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Sunday, February 23, 2014

{Book Review} DINNER WITH A VAMPIRE (The Dark Heroine #1) by Abigail Gibbs


Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine #1)
by Abigal Gibbs
Publisher: William Morrow, imprint of HarperCollins
Published: October 2012
Length: 549 pages
Editions: ebook and print
Source: Publisher gifted in prep for Autumn Rose, Book 2.

The sexiest romance you’ll read this year…

One moment can change your life forever...

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape...no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price..

My notes for this one are a little all over the place, so bear with me and please accept my apologies if the flow of thought is hard to follow!

Let's start with an overall impression: I kept reading this book, didn't look for excuses to stop reading, but read it over the course of a day, stopping for real life needs (food, drink, potty, taking out the dogs, etc). It's dubbed as "the sexiest romance you'll read this year" and I definitely do not agree with that, however I would say that it is intriguing and held my attention much better than say, Twilight. Overall, I found the book enjoyable and interesting, and my interest definitely peaked when it turned towards a prophecy. Yes, there is a romance. No, I don't think it's the sexiest romance ever. If anything, I think it's a side story to the political machinations of a world where humans are very much aware of vampires and how the vampires decide to deal with them. The vampires' caution is interesting!

The protagonist is described as feisty by her kidnappers, and boy is she. I liked her snark and her courage. But holy naivete. I know she is only 17, but you would think that with a political father, a brother who died due to a drug overdose, and a younger sister who is ill with cancer, that she would be more worldly. At one point, she says  something along the lines of, "Monsters do this. Humans do not." I made a face at the book. In her 17 years has she not read the news or seen a single news program? Not even a headline on the internet?  I was a very a naive 17 year old, and even I recognized that humans are the worst monsters on earth (of course, I don't know of any vampires, werewolves, or other supernaturals). So her naivete bothered me a tad, especially as she starts in on her moral issues. But I suppose as a teenager I was firm in my blanketed beliefs.

Also, I was confused as to whether or not vampires are living or dead. You have these vamps who are born and age up to age 18 and then are set at that age forever. Then you have the kind that are made. No heartbeats but alive? Which is it? I'm okay with either description, but I would like a definitive answer as to whether or not you are alive or dead. Or is it both because one is born and one is made? But then...can made vampires have children with born ones? Argh

There is a deep sympathy for Violet - her brother died young due to an overdose, her younger sister is stricken with leukemia, her mother is a wreck, and then she gets kidnapped. She then discovers something about her father that disturbs her greatly.

There is also a deep sympathy for Kaspar who was very close to his mother, who was murdered.

This does NOT excuse his behavior however. He isn't just rude, he's violent towards Violet. You can tell he's a mess of emotions, but I was actually kinda pissed that she was starting to fall for him despite his actions. Stockholm syndrome...but really more like stupid-teenage-girl syndrome. Why does every single young adult girl seem to have a female lead who falls for a complete and total ass? And later in the book, you have two people who were supposedly trying to befriend her, turn on her and viciously so. Yeah, those two could die in the next book and I wouldn't shed a tear. At LEAST Kaspar was upfront with her: you're food to us, you're weak, we know you taste good, no you aren't a "person" to us. But the totally bothersome thing is that he tells her that he wants to find who murdered his mother and that he would "kill his love first, suck his children dry, and rape his daughters." What?! Even those who want vengeance rarely go after the innocents. Why would you want to be with someone who is so willing to kill innocents and RAPE? Bleh. Sexiest romance? Are you kidding me?!

But the most interesting part of this book is really watching this political thriller play out between Violet's father, Michael Lee, and the vampiric council. There is this history that is only hinted between humans and vampires in this dimension. (I wasn't too happy with the multiverse thing either as it seemed to come out of nowhere. Conveniently not explained as it's forbidden to talk to Violet about it, but hopefully in future novels this gets fleshed out more.) And Violet's dad came into political power several years ago just when they were going to have a treaty; but no treaty was signed. I think this tug of war (really, what power could humans have except they all die out and there's no more food source for the vampires who have existed before humans?) is really intriguing and would've liked to spend more time on this. Instead, it just says they are trying to avoid out and out war.

I think other little things that might throw off the american reader is the english. There are references and ways of phrasing that is decidedly not american. I tend to read a lot and also spent half a year in London, so it did not throw me off, however I can imagine others might reread a sentence a few times. I would NEVER change this, just warning you that you should expect it. They ARE in the UK after all as he kidnaps Violet from Trafalgar Square!

Autumn Rose is the title of the sequel and she does make an appearance in this book, a very interesting appearance. From what I know about book two, it doesn't pick up where we left off, but changes point of view totally to the world of Autumn Rose. From the little I learned of her in this book, and the prophecy we learned about, I'm totally intrigued. While this book had me alternating between liking it and not liking it, ultimately I gave it 3 stars because it evoked emotion, kept me reading, and kept me interested enough in this world and characters to want to read book 2!