Archive for best vampire novels
Title: Retribution (Dark Hunter series)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Retribution is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s latest addition to her Dark Hunter universe, and is a little bit different from her earlier books in that Kenyon introduces some Native American mythology. Our heroine, Abigail Yager, is an orphan who was raised by vampires. She’s made it her life mission to kill the Dark Hunters who’ve been slowly snuffing out her adoptive race, and more specifically to wreak vengeance on the Dark Hunter Jess “Sundown” Brady, who brutally murdered her family. Ex-gungslinger Jess has been given a mission – to hunt down and kill whoever’s been taking out Dark Hunters. When he finally catches up with Abigail, he’s stunned to find out that it’s a human who’s been killing Dark Hunters… and what’s more, the human looks just like the woman who killed Jess years ago, before he was turned into a Dark Hunter by Artemis. Jess knows he didn’t kill Abigail’s family, and he has to convince her that he’s innocent, while working with her to avert a disaster that she set in motion when she inadvertently killed a god in the Native American pantheon.
Title: Darker After Midnight (Midnight Breed Series)
Author: Lara Adrian
Genre: Vampire Romance
Darker After Midnight is the latest book in Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breed series, and pulls together many of the hanging threads from the previous nine of so novels. The story picks up right after Deeper than Midnight, when Sterling Chase walks out into the sunlight and surrenders himself to the human police to try and buy some time for the rest of the Order and the families to evacuate from their compound in Boston. Chase is fighting off his Bloodlust, and remains in police custody voluntarily, pretending to cooperate with the authorities. He’s about ready to bust out, having bought as much time as he can, when Tavia Fairchild arrives at the police station. She’s there to identify Chase as the culprit in an attempted murder on arch villain Dragos (who goes as Drake Masters in the human world) at the party thrown by her boss, a U.S. Senator. Tavia’s life is turned upside down when her world and Chase’s collide, and she discovers things about herself that she would never have suspected. Tavia and Chase, together with the rest of the Order have to pull out all the stops to halt Dragos’ plans to have all Breed and humans bow to his power.
Title: Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Vampire Romance
Dead and Gone is the ninth book in the popular Sookie Stackhouse series, and one that is a worthy addition to Charlaine Harris’ corpus of work. A quick word of advice: If you haven’t read any of the Sookie Stackhouse books, this is probably not the best place to start. Even if you’ve been watching the ever-popular HBO series True Blood, which is based on the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series, you might be a bit lost.
Dead and Gone is great, but if you’re just starting out, give Dead Until Dark a try instead, or better yet, buy the Sookie Stackhouse box set. I bought and read that in one weekend of vampire and were fun – nothing like immersing yourself completely in Sookie’s quirky world!
A quick recap of where Sookie stands in supernatural hierarchy at the moment. Sookie is blood-bound to the leader of the vampires, a friend to the local Were pack, works for a man who is a shifter, has a brother who is a were-panther, and has a very complicated love life. Oh, and she also works as a waitress at a bar. (How ever does she find the time?)
For those of us who have been faithfully following Sookie and her adventures in Bon Temps, Lousiana, this book is definitely worth a read. In Dead and Gone, the weres and shifters decide to take a leaf out of the vampires’ play book, and reveal their existence to the world. It all goes without a hitch until the body of a were-panther is found near Merlotte’s, the bar where Sookie works. It’s someone she knows, so our intrepid heroine tries to find out how the were-panther died. There are too many plot lines to explain in this review, but just to name a few, there’s a fairy war, some religious fundamentalists, Eric (swoon), and even more complications to Sookie’s love life. Put all that together, and presto change-o, you have Dead and Gone.
The tone of this book was admittedly darker than previous instalments in the series, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As with all book series, there’s always a danger that the author will lose the plot, and go off on a tangent – like Laurell K. Hamilton did with the Anita Blake series.
Fortunately, Harris is in no danger of losing the plot. She retains the comforting familiarity Bon Temps and Sookie’s world, while introducing new elements that add to, rather than detract from, the whole series. As always, I enjoyed Harris’ light breezy writing style, which made Dead and Gone a fast and easy read. This book is highly recommended for fans of the series!
Title: Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 1)
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Vampire Romance
I’ve been a fan of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series since Dark Lover popped up in that “Recommended for You” tray on Amazon. I know it’s really all about computer algorithms, my surfing habits, and what I’ve bought before, but I swear Amazon can read my mind! Call me a sucker, but most times, I end up buying what Amazon recommends. I rarely regret my purchases, and I certainly didn’t when I bought Dark Lover for my Kindle.
Dark Lover is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and tells the story of Wrath, the last purebred Vampire on earth. Ward has done a wonderful job of creating a plausible alternate reality. What makes the Black Dagger Brotherhood universe so believable is its similarity to modern day America… except for an entirely separate species of Vampires living hidden among the humans in Caldwell, New York.
Wrath is the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of Vampire warriors who protect the Vampire race from their enemies who, incongruously, smell like baby powder. (Ooh, how terrifying!) When Darius, one of Wrath’s warriors and a close friend, asks for Wrath’s help to bring his half-human daughter Beth through her transition into Vampire-dom, Wrath refuses. He changes his mind, however, when Darius is killed in the war against the olfactory oddities. (He is blown up in his BMW, if you must know.) Darius leaves Wrath Beth’s address, and a note which says that all his property is Wrath’s, if Beth doesn’t survive the transition. Emotional blackmail, much?
Wrath’s a likeable character. He’s suitably heroic, and quite the Alpha male. He’s physically huge, outwardly ill-tempered… and secretly a big softy. This is a romance novel, so obviously he falls in love with Beth, and demonstrates a touching devotion to his beloved. But it’s Beth who’s the real charmer in this book. She’s a spunky heroine who takes everything that happens to her in her stride. She doesn’t fall apart when she’s told that she’s half-Vampire. In fact, she embraces it. I love how she responds to the changes in her body right after her transition. Here’s a little excerpt: “Whoa. Fangs. She had fangs. She leaned in, prodded them a little… on impulse, she brought up her hands, turned her fingers into claws. Hissed. Cool. Halloween was going to be a real kick in the pants from now on.”
How can you not love a heroine like that?
I’m a fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, and I used to read the Anita Blake books (before Laurell K. Hamilton lost the plot and the series went pear-shaped), so it’s not surprising that I liked Dark Lover. But I guarantee that even those who are new to the paranormal romance sub-genre will love the book. I should know – I turned a number of friends to the Dark (Lover) side.
I highly recommend Dark Lover. It is a compelling, well-written book, and a great start to a superb series. Needless to say, I bought the next book in the series, Lover Eternal, the moment it showed up on my Amazon “Recommended for You” tray.