Recently turned from human to vampire, Kylie wants nothing to do with her new life or with the clan that claims her. She certainly wants nothing to do with her mother, Belle, who is completely infatuated with her vampire wife and clan leader.
To escape her unwanted existence, Kylie befriends a human, Olivia, who has been abandoned by her family. But unknown to Kylie, someone is watching her. An enemy has targeted her as the perfect way to destroy her clan. While battling this enemy, Kylie also grapples with the surprising desires she feels for the human. Desires that she’d once seen as wicked and wrong.
Fighting for her life, Kylie must confront both the assassins and the beast within her that would do anything to keep her loved ones safe.
I’m going with the extended Review format, not the Fluttering Thoughts on this one because I feel there’s more to say than the shorter 5 points approach. As you’ve noticed, I tend to use this format for books I really loved, books that touched me, but you’ll say “this is 3 stars, not a 5, so what’s up?”. There were parts of this novel I loved so much that I wanted it to end as a 5 stars. Let’s get one thing straight, it could have easily been a 5 stars reading experience for me. Easily, I’ll say it again.
The worldbuilding was interesting, perhaps not overly focused on and detailed – rather the “you get it as action progresses” kind of vibe. I’m cool with that too, and though there weren’t very clear lines drawn from the get go, it’s easy to get a good sense of what’s going on and who’s who, particularly about Kylie’s vampire clan. To balance it out, the way the opposing force is built is more or less along the same lines of “you get it as action progresses”, only it’s less action that evolves them – and, I felt, less attention given to the vampire hunters side. As a reader who appreciates strong, well-built villains (at times, more than the heroes, might I add) I wished for more of that part of the worldbuilding spectrum, but that’s obviously my subjective view of things. As it is, the worldbuilding made sense in an active, on the go sort of way that I feel will appeal to readers who aren’t too crazy about the politics, and prefer the gutsy action side of things instead.
Where I felt the novel shined was the characters department, and yet it was also the department that frustrated me the most. There’s a lot I truly appreciate about these characters, from the struggles and issues they face (family life, romance, sexuality, health) – not only Kylie, but all female characters – to how they cope with or resolve those tensions. Since it’s a story about a 25 yo woman discovering herself, exploring her first relationship (physical and emotional), this is NA to me.
Our main character, Kylie, had a lot of that “figuring myself out” kind of charm, she was conflictied about her sexuality (and sexuality in general, to begin with), and I really got emotionally invested in her struggles and tribulations. The whole vampire clan contributed to that quite well, Kylie’s mother especially, and Olivia played a really good part in it for at least the first half of the novel.
The story was fun, not shocking though appropriately brutal in places, like when the vampires hunted/fed, well put together and, for the first half or so of the novel, with a great tempo for my reading pleasure. I’ll reiterate something I mention in all my reviews, which is I’m not in it for the agitated action, but rather the worldbuilding, character-building & relationship-building. To me, good, at times slower-paced character-building will always, always trump any kind of agitated action, and I’ll never love a book (movie, and so on) based on action. It’s just not my thing. I like an alert pace to a story because of it’s repercussions on character and world building, not for its own sake. Now, that being said, to me the novel felt somewhat rushed for the last half or so. The charm and fun of the read slowly dwindled away in favor of, well… agitated action. Sure, it made sense in the context, it sped up as we got nearer to the end, I’ll also say it felt like it skipped a bit of clarification in a spot or two for the sake of alertness (like the jump from attraction to emotional involvement in the Kylie/Olivia relationship, and the vampire hunters confrontation moment). To me it felt like there had been that build-up in a first draft maybe, but then it was abandoned in favor of making the read more “dynamic” and giving it a more rapid pace. To me, that’s not a plus. If you’re into action and thrills and the “get it as you go” approach, you’ll probably enjoy that. To me it felt like a loss, because the first half or so of the novel didn’t feel rushed, took the time to build up tension and interest and strength, while the last part got certainly more rapid and I guess exciting, but losing some of that charm the first part had.
The third person narrative, past tense, from Kylie’s POV was interesting and I liked her voice. I also very much liked the intense, sort of raw sexual vibe that Kylie/Olivia had, Fiona Zedde’s style certainly shined there – the chemistry was hot, palpable, explosive…for that first part. Then came the more rapid pace of events and I felt all the parts I truly loved about the novel were somehow lost, less focused on.
The cover and blurb are hooking, and it would certainly make for impulsive buy in one of my LGBT paranormal moods.
All in all, this was a great read in some respects – diversity, characters who aren’t your average Caucasian middle-class “universal” type, hot one on one and great romantic chemistry, interesting points touched on, but it became frustrating as it progressed. I was left with a very disoriented sense of loving to bits one part and not liking the other as much. This could have easily been a 5 stars reading experience for me, and I have no doubt it will be even more fun for those of you who are into rapid action.