was partying.
“When’re you coming back?” she said. “For a visit, I mean. Thanksgiving?”
“I hadn’t really thought that far ahead.”
She shoved herself into the back of the chair hard enough to tip it off its front legs, and she rocked it, and sighed. “Must be nice. I feel like my life is planned down to the last second.”
“Take a semester off.”
“I’m serious. Pick a place you’ve always wanted to see, and just go. Rent a room and get a job that’s enough to pay your rent, any old job, doesn’t matter. But being somewhere new—where you don’t know anyone, and everything’s different—that’s when big ideas hit you.”
“What big ideas?”
I shrugged. The nature of life and death and vampires, mostly. But I guessed that most people’s big ideas were probably different from mine. “Four months. It’s not really that long, when you think about it.”
Her eyes went wistful. She had Mom’s brown eyes, and the same brown hair as all of us. Hers was sun-touched around her face. “I know you’re right. Four months. It’s nothing. But Mom would skin me alive.”
“You’re nineteen, you can—”
“Look, you don’t get it. You never cared what she thought about you.”
“That’s news to me.”
“Oh, come on. You know what I mean. Girls are closer to their mothers. We have more to prove.”
That actually was news to me. “Why?”
Julie made a huffy noise and shook her head. I suspected she really did need some big ideas of her own, but other than suggesting she give herself the time to allow those ideas to find her, there wasn’t much more I could do.
Seeing her made me feel heavy-hearted in a way I wasn’t sure I understood. If I told her that vampires existed, that I even had proof now, she’d still think I was crazy. The idiot doctor dad had sent me to had convinced the whole family I was just too creative for my own good. And sensitive. And that I needed to spin this fantasy world to compensate for Scary Mary’s death.
Creative. Sensitive. Shit, maybe he’d known I was gay even though I never breathed a single word about it. Doctors creep me out.
About the Author:
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to rural small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” and boys in eyeliner.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out her new series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.