For 500 years Lenah Beaudonte has been a vampire. 500 years of seduction, blood and destruction. But she is sickened by her dark powers – and longs to feel the sun on her skin, grass under her bare feet, and share the breath of a human kiss. She wants to be mortal again. But is she really capable of being human, after her long years of darkness? Waking up as a sixteen-year-old girl brings Lenah many things – the life she has missed, taste, touch, love. But a vampire soul is not easily shed. And her coven – the four vampires she led in decadence and thrilling destruction – want their queen back . . .
I’ve had a spell of bad luck with books so far this year, so I will admit (a little sheepishly) that I was quite grumpy when I started this book. I didn’t get into the story straight away, after all, more vampires? What had I been thinking when I bought this? Mostly I was looking at the pretty cover and being enraptured when I took it to the till.
So I’d ended up with another book about vampires, and for a five hundred year old English vampire she certainly didn’t speak like one. That’s my only gripe about this book, is that her voice sounded a little too modern for my taste. I know she adapted, so further into the book it really didn’t bother me, but to start with it did jar a little.
Once I stopped sulking I realized that I was fifty pages in already and didn’t want to put it down. It had completely captivated me, and this is my first favourite book of 2011. I loved it. It was a brilliant take on a genre that is churning out huge numbers of books at the moment. It caught me and swept me up in it and I loved everything about it.
The new twist on an old tale. Yes Lenah was a vampire, but through a sacrifice ritual she’s human again, and I loved watching her try and learn about this very modern world she’d woken up in. She was an outsider with remnants of her old life, old senses and old habits still with her, and she was struggling to mesh the two together. It was incredible to watch the transition from awkward girl who had no idea what on earth was going on, and was used to killing anyone who pissed her off, to a human, who loved, and hurt, and cried.
I adored her calculating moments, where she acknowledged what she would have done as a vampire, and found ways to deal with it as a human. It was a very interesting take on being an outsider, and trying to find a way to fit in.
I also love the flashbacks. It gave the reader a chance to see not only the Lenah as a human who was adjusting to feeling again, but also the coldly murderous bitch that preceded her for the last five hundred years. And boy was she bad ass. I am impressed at the levels of decadent horror she descended to. And they were so cleverly interwoven – it never felt like you were being thrown from place to place. Where necessary there were little notes about country, year etc. which helped to place the reader, but otherwise the memories that Lenah lived through were brought about by perfectly natural triggers, and it was fascinating to read through the two lives simultaneously.
My one regret? Tony’s end. I loved him, I was devastated she didn’t love him back, and I really, really wish that he hadn’t been given that fate. I would have loved to see more of him.
For a debut novel this is pretty impressive stuff, and I’m very excited for the sequel “Stolen Nights” Due out on 22nd June 2011. Mildly confused as to where it will fall, in the past or the present, although given the end I’m not sure how it can be the present. But I’m really excited to go back into this world and stay with Lenah (who’s very likeable for all her murderous tendencies) for another book.