Review: Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey

Children of the Night (Diana Tregarde, #2)Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book rather like I enjoy B-flicks: entertaining, a little bit cheesy, and somewhat unremarkable in the end. Diana ran the gamut for me, she wasn’t the strong woman I had the idea she’d be, although I wouldn’t categorize her as weak exactly. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that she spent an awful amount of time on either feeling sorry for herself or weeping, sometimes both. Good lord woman! Get it together! I didn’t mind it some much earlier on because I thought she would grow by the last page, but it stayed pretty even throughout.

The book takes place in the seventies, around the Watergate scandal, so there are some major differences in speech and how people act. I get the feeling that even though it wasn’t published until 1990, it might have been written in the seventies. Maybe it wasn’t and I’m wrong, but the book sure feels that way. Anyway, I liked some of the ideas, especially the gaki (although stop calling him the “Oriental!” Gah!!) and dealing with psi-vampires, but I thought they could have been explored in further detail. Instead the book features some odd and goofy exchanges between Diana and Andre, one of which deals with her anxiety attacks in a truly hurried and unrealistic way. I don’t believe in the matter of a few hours they could just disappear like that, it just doesn’t ring true. Almost half the book deals with another character’s side of things, Dave, and while I could have used a trim on his view (he too had a lot of self-pity), surprisingly he turned out to have grown more by the end than Diana did. What really got my goat was the phrase “Christ on a crutch” and “gods” used to the nth degree. At a certain point if I heard one of those one more time, I swear I would have thrown the book across the room. Ugh!

Overall, while it wasn’t the best book I read, it kept me reading and I didn’t hate it. While I felt the short story I read in Trio of Sorcery (Diana Tregarde, #0.5) was stronger, I’d still give the next book Burning Water a go.

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ARC Review: A Blood Seduction (Vamp City, Book 1)

A Blood Seduction (Vamp City, #1)A Blood Seduction by Pamela Palmer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marketed as a paranormal romance, A Blood Seduction is much closer to the genre of urban fantasy with strong romantic/lusty elements (there is only one instance of “doing the deed” and that is very close to the end of the book). Quinn Lennox is the lead, and while she might not be the usual kick-ass heroine usually drawn upon in this field, she is far from the weakling I’ve seen others refer to her as. Face it, she was in way over her head, there’s no way in hell she could ever be a contender against these vampires, at least not in this particular book. Heck, I bet the indomitable Buffy would have had trouble. She could be smart and she made the occasional dumb move, who hasn’t? I like the fact that she isn’t perfect. Okay, she has to be saved, a lot, and she doesn’t have the most memorable personality, but this is only the beginning of the series and there is plenty of time for her to grow and come into her own. I rooted for her all through the book. I wanted Quinn to save her brother Zack and his friend/potential girlfriend, Lily, I wanted her to be able to use her magic, and I just wanted her to succeed and become even stronger as a person.

The world is well drawn, mostly on account of it being a magical copy of Washington, D.C. circa 1870, but with some modern conveniences thrown in as well. Okay, so I did groan at the Washington, V.C. (Vampire City), it is a bit cheesy, but luckily it was usually called either Vamp City or V.C., which both fit the atmosphere of the book much better. Parts of the city are abandoned and decaying, others a thriving compound for the different vampire families, known as kovenas. The vampires themselves are killer, quite literally. Gone are the pantywaists of recent ilk, we’re going back to basics (mostly) here. Not only do they feed on blood, but some also have to feed on either fear or pain as well. They go from zero to sixty in about a second, they have the super strength, mind control to entrance their victim, they have slaves who adore them (called slavas), and boy, are they are mean. But hey, it’s just in their nature, they can’t help who they are, except maybe for the love interest and possible future heroes depending on how the series goes. For those who are fainthearted, this ain’t the book for you. There are numerous disturbing scenes that depict torture or gore, I can handle it, but not everyone can. Ye have been warned.

Speaking of the love interest, Arturo “Vampire” Mazzo, he was, well, certainly mysterious. Due to his unswerving allegiance to his master, Cristoff (who I pictured as a 25 year old Lucius Malfoy played by Jason Isaacs, with a black goatee:
),
Arturo would turn his back on Quinn, yet the further on the harder it was for him to do so. His loyalty was being tested because of his feelings for her. Just to make things clear, this is a messed up relationship, some may not like that, but I thought it added a dose of reality and interest to the circumstances. Sure I felt like Quinn was an idiot at times to be attracted to this untrustworthy vampire, especially the very first scene that was just too early in the story for that to be included, but overall it works for the book. My absolute favorite relationship is the sibling one between Quinn and Zack. I thought the author did an awesome job conveying just how much Zack means to her. Basically he is everything to her and all she has. Her father may be alive but he was never there for her, he always sided with her stepmonster (Zack’s mother) instead of his firstborn. Creep. Anyway, despite her stepwitch’s hatred of Quinn and that Zack adored her from the time of his birth, and vice versa, then after high school he moved to D.C. where she lived, he’s always been there for her, even when she was being punished. It’s really a sweet and respectful relationship. She’d do anything to save him and she tries like hell all throughout the book, which doesn’t always work out so well.

This is definitely the start to a series, and while there is an end to the book, there is still much to be told. In the fates of Vamp City, Quinn’s sorcery, the relationship between her and Arturo, plus much more I don’t want to give away. I’d recommend that if you’re looking for a romance to go elsewhere, but if you’re a fan of evil vampires, darkness, don’t mind abnormal relationships, and just want to have a bloody good time, then what are you waiting for?!

Originally Reviewed: September 20, 2012
Received: Amazon Vine