Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Imprint: HQN Books;
Original edition (January 1, 2011)
Bound Galley Edition 10/1/2010
provided by the publisher through NetGalley in expectation of a fair review
He was mesmerizing, a vampire like none other...but the fire between Viviane LaMourette and Rhys Hawkes would begin a centuries-long clash between two powerful vampire brothers.In Marie Antoinette's Paris, the beautiful vampire Viviane seeks a male patron who
Image via Wikipediawill allow her to live on her own terms. Courted by two feuding brothers, Viviane succumbs to the handsome rebel, Rhys. She's unaware that Rhys has other, darker, motives. He seeks vengeance against his brother, Constantine—by stealing Viviane and tainting her with his blood.
But just as Rhys is realizing the depth of his love for Viviane, his brother takes his revenge.
Two centuries later, Rhys hears the urban legend of the Vampire Snow White, imprisoned deep in the tunnels under Paris. He must find her and set her free, but will he be able to save her from the evil still intent on destroying them?(from Michele Hauf's website)
I felt this book, while a love story, and a vampire tale, is more about sibling rivalry than anything. I would have liked to see the problem resolved in this book.
At the start of the book we find a "Vampiress," Viviane, with a broken carriage and being attacked by wolves. Hauf brings in a new twist to vampirism I had never seen. In this book, female vampires are subservient and weak "kin" of a male vampire, often their maker. If they do not have this person's blood they will die. Her patron Henri and his wife with whom Viviane is staying in Paris are murdered, and Constantine de Salignac, a powerful vampire, wants her for his kin. Unfortunately his brother Rhys Hawkes also wants her, in order to get back at his brother. But in the future we later hear that Vampiresses evolve away from the need for a master's blood.
Viviane is unusual because Henri never made him stay with her or be a sex object. He lived in Paris with his wife and Viviane lived in Venice. She has more freedom than other female vampires and refuses to bow down to any master. So, the usual stuff happens, anger, love, betrayal, murder and mayhem. It all builds to Constantine's one truly evil and shocking act.
I felt a bit distanced from the characters who I didn't really like. No one was truly heroic. Each vampire was selfish, quick to anger, and appeared to live well beyond their means. Viviane did not seem very bright; she was capricious and reckless. Constantine was somewhat two-dimensional, definitely snobbish and cruel. Rhys was devoted, thought issues out and understood the consequences of his actions.
He was also tortured when he learned that Viviane might have been buried alive. Imagine thinking that and trying to find her in a huge maze. But, he also was irresponsible and careless. Had he and Viviane not goaded Constantine the heinous event may not have happened.Of the three I liked him the most. And, as I read I always imagined his character looking like the Sam Adams brewery depiction of Sam Adams. There are other things about Rhys, that are important but they would be spoilers.
The action is quick paced. Of course it slows in a few places to allow us to catch our breath.
There were a few intertwined sub-plots in the novel. I was confused about their relationship to each other.
Hauf writes nice love scenes and a great seduction scene. She has a good grasp of the vampire mystique. I would read the book just for the seduction scene. It is very sexy.
I enjoyed the book, but it didn't grab me right off. But, then, I think I like a clear cut hero in a story, others like their hero's more difficult. I don't want them to be overly sensitive, but killing each other's friends is going to make for a rocky relationship. But there are many books with very unlikeable characters. I thought that Ms. Hauf came up with a very interesting vampire society. Pinning one of the subplots on Urban legend was very current and I felt she really had the pulse of society.
I hope you find it a good read. I would love to hear your opinion of it.