Gena Showalter; Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Harlequin Nocturne
Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with a need for vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.
Nicolai the Vampire is renowned for his virility, but in a cruel twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remains is a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who can help him.
When the wanton vampire summons Jane Parker, she is helpless to obey. She’s drawn to his dark sexuality and into his magical realm. But for this human, all is not a fairy tale. For saving Nicolai could mean losing the only man she’s ever craved…
– Goodreads on Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows #1)
You know how some of my reviews of vampire-related books are a basic fangirlism from start to finish, and I fidget and squeal and faint all over the place, a hopeless victim of my endless enthusiasm? Well, this review is not going to be one of those, and I’m very sad about it. I truly am.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of Gena Showalter‘s LOTU (Lords of the Underworld) series – read’em all with great enthusiasm, and I am going to keep reading that series from here to world’s end and beyond. So, I am a fan of sweetly possessive, now and then caveman-glamorous, charmingly strong and brave warriors; I should have loved Nicolai, with his Tourette’s “Mine” Syndrome in all its glory. But I didn’t.
When I got word that she was writing a vampire, I was totally excited. I mean, vampires are my fav flavor, and Gena Showalter certainly knows how to write fabulous male characters, strong, and proud, and bloodthirsty, I mean, in my mind, this could not, under any circumstances, go wrong, that possibility never even crossed my mind. The fact that I was so positive this would be awesome wasn’t a good starting point for my read, I’m aware of that, I was already expecting five shades of fabulous, so the pressure was on for the book to deliver. It didn’t.
Nicolai was not the strong, proud, decisive studmuffin I was expecting. He had these strange outbursts of animal-like possessiveness, that mostly manifested in a verbal tick; he was cursed, ok, he wasn’t entirely himself, ok, but at his core, stripped of memories or not, he felt…I dunno, all over the place. I mean, let’s take Charlaine Harris‘s no-memories-Eric, right? He was basically a different person when he had no memories, but there was something about him, something that was a part of him, that stayed with him, memories or no memories – he was still charming, quite charismatic. I’d expect that part, that is deeply ingrained in one’s personality, to be there, no matter what. Nicolai did not feel at all charming, not one bit charismatic, not even interesting in fact. He felt off.
I’m not sure what went wrong; while reading, it felt to me like the writer tried her best to make this different from her hit-series. But why shake a good habit? I mean, why not keep the charm of the male characters she writes so well, that we all love/appreciate? Yes, this is another series. But it’s a puzzle-like series, with each volume written by someone else. I sort of expect the writers to each bring their assets and give birth to a new, all-around awesome series, but the first book sure missed that porpoise, sadly.
Jane, as a character, was fun. I wouldn’t say she was a favorite of mine or anything, but she felt much more solid then Nicolai did, though she didn’t feel complete, for some reason. I did feel a connection with her, while with Nicolai I didn’t, despite my efforts.
The plot itself was fun, the whole magic-land, for me reminiscent a bit of Alice in Wonderland; in fact it felt so reminiscent, that I couldn’t picture the soldiers as anything but cards with legs and arms and heads, and it made me giggle each and every time. And the Queen and Princesses constantly took the appearance Helena Bonham Carter had in Alice in Wonderland as the Red Queen, with that fabulously over-sized head and high-pitched voice. I liked the spin Gena Showalter put on the vampire notion, and the world built was interesting, but not quite captivating.
The tempo felt a bit slack in places, surely because Jane and Nicolai’s time alone didn’t have, in my opinion, any chemistry going on, so it wasn’t really a pleasure to read.
All in all, the book felt lacking, and I really hate to say that. I never would have thought that this writer’s work would feel lacking to me, but apparently, you should never say never. It’s hard for me to picture someone that wrote so many fun and exciting books, writing this sort of uninteresting one, so I can’t help but think that someone thought they had a bright idea, advising her to make it different from her usually lovely work. Whoever worked on this book, and felt it was a good starter for this kind of all-stars series, should quit that job.
Would I read the rest of the books in the series, regardless of my feelings on this one? I’m not sure; if the same people worked with the writers on all of them, I expect them all to be disappointments.