A quick bit of housekeeping: to SHANNON, the reader who won the book The Native Star by MK Hobson. I do not have your email address. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday. Otherwise, I’ll have to draw another winner.
Now, here’s the scoop on Twilight Forever Rising (Tor Books), which I’m now mourning because I didn’t want it to end…and at the close of the blog post, a GIVEAWAY.
THE PLOT: Darel Ericson of the Dahanavar clan is a rarity among his vampire brethren: he’s an empath, strong enough to occasionally read thought as well as emotion. For centuries, his power has given the Dahanavar a significant advantage against the machinations of the other vampire families, an advantage which makes Darel both a powerful tool and a highly visible target.
Fortunately for Darel, it is more useful for the heads of the other clans to maintain the centuries-long peace between the houses than to remove him. But, the cunning and violent head of the House of Nachterret is tired of the truce, and of hiding his presence in the world. The Nachterret would like nothing more than have free reign over the helpless human cattle upon which they feed.
Darel, and the human woman he loves, become central to the Nachterret’s scheme to plunge the Houses into all out war. Darel is ultimately forced to face the question: is one young woman’s life too high a price to pay for peace?
THE AUTHOR: Twilight Forever Rising, which has been described as “Anne Rice meets The Sopranos,” is the first in a series of Vampire Clan novels by Russian author Lena Meydan. It was a major Russian bestseller in hardcover (under its original title, Blood Brothers), and was named Best Urban Fantasy for 2000-2005 by the 13th International Congress of fantasy writers in St. Petersburg.
MY THOUGHTS: This is hands-down the most interesting twist on the vampire mythos I’ve read in a long time. Each vampire clan has its own form of magic: as sorcerers or artists or business geniuses or shapeshifters–and the balance of power between the clans is precarious. The translation from the original Russian is seamless. If I hadn’t known it was a translation I’d never have guessed; it’s that well done. The vampire clans are dangerous and “other.” This might have a romance of sort at its core, but these are not romantic vampire heroes and the romance is so understated as to be almost invisible.
I can nitpick, as with anything: I wish Lenore, the young human girl who finds herself unwittingly at the center of a massive vampire power struggle, had been better developed. Her character is a bit wooden. I wish the ending hadn’t been so abrupt. I wish the relationship between the empath Darel and Lenore had been explored more thoroughly. Does he really love her (as much as he is able), or does he love the way she makes him feel?
But those are quibbles. This is a fascinating vampire world filled with memorable characters I want to see more of. Twilight Forever Rising is the first of a series–the fourth in the series is about to be released in Russia–and I hope the rest get translated for the English-language market as well.
THE GIVEAWAY: I’m running out of book space, so I’d like to pass my copy of Twilight Forever Rising along to someone else! Just tell me your favorite vampire twist–or your least favorite. Do you like it when they can read minds? Enthrall? I can tell you my least favorite–when they can walk around in sunlight and glitter–LOL! I’ll pick a winner on Monday, 10/18, and will open this one internationally and see if the postage bankrupts me 🙂 As always, extra entry for followers on Twitter @Suzanne_Johnson and an extra for blog followers.