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Genre: Adult | Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Romance
Published: March 26, 2013
Pages: 360 pages, ebook
Source: Libby, my library app
Average Rating: 4.29 stars
My Rating: 2.5 stars
Description: Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges…
Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her.
Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity…
Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.
* mild spoilers contained *
The more I think about this book, the more I dislike it, to be honest. Jeaniene Frost is an author I’ve been looking to try out for a while now, and book one “Once Burned” was my first read of the year with a four-star rating. I’m not sure what happened with this one, but hopefully it picks up for the next two books. The plotline was interesting enough, but the characterization and the word variation could use some attention, Ms. Frost.
I’m going to try continue with the series because I’ve heard such good things about this author and Vlad, but I’m really questioning people’s judgment on this one. I suppose it’s an enjoyable enough story, but it just doesn’t seem genuine enough for me.
1. Leila was not a strong heroine.
This was perhaps one of the most disappointing parts of the book. She just seems so petulant and childishly immature compared to … well, literally anyone. Her characterization was so flat. She seems like a tiny angry martyr of a child just flying around helplessly like a butterfly in a cage. It wasn’t charming, and I don’t think it was purposeful, but I didn’t particularly enjoy her as a character.
Her and Vlad together just … don’t jive in my brain.
2. Leila’s actions literally did not make sense
The book starts with Leila breaking up with Vlad for his inability to even consider loving her, and so she returns to the United States in a big huff of female indignation.
“I couldn’t hold on no matter how hard I tried. That’s why I had to leave, Vlad. If I’d stayed, your refusal to even consider loving me would’ve ended up destroying me.”
Now I have to respect a girl who knows when to leave a relationship. But do I have to respect her for how fast she went crawling back? not really. The blurb describes this action as “Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever – especially from the vampire who won’t admit that he loves her.” Now, I have some beef with this statement, as it did lead to some unfortunate plot devices. Lelia and Vlad haven’t even been dating at this point for a month, if even a few weeks. That’s certainly not “forever” and definitely isn’t long enough to leave when the hero won’t use the L-word.
Not to mention, all it took were a couple of sweet words and she went crawling back, completely erasing the reason she went off in a huff. If she felt it was time – fine. Again, I can respect it. But after making that big decision to completely ditch your lover and to do so in front of an audience of his peers? When you do something that big, you gotta stick with your decision. Or at least until it doesn’t make sense to. But all he had to say was :
“No one feels like you do, so every brush of your skin is a cruel reminder of what I’ve lost. I can barely stand the sight of you because you’re more beautiful than I’ve allowed myself to remember and when I cut that wire off Maximus and smelled you all over him, I wanted to kill him more than I’ve wanted to kill anyone in my life, yet I couldn’t because of my promise to you.”
That’s a nice speech and all, but does it really resolve everything and all the reasons she left in the first place? No. Does it completely erase everything that was wrong in between them? no. Does Leila care? You guessed it, no.
But it was more than enough to let her jump back on the plane and fly to his manor/mansion of darkness. See, Leila broke it off with Vlad because of his inability to love her. So she comes back from essentially running away and her new mission is to prove to him that SHE loves HIM. I think he knows that??? I think the real mystery here is his feelings for her?? Wasn’t that the WHOLE FREAKING REASON she left him and flew back to the US? Just thinking out loud here, but something seems off.
He’s also a mind-reader. I think he knows. I get she wants to succumb to the dark and sexy vampire, but yeesh. At least make him work for it.
3. There was a severe under-utilization of side characters
I can’t actually say that I enjoyed many of the characters. Vlad was probably my favorite, despite the fact that I’m going to rip on his character later in this review.
All the side characters existed solely to prop up Leila and Vlad. An interesting friend (Maximus) was ruined as a character and is pretty much out of the picture for the future stories. Leila’s family was only there to make Leila feel guilty or to react to whatever *extreme* thing occurred and were basically just talking emotional gnats that existed to be horrified or upset at things.
Side characters could have made this story so. much. better!! All the blood donors that Leila was *friends* with, Vlad’s staff, etc. There were so many possibilities, and it didn’t have to focus on just Vlad&Leila the whole time.
In another point, Leila suffered through a pretty horrific death of someone she cared about, and though she cried for a beat, it didn’t last long. Pretty soon, she was up to her perky, inquisitive self and he was never thought of again. This is really odd. Usually, grief involves some form of grieving or melancholy?
4. I definitely didn’t need all the “love is a drug” BS.
It’s such an overdone cliche, and it really has no purpose.
“His embrace was my drug of choice, and as any addict knew, one sampling was too many, and a thousand never enough.”
Cue barf. If I hear any of this drivel again, it will be too soon. Next thing I know, they’ll be wearing “Tru Luv” bracelets — imagine a sexy Prince of Darkness playing a game of “no, you hang up first!” ugh.
5. The iNneR vOIcE just needs to go somewhere to die
Yet another completely overdone cliche with no purpose. They’re just thoughts. Characters are allowed to have thoughts, rather than an “inner voice” arguing with itself.
6. Where art thou sexy hero?
All I heard going into this book was how amazing Vlad was from the Night Huntress series – which I haven’t read and need to – but I’m sorry, I just don’t see it. He kind of strikes me as an Emmett Cullen (not that Emmett isn’t attractive) who likes to impale people with poles. Why did that comparison come to mind? don’t ask me, but it definitely fits.
He had a few good lines.
“You see, you don’t want me to love you. You want the version you’ve made up. The knight, even though I’m the dragon and I always will be.”
THIS is the Vlad I love and adore!! Where is he? Where art thou, oh dragon of thine heart?
EVERYONE loves Vlad, and from a lot of fellow reviews I’ve read, he doesn’t quite measure up in these books as he did in the Night Huntress series. I still intend to finish the series to find out if he does ever get to that point, but I’m going to be pretty disappointed if he doesn’t.
Unfortunately, he just generally didn’t seem convincingly anything. Leila also had several near-death experiences and Vlad was just not convincingly concerned. Or, I guess he was concerned enough, just not completely out of whack like I expect my romantic heroes to be when the heroine hemorrhages to death in your arms? ya know?!
“When I heard the ghouls coming for you, all I cared about was reaching you in time. How often must I tell you that you mean more to me than vengeance? I can live without defeating my enemies, but I cannot live without you.”
He says such nice things. Too bad his actions aren’t as convincing.
7. Vlad felt like a poser.
That brings me to my next point! Where’s all the darkness? Vlad felt like a big poser in this book. Where are all the impaling and evilness? Every time he did something even remotely “Dracula-esque” it felt like he was playing a part rather than being a genuine Dracula.
“If you were marrying Marty, I’d give you my blessing because he’s a good man. He”– a finger stabbed in Vlad’s direction–“is not.”
I sighed. “You saw the corpses on the lawn, didn’t you.”
We love a stabby hero! Unfortunately, we didn’t get one. This book was full of vague allusions to Vlad’s evilness and darkness, like the one above, but we really never got to see him be convincingly vampirish. (I don’t know if that’s a word, but it seems to fit and Grammarly isn’t correcting me. So ha.)
This is the man the Dracula caricature was created after! It was made as a lesser version in his image. Yet I’m pretty sure the garlic-hating wannabe was more “evil” and “dark” than Vlad. Anytime he did anything, I just kept picturing him looking innocently at me saying “see? I can be bad.”
8. Find synonyms
Just to break in here for a second, stop saying the word “loins” in the middle of a sex scene. It makes me think of dinner, and mashed potatoes aren’t sexy.
Can we also talk about the number of times the word “hemorrhage” was used? In different situations, of course. It was unreal. There are synonyms, and it completely drew away from the emotion of the moment.
9. Where was the romance tho *spoiler section*
With the issues that I had with the characters in this one, it’s no surprise that I felt adrift in this “romance” novel. Or lack thereof.
Vlad made a sound too harsh to be a growl. “You won’t’ be satisfied until you’ve brought me to my knees, is that it?”
“Why not?” It shot out of me with all the recklessness of my still-broken heart. “You brought me to mine.”
This is a very sweet quote. Unfortunately, it’s one of a very limited number. There didn’t seem to be any real romance other than looking for the L-word, sex and then BAM she’s a vampire. There were no sweet moments, no loving encounters and no freaking romance!!
10. Things moved a little fast *spoiler section*
Okay … so I just complained about the lack of romance. But I didn’t mention the marriage that happened between Vlad and Leila.
“What did you think would happen when you made me realize I’d fallen in love with you? I’d want to date more? Get engaged to be engaged?” Another laugh [from Vlad] … “As if I’d settle for anything less than making you completely mine, as soon as possible.”
Talk about zero to sixty. I repeat: WHERE IS THE WOO-ING?????? It happened so fast and so out of the blue! While the quote is very Vlad-like, I’m still left ???
What are you currently reading? Have you been let down by a revered author recently? Have you read something that turned out not as good as you hoped? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!