Title: Caressed by Moonlight
Series: Rulers of Darkness, #1
Genres/Themes: paranormal historical romance, opposites attract, vamp politics
Author: Amanda J. Greene
Excerpt: found here at AllRomance EBooks
Despite feeling like the language (mostly the dialogue) was something of an odd fit, I did enjoy this historical romance's main characters and premise.
Book Description (via Goodreads):
Dorian Vlakhos is no ordinary aristocrat. He is a vampire king, who will do anything to save his clan from complete annihilation, before an ancient curse can claim his immortal life.
Penniless and orphaned, Victoria Kingston has nothing to bring to a marriage, yet she must shackle an unsuspecting gentleman into marriage by the end of the month or forfeit her rights as guardian of her younger sister. With the help of her dearest friend, Victoria begins her hunt, and vows to stay far away from the dark, mysterious, Prince Vlakhos.
After meeting the beautifully innocent Miss Kingston, Dorian had to have her. He would do absolutely anything to make Victoria his. One sweet stolen kiss would bring them together while a force, more powerful than any vampire would bind them for all eternity. But treachery, war, and death rule Dorian’s dark world and Victoria would be fortunate to survive.
When I first read the premise for this book, I knew I had to read it. It's just the type of romantic dilemma that I find engaging: does one marry for love or for money...and are both possible? The book did not disappoint, as I was kept engaged throughout. But the three paragraphs noted in the book description are only part of the equation; the last sentence (about "treachery, war, and death") is where much of the real fun was.
Let me get my reservations out of the way first. I've read my fair share of historicals; in them there's this linguistic quality that lends itself to the transportation of belief (or suspension of disbelief I suppose, seeing as how none of us have experienced Edwardian/Georgian/Victorian-eras firsthand). The specialized language melts into the background, leaving the story to play effortlessly in the mind's eye. In Caressed by Moonlight, however, there was something that felt slightly off for me, something so minute as to be exceedingly difficult to describe. But whatever it was, the feeling it engendered was akin to watching Kevin Costner or Keanu Reeves in an English historical film; when the vibe is off, it pulls you out of the story. In short, the language did not really transport me in the way that I'd hoped it would.
But enough of that. What I did quite enjoy included the vampire politics and the supernaturals' overall battle for survival. That main character Dorian Vlakhos--one sexy and mysterious mofo, if I may say so--had to address not only vampire hunters but infighting and unrest within the vampire community provided considerable intrigue, keeping me wanting to know more about those dynamics. Such information is provided in smaller doses throughout the first half of the book; during that time, the romantic element is developed quite a bit. With one drastic revelation, the focus then switches to the vamp politics, but there's still a nice combination of the romantic elements and the dramatically heroic.
The characters in this book were engaging. Victoria Kingston is a many-faceted character, stuck between a rock and a hard place but nonetheless determined to do right by her loved ones. Her progression through a relatively mundane situation (well, if being threatened with homelessness can be considered mundane) to a fantastical one is fun to watch. Dorian's own rake-to-hero transformation was likewise sweet and swoon-worthy.
Overall, I did indeed like this book. The premise pulled me in easily, and the characters' interactions--as well as the broader struggles--kept me there. As it happens, the next book in this series is actually a contemporary paranormal romance; I'd like to check it out, as (of course) my hangups over the language will be moot.
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
"I liked it."
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