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Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.
After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.
It’s always more fun to experience great books with great friends. Today I’ve brought Deirdre here to play. We had a blast sucking this book dry…and let us tell you why.
Sheri: Let me kick this off by saying…you are one of my favorite buddy readers (even though I have to race to keep up with your mad reading pace!) and this was one of my favorite buddy READS we’ve done in a long time. It was awesome!
Deirdre: Yes! We Always have fun reading together, but this was great! Vamps are so fun, and being able to text, email, and chat made it even more fun. Of course, having a great fast paced book series certainly helped. (And added to my mad fast paced reading Thank you)
Sheri: Ha! Thank heavens for smartphones. The first third of this book was overwhelming. I kept grabbing the phone, wanting to reach out and make sure I was following things correctly. It was heavy on the world-building/character-building and it was…complicated. Definitely a keep your eyes open book.
Deirdre: I completely agree. I did find myself rereading sections. The pace of the book was FAST, the action scenes sucked me in, my heart was pounding and I was clicking the page turning business as fast as I could process words. So fun!! BUT …. It did get overwhelming sometimes, confusing. There were sections that became a tad bit of an info-dump. I do understand all the world building that had to happen for this book to be a standard Ebook length, but all the telling in certain spots was dry …
Sheri: Yep, it was speedy and a few scenes flew by with very little focus. Or I felt slightly cheated…wanting more in select scenes. It was a heart-pounder for sure. I almost felt as if I was watching a movie at times. Harry Potterish magical twist would you say?
Deirdre: all the magic made me think of Harry Potter …. But some of it made me think of Star Wars too!!! Some of the characters seemed to share wonderful qualities of Obi-Wan and Yoda. And I loved that! The all knowing Roland who has this quality that makes me think he is a power broker behind the scenes. There is definitely much more to Roland!
Sheri: Oh yes! You nailed it. I was quickly smitten with most of the main cast. Especially Charles, I think he might be my favorite. Then again, I am a huge Sean Connery fan and he screamed ‘Sean’ to me. The brothers were fantastic (despite Adrien being a bit of a hot-head) and I easily fell for Nicholas too. Strong secondary characters rounded out the cast nicely. It was obvious that time and care was spent creating deep and rock-solid characters. Who was your favorite?
Deirdre: Charles … I was quickly smitten as well. He has this ‘dapper’ quality to him that I find enchanting. Over time though Adrien won me over. We meet him in the present, but quickly head back to a young Adrien. Immature, untested, untrained with all the arrogance of youth. Then he meets Nicolas. And I was sold.
But … I have another but ….. The world building and action aspect of this story steal the show. The romances, while building, do take a back seat …. I did not mind that at all as I was completely invested in the action and intrigue. It also makes sense that I did not feel completely invested in the romance aspect just yet.
Sheri: Gahhh! I absolutely adored the flashback, which is honestly 95% of the story. You know me, not a big historical fan…but *cough* I actually loved the late eighteenth century setting. I did NOT like Adrien in the present, he was jaded and cold. But young Adrien? I am holding my breath that he gets his HEA…I desperately want him to have the peace and happiness he’s fighting so hard for. And you are spot on, the romance takes the back seat. I have a feeling we will get more intimate scenes in the next book. This was my first Shira Anthony book, but you are familiar with her work, aren’t you?
Deirdre: Historicals …. I have a list for you, Sheri. A big list!! The romance taking the back seat…. It really isn’t an issue. This is a three book series and we meet all the couples in book one. So it makes good sense it will take a bit to develop each couple and story line. I am willing to wait as I have a feeling the payoff is going to be great! And yes, I am a Shira Anthony fan. Her Blue Notes series is just swoon worthy and I *may* have read them each an embarrassing number of times. You need to try her mermen series as you seem to have a soft spot for shifters (think shifters in the ocean)
Sheri: Well….maybe I’ll take you up on that list. Maybe….but don’t tell anyone yet. ;) Ohhh, I am definitely pushing her books closer to the top of my endless TBR. I was quite impressed with the writing. You are right about the trilogy aspect and speaking of, we have three couples…3!
Deirdre: Yes! Three! Building this complex world, MAINTAINING the anticipation and action, as well as these three pairings is one heck of a task with just three books.
One of the things I love about this alternate world is the complete lack of homophobia. There are political pairings and arranged marriages, but people are not defined by heterosexuality. It was refreshing…. Wouldn’t it be great if it were real life??????
One of the characters who both intrigues me and break my heart is Adrien’s dad … He is characterized as a haunted man. We see him mumbling and going through the motions of life running an unprofitable vineyard. He is a soupy athletic character that I hope we see later on …with joy in his heart.
Sheri: That’s the thing….so much is not as it seems. I found myself dumbfounded again and again. Adrien’s dad, Nicholas’ brother, housekeepers….I was stunned countless times. And a real life free of homophobia? It would be amazing.
I still can’t believe that…..