Genres: YA Paranormal Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on April 7, 2011
Normally, I am not one to read other reviews before writing my own because I never want to even inadvertently be accused of copycatting other people’s thoughts and work. My reason for choosing to break my own rule in this case was because I wanted to see if others saw and felt the sames things I did when reading this book. It was a delightful story and perfect if you’re one who enjoys sweet YA paranormal romance that is heavy on the romance and lighter on the faster plot-driven pacing. From the beginning, there were strong echoes of another popular vampire romance story that I read a few years ago. And yes, others decidedly noticed the parallels so I felt better knowing this and justified in my thinking. I like to give the benefit of the doubt where I can so I’m going to take the attitude ‘that there’s nothing new under the sun’ and just leave it alone with the strong similarity stuff.
Now! Onto why I picked up this book-
I chose to read this one because I love vampire romances and because I have already enjoyed another book by this author. Once in the while I am in the mood for stories with an almost fairytale-like quality to them because I love fairytales. This one fulfilled all the above expectations. It had the normal human girl with some talents who attracts the attention of the gorgeous eternally young vampire boy. There is a curse involved along with some bad guys. No sweat- I love that stuff sometimes. I only had one main issue and it was a biggie for me (maybe it isn’t so much for others).
The story opens when Danielle Darcey leaves her small Colorado hometown to attend university to study art. She will be staying with her dad’s brother, his wife and daughter. Danielle and her cousin are close in age and are also friends. Danielle is a romantic dreamer who is eager to embrace this new chance away from her hometown and all the boys that she knows and has rejected as not romantic enough.
It so happens that shortly after Danielle’s arrival she gets into a dangerous situation when she gets lost and ends up getting stalked by a scary guy only to be rescued by a beautiful guy that she now thinks of as her guardian angel. Ethan Deveroux is handsome and charming. Danielle feels an instant attraction and the feeling that they have known each other before. They begin seeing each other and things couldn’t be more perfect. He is all that Danielle could have dreamed up in her romantic dreams, but he is hiding a dreadful secret.
Ethan has become one of the cursed- a vampire. He belongs to an order of good vampires who refuse to cave-in to the the curse entirely in that they do not drink human blood and they fight to protect the humans from others of their kind. Once Ethan meets Danielle, he is determined to break the curse by puzzling out a mysterious prophecy. In the meantime, they grow closer and their enemies grow braver.
The plot is that of forbidden love and it is a gentle story for the most part of a relationship building between Ethan and Danielle. At times, the romance got even a little too saccharine for even my tastes, but not unbearable. There are moments of excitement when the villains get around Ethan’s guard and go after Danielle and there was a spectacular scene of suspense close to the end that the villains orchestrated that I found particularly gripping. I was flipping pages like mad to find out how Ethan and Danielle would get through it. But like I said, for the most part it moves along gently.
There are many references to old-fashioned romance and old-fashioned values because Danielle is enamored with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (can’t fault her there) and then there’s the fact that for Danielle, Ethan’s almost a living version of Mr. Darcy since he’s from the early Victorian era (not quite Regency, but still—). There are also religious overtones that don’t take over the story, but I just make mention of them so you’re aware they are there. I could have used a better explanation about that bit about them knowing each other from before, but maybe the sequel explains it so I’ll give the benefit of the doubt.
The characters were for the most part enjoyable and I loved getting to know them. This is with one exception. There are things I liked about Danielle- her inner strength of character being one of them. There were also a few things about her that are personal peeves of mine that had me irritated with her and that were almost the opposite of the inner strength that popped out at times. I don’t do well with whiny, pouty, ‘must have my own way’ types and she played that card a lot. She hit the selfish button with me when she refused to take Ethan’s warnings about the darker side of his nature seriously. I suppose it could be argued that she was so enamored with him that she couldn’t help herself, but to me it just came across as being self-absorbed (Personally, if I really cared for someone I would do the best I could not to make things harder for them) when she hung on him and begged for him to stay when he was struggling to not scare her and bite her. I also didn’t enjoy how she couldn’t seem to decide if she was the tough karate girl or the girly-girl, but got mad when Ethan seemed a bit confused on how to treat her too when he’d pick her up and cart her around like she was helpless. I wanted her to be a bit more assertive for real and not just coming across as whiny and clingy when she had to have him at her side 24-7 and when she begged him to put her down all the while needing to snuggle and wrap herself around him all the time.
I think my favorite characters were Max because of his teasing personality and all that trained knightly strength and Sophia because of her kindly sweet nature that just wanted to nurture all those around her (gotcha- you probably thought it was because I was partial to the name). I find the idea of the older vampires like Seth and Beon a bit mysterious still and I would like to know more about them.
I liked how the author was able to wrap up the story in such a way that the way is clear for more to the story, but yet it wasn’t one of those horrid cliffhangers that tries one’s patience.
All in all, it was a good read that I have no trouble recommending to younger readers as well as the rest of us ‘young at heart-ers’. It definitely qualifies as a clean sweet YA paranormal romance that would appeal to those who enjoy stories with a fairy-tale romantic quality to them and don’t mind it taking its time as it goes along.