Series: Regency Draculia trilogy, #1
Genres/Themes: vampires, romance, historical
Author: Colleen Gleason
An apt subtitle for this book would be "Vampirism: Good for the Body, Bad for the Soul." It's an enjoyable mix of Enlish high-society and paranormal intrigue, wrapped in some beautiful use of the English language.
Book Description (via Goodreads):
Review:Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member the Dracule – a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls – the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral ... until Angelica.
Angelica Woodmore possess the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger – for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him – to protect her.
Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica ... but this vampire never backs down from a fight.
Vampirism. Sometimes it's a blessing, sometimes it's a curse. In this particular series, it's a chocolate-covered piece of poison, a trick touted as a treat. ^_^ At least, that's the implication based on the plot of this book.
The name of the story makes it pretty clear that, though this is a paranormal romance, the ultimate focus is on the development of vampire protagonist Voss, the Viscount Dewhurst; it just so happens that female lead Angelica Woodmore is the impetus for this change. Given the fact that he's thoroughly selfish and unapologetic--and thus could have been difficult to connect to--I was glad that the author managed to make Voss come off as likable and somewhat relatable.
At first, I was a little bit thrown with the names and titles that come fast and furious at the reader. With a bit of note-taking and further reading, however, it settled into something manageable. What remained was a good dose of intrigue. The pacing of the book is rather like an adventure (there's not a whole lot of sitting about, musing about nothing), but there's also plenty to recognize from the era and the setting of early 19th century London.
One of my favorite aspects of the tale was the language used to describe everything from physical surroundings to dialogues and inner thoughts. I found myself reading extra slowly and savoring the words; I'd like to say that the language melted seamlessly into the background, but it was just so…pretty (but NOT overly flowery). It made everything else--the characters, the plot--that much more...more. (Ha; clearly I don't possess any of Gleason's aptitude for vivification!)
When reading a vampire story, which is undeniably trodden territory, it's nice to find little details that add a little something different to the lore. In this world, it's the Asthenia (weakness). Each vampire has a different one, acquired upon first sealing their pact with the devil to become an immortal. It could be an apple, a ruby, a hyssop plant…but in each case it's proverbial kryptonite for a vampire, who thus holds it as his or her most precious secret. This element came into play a fair bit, and definitely provided some interesting twists.
I was surprised to find that I was most drawn to two supporting characters, the Earl of Corvindale (a vampire) and the eldest Woodmore sister, Maia. There was great potential for angst (the juicy kind) and passion in that dynamic, but it was hidden underneath the solid, stoic exteriors of both hard-headed individuals. I look forward to their further interactions, which will be the focus of book two (unsurprisingly titled The Vampire Dimitri).
All in all, this is a decent series opener. If you're interested in dramatic London high-society covered with a layer of paranormal, you should give this book a shot.
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
"I really liked it"