As the “1” in the title suggests, this is not a stand alone book but the first in a series (of five books).
I might not be the target audience for this, it seems more aimed at Young Adults, but it was an entertaining read.
Our protagonist is 17 year old Dea, we are thrown immediately into the action… “Run. Run. Run.” Dea’s mother is killed and Dea is kidnapped by a group of vampires. Dea has a strange ability to see vampires, where most humans can’t.
From a casual glance they look the same as us but I, unlike most people recognise that they are as different from humans as cats are from mice. They carry a different, colder, darker aura.
Recognising vampires doesn’t stop her being scared, “Goosebumps raced up my arms and chased shivers down my spine.”
My own reading of vampire fiction has been scant, I read and enjoyed Bram Stoker’s classic “Dracula” and “Interview with a Vampire” by Anne Rice. I have not read the Twilight books, and there are times I worry that this will stray into the Twilight territory with gushing description of gorgeous vampires with beautiful eyes and their unearthly beauty (“hey, they were all pretty sexy“). But there is plenty of action to recapture my interest. A breathless car chase ensues after Dea is kidnapped by the good vampires as they flee from the Apophi (the really bad vampires). The pace then slows as Dea is holed up at their coven in the woods. The cars are not named but the motorcycles the vampires used are (a couple of Hondas and a Suzuki).
At the cottage, Dea is held captive supposedly for her own good, and finds there is a lot she has to learn about vampires, but they tantalisingly won’t tell her, a recurrent theme throughout the book. They have their language Strix, presumably from the striges, bloodthirsty birds of Ancient Greek mythology, the language looks a little like Romanian. Then there is the difference between the born vampires (Llamia) and the humans turned vampire (Aluka) and human blood slaves (Abdun’i).
Dea falls for one of her captors (Stockholm Syndrome?), the vampire Santi, like a love-sick teenager (“my heart somersaulted in my chest. The way he was looking at me… God I wanted him.“) and makes the mistake once of tasting his blood.
Vampire blood doesn’t taste like human blood: it’s thicker; darker; headier.
The vampires, as you might expect need blood to survive, and human blood is the best. The good vampires try to justify this by mostly choosing victims who are monsters themselves, murderers, child molesters and their ilk. You can imagine if vampires say they are going for a drink in town it might be more sinister than if a human said it. Why don’t they drink from Dea? There are hints throughout the book of a prophecy of which Dea is a key component, but to find out more you will need to read the following books in the series.
This novel is a welcome addition to the vampire genre, mixing action, romance, psychology and some intriguing details about vampires.
My rating : 4 out of 5