This Blood That Binds Us – the Vampire Book Twilight Wishes it Was



S. L. Cokeley’s cover departs from the dark and brooding tones of earlier YA novels.

The Twilight epidemic of the early 2010s left its mark on society – the obsession with sweeping paranormal romance, the “Team Edward/Jacob” fighting, the Shakespeare memes, and, of course, everyone knew at least one obsessed girl in middle school (or you were the obsessed tween). It can be declared with the utmost confidence that those 2010 vampire romances sucked. Regardless, most can agree that the paranormal romance is a fun distraction when done right. Unfortunately, few actually manage this feat. The majority fall into the same toxic cesspit of clichés and utilize hypermasculinity in place of character development.

Enter S. L. Cokeley, aspiring author and booktoker, and the first decent vampire romance in years. Cokeley’s debut novel is no fresh take on the vampire, nor is it a groundbreaking romance. The true draw of the story is its (mostly) low-stakes plot and the realistic depiction of a relationship. Spoiler alert: the main characters aren’t dating after knowing one another for less than a week (and the vampire lead isn’t spying on the human through her bedroom window every night). 

Rather than focus on the romance, Cokeley chose to turn the focus to family first. Main characters Kimberly and Aaron serve as foils to one another in this sense, with the former having bounced through the foster care system for years, and the latter being one of four brothers. While mere circumstance is responsible for throwing the two together, the chemistry between the two characters is undeniable – masterfully developed throughout the entire novel, Cokeley focuses on creating a friendship before even considering a romance, a rarity in popular literature.

My verdict? The bar was so low it was a tripping hazard, and Ms. Cokeley brought a stepstool to avoid it. If you enjoy a good book (or would like an alternative to doom-scrolling this summer), check out S. L. Cokeley’s This Blood That Binds Us from your local library or buy it at your local bookstore.