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The Donor (The Full Novella) Kindle Edition
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The good: There are interesting vampires, or at least one vampire. The gambit of "I'm not going to explain it, there is just an acceptance that there are vampires in this universe," worked for me. I felt Rae made good use of an iceberg'ing notion, hey, vampires exists kinda the way you might think, before twisting some of the more commonly held assumptions of our sexy, predatory, undead Nosferatus.
The really good: This is a story of a pain that emanates outward from the center of the novella, into reaches that are hinted at, but not defined. That damned, bleeding epicenter of hurt is a thing of serious beauty. The subsequent hurts reach into truths about family, connection, and sacrifice. Sounds pretty, right? It is, but also so very sad in a classically Romantic with a capital R way.
Rae's prose is lush and clear. Her pain is crisp and sweet. I felt that I'd spent my money well, and wanted to read more by this author.
And then the headaches started. And the nosebleeds. At first, it was seemingly just a migraine with maybe a nosebleed because of the pressure. But then the headaches started lasting multiple days and the bleeding happened more frequently. After a round of tests and more medical bills - hers this time - Casey hears two little words that will forever change her life.
In her quest to make her life mean something, Casey decides to do what she can to quickly earn money to pay off her medical bills and continue to help with her father's, not knowing how long she will be there to help. Reaching out to a wealthy man through a special "invitation only" site, Casey flies from California to Boston. This man is wiling to pay for something that he can only get from a living person... and there are worse ways to make money.
The Donor is a starkly realistic view of cancer and the mindset and decline of a young woman's suffering. Intertwined with Casey's story is the story of the man she flew to meet, and his reasons behind requesting Casey as a Donor. Glimpses into Jonah's life and past give us a reason to hope for the characters and to both laugh and cry - but mostly cry - at the circumstances they find themselves in.
This is not your typical "Happily Ever After" story, but the ending is probably the best that it could have. I wavered on my star rating, because while this story touches me deeply, there is something about the ending that just leaves me unsatisfied. It feels unfinished, as if the characters are just holding their breath until we come back to hear the rest of their tale. Even though I know what the ending should be - which isn't really what I want it to be - I would still want more closure for this to be a perfect story.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Donor was originally released as a serial, but this review is for the full novella, republished in one completed book.
If you love Vampires and looking for a new author, or a hidden gem of a book then check out "The Donor" by Nikki Rae as you will not be disappointed.