Friday, 13 May 2011

Review: The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil... 
In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of hunting vampires, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget. And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

Wow – this book combines two of my favourite things. Vampires and the dazzling glitter of regency England (plus lots and lots of romance.)

I found Colleen Gleason with one of her newer novels “The Vampire Voss” and was extremely excited to start reading it – but within the first few pages I was horribly confused and completely put off. Instead of just giving up I decided to try her first series to find out whether it was her writing or just the book I’d tried first that I didn’t like.

It was most definitely not her writing, which is extremely good. It’s vivid, it draws you in, it’s gory and jeez the research is mind boggling.
Most of the historical romances I read are pretty good at the style and language of the time, but there are usually slip ups where modernisms creep in. Gleason has no such slip ups. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that had so completely captured the style and voice. I felt like I was there.

The plot is really good, it takes the vampire myth and plonks it straight down in a time period where you don’t tend to get kick ass women – and then it gives you one. I love Victoria, she’s sassy, she’s funny, and she goes weak at the knees after a good kiss. Men continue to underestimate her (even when they shouldn’t) and she continues to prove them wrong. Which just makes me insanely happy, because I love strong females in fiction – particularly when there’s supernatural creatures involved. It reminded me a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There are reasons and explanations, and nothing feels too far fetched or out of reach. Gleason creates her world, her rules and parameters and she sticks with them.

And it wasn’t all fluff. There was enough romance and balls and waltzes in there to keep the girly side of me happy, but Gleason also knows how to do gore. And sex, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The vampires are not pretty – well they are, but they’re also horrendously vicious. None of these neat incisions – they maim to make a point.
They’re also terrifying, and they stick to traditional guidelines for vampires which also makes me happy. None of this sparkling crap – we have crucifixes, burn in sunlight, garlic, holy water and stakes – the whole shebang. And we also have kick ass slayers who have a neat trick/reason for their super strength and healing powers.
But that doesn’t make them invincible. And that’s something I really liked about this. Whilst they’re strong characters who can go out and defend the ton from the evil bloodsuckers, they also screw up and get bitten a fair bit too.

And the men – boy are they dreamy. We have three bachelors on the cards, and all three of them make me and Victoria swoon. I have to say that Phillip was starting to worry me part way through the book, and I was thoroughly peeved with him by the end. But maybe that’s because I have a thing for bad boys, and Max and Sebastian are most definitely bad boys…

This isn’t a book for those who want vampire romance though. There are vampires, there is also romance, but at no point is there romance with a vampire. In fact that’s strictly frowned upon. So if you’re looking for a vampire diaries/true blood/twilight fix, this isn’t it. It’s more Buffy, although even she falls off the wagon and romances the vampires…

So to sum up. I love this book. I want the next one. If the post man doesn’t bring it to me in the morning I may cry. (why do they always bring book three before book two?...)
It’s brilliantly written, it has gore, it has kick ass women, it has vampires, and sex and romance, and balls – and what more could you want from a book?

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