Lara Adrian - a bit of catching up

>> Sunday, June 21, 2009

I read these three books in quick succession a few months ago, and meant to read the fifth in the series, Veil of Midnight, before I did all the reviews together. Well, I haven't got round to reading it (or the sixth, out now) yet, so I better review these three before I forget all about them!

NOTE: for a description of the world these novels are set in, see my review of the first book in the series, Kiss of Midnight.

The second book in the series is Kiss of Crimson, and as in Kiss of Midnight, the heroine is a breedmate and the hero, a vampire, runs into her by chance and decides he wants her. Tess Culver and Dante meet when she finds him bleeding all over her veterinary clinic. Even though she fears he might be a criminal, Tess heals him, after which Dante wipes all memories of what has happened from her mind and leaves.

But not before realising she's a breedmate, and as you would expect, between that and the instant sizzling attraction, he can't stop thinking about her. Dante knows he needs to focus on discovering whoever's behind a new drug that has been making young vampires turn Rogue, but Tess' draw is too strong to ignore, and before long, he's made contact again.

I enjoyed this one, but didn't love it. The romance was nice enough, but flirted with bland. A few months on, I can't say I remember all that much about Tess and Dante, other than that they had some nice chemistry between them. As individual characters, though, they've kind of vanished from my mind.

The plot, I did quite like. The idea of the drug was interesting, and there are some really interesting developments there at the end. If I'm remembering correctly, I don't think I let even a full day pass before starting the next in the series!

MY GRADE: A C+. I would probably have gone for a B- right after reading it, but I require memorable characters to go into B territory.

Next was the one that's turned out to be my favourite in the series so far, Midnight Awakening. It features Tegan, a character I thought was the Zsadist-wannabe in this world, but who turned out to be quite different and individual.

For Tegan, the fight against the Rogues is his whole life. Centuries ago, they were responsible for the horrifying loss of his mate, and so Tegan has become a machine, caring only about defeating the Rogues.

A widow, Elise has decided to remove herself from her community and stop taking blood, since it cannot be from her husband. By doing so, she's going back to a normal, human lifespan, choosing to give up the quasi-immortality bestowed by vampire blood. Elise has as much reason to hate the Rogues as Tegan, as her son was one of the young vampires who died after becoming addicted to the lethal drug the Rogues were pushing in the previous book. Since his death, she has began going out and hunting Rogues. It's not as if she cares if she dies a bit earlier, after all.

These two come into contact when Tegan steps in to help Elise when she's going after a Minion and a reluctant attraction starts developing. Neither of them wants to follow through, but when Elise accidentally comes across an object that the leader of the Rogues is after, she and Tegan have to spend quite a bit of time together working things out. And guess what happens?

There was a very interesting dynamic between these two, and I really liked what Adrian did with the symbolism of the blood-taking. Both characters are very tortured, but they deal with their awakening feelings in different ways, and the result was an affecting romance.

Again, the plot was interesting, and I also liked the way Adrian depicted the relationship between the warriors and the community of civilian vampires, who disdain them as uncivilised and are kind of becoming convinced that they are unnecessary.

MY GRADE: Very good, a B+.

The plot of the 4th book in the series, Midnight Rising is based upon some developments in previous books, so I'll be vague to avoid spoilers.

Journalist Dylan Alexander is on holiday in the Czech Republic, when on a walk in the countryside, she stumbles upon a cave with walls covered in mysterious markings. Smelling a story, she snaps some pictures, right before a smelly, aggressive man who seems to have been sleeping in the cave chases her away.

Smelly caveman is Rio, a Breed vampire who's taken the mission to secure what's in the cave. Rio suffered a horrible betrayal in the first book of the series, and is now scarred and bitter. For months he's been gathering courage to end it all when Dylan crashes into his party.

Obviously, Rio can't allow those photographs to fall into the wrong hands, so he hunts Dylan down, in an effort to recover them. But it's not as easy as stealing her camera and wiping her memory, because Dylan has already done something with the files. Not to mention that she's a Breedmate. In the end, Rio kidnaps her and takes her to headquarters.

This was quite good, actually, even with the kidnapping element (a non-favourite of mine). Dylan is brave but not stupidly so (even though at times I felt she should be a bit more scared of the smelly caveman than she was). Rio is quite tortured, and with reason, and through his developing feelings for Dylan, he gradually begins to learn how to live with his past and forgive the person who wronged him. This last, btw, was one of the things I liked the most about this book. It would have been very easy to paint this person as the devil incarnate, but it was all done a lot more subtly.

MY GRADE: A strong B.

All in all, this is developing into a good series. I really should read the next two books soon.


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