Blood and Roses by MB Panichi is the third book that she has written in the futuristic world of the twenty-fifth century (2453). This technically makes this a Science Fiction story, though the author did such a fine job with the tale, that the time and setting felt almost natural to me. Yes, there is a lot of space travel and cities on the moon, but this could be where we might end up in four hundred plus years if we don’t destroy ourselves before then. Of course, this world has already been fleshed out since Ms. Panichi used this same world in two of her other books. The main characters from those actually play a prominent secondary role in this tale, but don’t worry. You don’t have to read those books first to enjoy this one, this is a great standalone novel.
This story is about Ari Walker, the lead guitarist in the slam-thrash band Shattered Crystal Enigma (SCE). Ari has a problem though. She has a stalker named Celestian. At first Celestian just sent rather creepy notes and emails to Ari. But just before they head out to record their next album and start their first interstellar tour, a vase of black roses appears on the kitchen table in the band’s home dripping with what looks like blood from the petals to the table. An almost threatening note rests in the fake blood. Ari hopes that she and the band will lose the stalker when they begin touring, but they hire security to help protect them just in case. Once they begin their tour, they lose their drummer who quits after another stalker incident on Moon Base. They hire Rhynn Knight, a talented musician they meet on Moon Base to be their new drummer. This is a fantasy job for Rhynn, who has dreamed of being part of this band. She has also dreamed of Ari since she first heard and saw her play. The two become attracted to each other which is great until Celestian notices. Then the real terror begins for both of them.
I truly enjoyed this novel. I’m not generally a Science Fiction reader, but as I said above, this feels like what our world could be in four hundred (or so) years. I was more focused on the mystery of the stalker and what would happen to the characters. This is a wonderful and well written mystery/adventure tale with intrigue, several heart-stopping moments, and of course a lovely romance entwined throughout the story. I am very glad I read Blood and Roses, and now I want to go and read the other two books from this world.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Bella Books for an honest review.