Review: The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare

Title: The Renfield Syndrome
Series: Rhiannon's Law, #2
Genres/Themes: dark urban fantasy, speculative fiction elements, fish out of water
Author: J. A. Saare

Quick Take: Violent, brutal, and gory. But also tender, sweet, and resonant. I loved the ride this book took me on, and cannot--cannot--wait to check out the next book.

Book Description (via Goodreads):
Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.
     Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things; including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.
     After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.

First things first. Reading the first book in this series is a must. Upon finishing the book Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Betweeen, I was wrecked--in the best possible way. Yes, there was a cliffhanger. Yes, said cliffhanger was a doozy. And yes, Lucy has a lot o' splainin' to do. ^_^ But the anticipation that the ending engendered within me was caused most by the sheer possibility that was left for the following book. It practically switched genres (or at least broadened the range of classification that was possible for Renfield)! So upon opening this new book, I literally had no clue what to expect. What a fabulous and exhilarating feeling to have, especially with a book that's part of a series--and thus tends to come with a number of expectations.

The world that was created in this book was quite engaging. There was barely anything recognizable about this New York City, but it was definitely fun getting to figure out its new rules and intricacies. The world has got its fair share of violence and gore. But it definitely works and it's not gratuitous for its own sake.

Saare's got some brass ovaries, man. She also doesn't play shit safe--which I respect! The plot of Renfield is unrelenting, and no promises are made for the characters or their situations. The best thing about that fact is that I still trusted that the story would end up just the way it should--which is not to say I thought it would end up how I thought it should. Rather, Saare did a wonderful job of making whatever happened make logical sense. Gonna blow up the universe? Okay, great! Here's why it's gotta be that way.

A note about characters: I love 'em. Rhiannon, for one, is such a pure pleasure to "hear" as a narrator. She's got a measure of sass, but the way she processes the world around her reveals a wide range of emotion and insight. This is the Rhi that I've been waiting for. And even so, she goes through a hell of a lot of growth and change. The Rhi at the end of the book is even more developed and changed from the one of the book's beginning. Aside from Rhiannon, I'd hate to reveal who's in the book (since at the end of book one, we're not mean to know what's befallen the main cast), but will say that I luuurve the guy that takes up most of this book's focus. Sexy? Brooding? Intense? Check, check, check.

Good graciousness, I enjoyed this book. If you want to know deets, just pick the book up and make it happen; anything else would be a spoiler, and believe me when I say you want the story to unfold before you. There's a lot of action, lots of intrigue, and some fabulously juicy romantic development. Put this one up on my "Favorites of 2011" shelf, thank-you-very-much.

Rating: 5+ of 5 stars
"I absolutely loved it!"

"21 Days, 21 Blogs!" This has been a stop on a book journey by KLB tours. To see some of the other awesome activities going on related to The Renfield Syndromeclick here

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