The Lady Jewel Diviner by Rosalie Oaks

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Okay, so I instantly fell in love with the premise of a tiny, polite, “spinstress” vampire. The first scene of the book has a vampire about the size of Tinkerbell flying away from an owl that’s trying to eat her and she flies into the window/bedroom of the MC, Elinor.

The vampiri, Zooth, introduces herself as something of a spinstress, and sort of an outcast in that way. Elinor has also found herself in a bit of trouble and has been ousted from the socialite society, it sounds like preemptively to stop her situation from getting worse. Part of the reason is she’s trying to hide her abilities as a jewel diviner — hence the title The Lady Jewel Diviner. So these two are kind of vibing on each other when they meet up. I really enjoyed the twist on the blood sucking vampire trope that was done here. So, Zooth has been asleep for like 80 years and she’s low on energy and needs some blood. However, this is not like most vampire books in that Zooth asks permission first and also explains the rules. When you share blood with a vampiri it creates a bond, and the more you do it the stronger the bond gets. Zooth makes it clear to Elinor that if she does want to share her blood she will be creating a weak bond that could be strengthened over time if repeated, and makes sure she actually wants to go through with it. I read a ton of books and any time I see a twist on a old concept that I’ve never seen done I get excited.

Anyway, somewhere along the way Elinor gets propositioned by this shady AF dude to go find some lost/stolen diamonds and he says he will make it worth her time, etc. etc. And it’s here where I started to lose a little interest because the plotting wasn’t making sense to me. If jewel diviners are very, very rare, and not thought of by society as a real thing, walking up to someone and being like, “hey, are you a jewel diviner and can you help me find these diamonds”, just seemed like an off the wall proposition. This is not a world where you’re going to find a jewel diviner’s guild, or one working for the king/upper class, it’s not supposed to exist as far as I understand and she’s been trying to keep her abilities hidden. So it’s a really bold statement to just walk up to someone and insist you know they’re a jewel diviner because of that one time they found an amethyst. I once actually found a diamond ring once in a mall parking lot. It was shiny and so I saw it, lol. If this had been a world where jewel diviners were recognized by society, even on the fringe, I could have moved on with the plot but I was having problems with suspension of disbelief.

Although I really liked the ideas here, the writing style, and in particular the dialogue, didn’t always work for me. There’s also a lot of info dumping early on in the story. I tend to be more tolerant of info dumps if they come later on in the story, although it’s never my preferred method of world building. Zooth the vampire has been asleep for 80 years and asks Elinor for a synopsis of the last 80 years that she’s been asleep. So, although I really loved the content, I didn’t love it’s delivery.

Unfortunately, I made it to about 25-30% before knowing it was not going to get a top three spot for my semifinalists as I already have my top three situated by the time I read this. However, if this sounds interesting or fun to you I encourage you to pick it up! It’s cute, it’s different, and could appeal to those wanting a cozy vampiri story.