I saw the blurb and I was totally curious about this story that seemed to blend the two genres of paranormal romance and dystopian together. Paranormals used to live in the world secretly alongside humans, vampires come out about their existence, humans freak and go on extermination spree, someone unleashes a virus that kills off a ton of humans and turns a few into vampire-human hybrids and society is reborn with the vampires in control and humans as slaves. Yeah, it was a lot to sink my teeth into and there was even more background stuff coming out than that along with a lovely bit of suspense and some plot twists too. The part that intrigued me was good and the hero just captivated me, but I confess that it did suffer a bit from ‘first book in a series’ syndrome. I really had to pay attention to all the details about the world of the vampires or I’d have been hopelessly lost trying to distinguish between ‘vampires’, ‘vamps’, ‘vampyres’ and ‘rogue vampires’ since these terms are not synonymous.
The story opens when Mason and the band of humans with him have entered the vampire town to scavenge for food and supplies. It has been several years since the virus and the vampire takeover and there are very few free humans left. The human bands living out away from civilization are practically wild creatures now. On this last trip, he has a bad feeling and wants to abort, but they need the supplies. Mason was right to be cautious because soon all hell breaks loose when slavers pounce. He tries to protect the humans, but its too late. He and a few others are captured. He has to continue to play his part even though just the thought of vampires elicits his hatred since he had been captured by one before that killed his mother and tried to kill him.
Danika Chekov knows she needs to do something about her situation. She let herself feel for her last bloodslave and he sickened from bloodlust and nearly killed her. Ever since, she has not been able to eat not even from one of her house slaves. She knows she made an error in judgment that she couldn’t afford to make since she is a newly appointed heiress to her dead parents business and Lord of her coven. She is the youngest and only female Lord in America and needs to prove to her own people and the other Lords that she has what it takes to do the job. There is only one solution. She must buy a bloodslave and bond him to her. She must not forget that she is vampire and remember the slave is far beneath her. After looking over the slaves, Danika sees a gentle human that will make a nice assistant, but it is the untamed dangerous one that calls to her. She has never felt such a connection or scented blood that attracts her so strongly. She will have Mason no matter what even if it means antagonizing another Lord that she can’t afford to have as an enemy.
Mason knows the dangers of being sold as a slave into a vampire household especially as a bloodslave. His secret would be out quick and that would be catastrophic. He has stayed hidden amongst the humans for so long. He has to escape at the first opportunity. But the red-haired female vampire caught his attention and her scent drives him wild. When it is to her that he is sent as a guardian and protector, he is torn between the need to escape and the desire to stay with her.
Danika has real concerns like the troubles with another coven lord, the sightings of rogue vamps gone over to bloodlust and getting her newly turned assistant settled in, but it is her attraction to Mason and desire for his blood that stirs her most and keeps her distracted. She senses that he is no ordinary human and he has secrets. He is a force that she is just realizing that she has no control over. Who is really the master here?
Alright, so this one was a curiosity with its Master/slave society type setting with pureblood vampires at the top of the food chain all the way down to the lowly human with no rights of their own at the bottom. The vampires are power hungry types and the really powerful ones that run the covens vie for even more power that caused a great deal of intrigue in the story which I enjoyed.
The intrigue was an easy solve for me as I figured out the villains and their motives nearly from the moment they were introduced. Their plots made for the big action scene at the end which was pretty impressive because of the hero’s big reveal at that point, but for most of the book there’s not a lot of action when I felt that more would have been a good thing. There is a lot of time spent on set up stuff which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it caused for quite a drag on the pace.
I felt it needed more action also because I found that the vampires didn’t feel any more dangerous than the average big business moguls. I thought when I saw vampires that I would see cold, lethal ‘top of the food chain’ predators particularly with Danika because she is the lord of her coven. Most of the book is focused on Danika getting her blood supply or so it seemed. She spent a lot of time passed out or weak from not eating or craving Mason’s blood. The other half of the time she was busy at being busy. There were no exciting action scenes or scenes for romance development. I started skimming early on. Other than the big scene at the end when the bad guys finally strike. Now that series of scenes were captivating.
But about the characters. First the heroine. Danika did a lot of wishing and posturing, but she really came across to me as a young girl shuffling around in her dad’s big shoes. None of the real movers and shakers took her seriously. And how could they or even the reader since she never does anything impressive. I don’t mind a damsel in distress per se, but not when she’s supposed to be the big bad fearless leader. Mason thought she was just down right cute when she stomped her foot and tried to sound large and in charge.
Mason’s character development on the other hand and his activities and dialogues just made the scenes he was in sparkle. He was a sexy alpha male that made me weak at the knees right alongside Danika and left no doubt who was really in charge of things. Through most of the book, he struggles with something he calls the ‘beast’ within and the reader knows that he isn’t an ordinary human, but its not until later that the full awesome truth comes out. Mason was the very best part of the story for me.
As to the romance, here again, I was underwhelmed. It was a fated mates style piece so the romance relied almost solely on that insta-attraction. I don’t mind that trope, but I do need to be given something more to the interaction to make it convincing. Even the passionate moments are a series of steamy interruptions whether by one of them pulling back or by a timely interruption. I needed something to make me believe in them as a couple and never really got that. Now to be fair, maybe things develop further in the next book. We shall see.
So to summarize, I was into the story enough to look forward to where things are going. There were several unanswered questions there as well as that danger that Mason warned about. The hero’s character was well developed and his part in the story just made it sizzle. However, I needed a stronger heroine, crisper plot and a more developed romance that would have taken it from mildly enjoyable to riveting. Those who enjoy a blending of romance genres like this paranormal and dystopian piece should give it a try.
My thanks to Kensington Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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