Growing up, I loved the show Creature Feature. It introduced me to such wonderful horror flicks such as; The Mummy, The Wolfman, and Frankenstein. I remember sitting in a dark room with my cousins and being scared to death but loving every minute of it. As I got older, I fell in love with Buffy The Vampire Slayer and yes, Spike was my favorite. Not because of his looks (though they helped) but because he was a very bad boy. He acted how I thought a vampire should act. He didn’t walk around all pouty and sulky like Angel, bemoaning that he and the love of his life would never be together. Blah Blah Blah. He killed, maimed, lied, and destroyed. Yet, he had a certain je suis ce que about him that made him more appealing. He made no promises about what he was and and asked for none in return. He had a moral code, skewed as it was, and it worked for him. And me.
As a reader of the supernatural, I like my characters to mimic the inhumane and deadly creatures that I watched all those years ago. Lately, I’ve been looking for more books that don’t romanticize or humanize the supernatural right off the bat. I want monsters who know they are monsters. They aren’t overly emotional or tortured over their inhumanity. They revel and celebrate it. I want the arrogant master of his domain. I want the alpha narcissistic who thinks he’s superior to the human race and has no qualms in acting this way. I want to see him relearn his humanity. I want them to find that one person who angers them to impossible heights over their continued defiance and unwillingness to surrender to their obvious superior nature. Because soon, their anger turns to fascination and a love affair begins that defies everything.
I may have found what I wanted with D.B. Reynolds American Vampire series. I have had her series on my TBR for awhile but never made the leap into reading for unknown reasons. Wrong time. Not enough time. Wasn’t in the mood. Numerous reasons kept me from buying the first one. Amy, from Fiction Vixen, made some comments to me about it, wondering why we hadn’t read it. So, I picked up Raphael, book one, and was instantly engaged.
Blurb from the book:
Malibu, California-home to rock-and-roll gods and movie stars, the beautiful, the rich . . . and vampires.
Powerful and charismatic, Raphael is a Vampire Lord, one of the few who hold the power of life and death over every vampire in existence. Thousands call him Master and have pledged absolute loyalty on their very lives. But when, in a brazen and deadly daylight attack, a gang of human killers kidnaps the one female vampire he’d give his life for, Raphael turns to a human investigator to find his enemies before it’s too late.
Cynthia Leighton is smart, tough and sexy, a private investigator and former cop who’s tired of spying on cheating spouses and digging out old bank accounts. When Raphael asks for her help in tracking down the kidnappers, Cyn’s happy to accept. But she soon realizes her greatest danger comes not from the humans, but from Raphael himself.
Battling Russian mobsters and treacherous vampires, and betrayed by those they trusted, Cyn and Raphael find themselves fighting for their lives while caught up in a passion of blood and violence that is destined to destroy them both.
Raphael is a Vampire Lord, Powerful and likened to royalty; this man gets what he wants through whatever means possible. Not cruel but more arrogant and dismissive. He’s cold, assertive, powerful, and confident in his sexual appeal. He has hundreds of vampires under his command and he strikes fear in the hearts of every single one of them. He hires Cynthia Leighton, a private investigator, to help him find someone close to him who was kidnapped and the people responsible.
Fast pacing, non stop action, and two dynamic characters made this a quick and satisfying read for me. I loved Cynthia. She is not ashamed of her sexuality or desire for Raphael but isn’t a feeble minded heroine overcome by lust and goes willingly under his thumb. She is smart, resourceful, kick arse, and refuses to be just amusing bedsport. I enjoyed seeing a heroine who is built strong but with a vulnerable core. Not a damsel in distress. She is more than able to hold her own and her background is suitably designed for this realism. She’s not magical or imbibed with any super powers. She is human but this former cop has the knowledge and skills she needs to stay alive.
I loved Raphael because he is such an arrogant jerk. He has no lost love he’s pining for. He isn’t ashamed he was turned into a vampire and now has to live off human blood. He drained and killed an entire monastery full of monks who took him in after he was first turned and left to fend for himself. 0_o He is what he is and you can either accept it or not…he does not care. He doesn’t meet the love of his life and suddenly want to become a better man. Hell no. He’s at the top of the food chain and prefers to stay there. It’s good to be King.
The conflict balances well with the burgeoning romance. Though, the book ends with Cyn and Rachael at an impasse and going their separate ways. The conflict and resolution is delightfully bloody and menacing. Reynolds doesn’t hold back and her vampires act and do as I would expect them to. There is no forgiveness or pity. Either you are with them or against them. They are all very cold and I found it worked for me. There are small hints given to how vampires are made-think virus-but permission is given from a higher source and it is given sparingly. I look forward to reading more of Reynolds world and the vampires that inhibit it.
The next book in the series is Jabril. I am told it’s darker and more action packed than the first one and Cyn and Raphael’s relationship is decided in here. There are seven books in the series so far with the 8th book being released this year. I think anyone who is looking for a series where vampires act like vampires and not emo love struck saps…then Reynolds may be what you’re looking for.