Adrien Gilbert has spent several lifetimes searching for the love he lost. Born in the 1800s into a clan of fabled vampire hunters, Adrien once wanted nothing more than to tend his family’s vineyard in southern France or read a good book. But Adrien’s peaceful existence ends abruptly when his older brother, François, is murdered. Bound by his hunter’s oath, Adrien sets out on a path that will forever change his life when he agrees to execute his brother’s killer, the vampire Charles Duvalier.
After months chasing the elusive Charles, Adrien reluctantly makes a bargain with Nicolas Lambert, an ancient vampire. Adrien will escort Nicolas to Paris for his marriage to a rival clanswoman, and Nicolas will help Adrien find Charles. Nicolas’s quiet strength and gentle heart soon convince Adrien that Nicolas is nothing like the vampires he has sworn to destroy. As the wedding date draws nearer, a force intent on destroying the fragile peace between the vampire clans threatens to tear apart both the vampire realm and the world of the hunters. To secure both past and future for those he loves, Adrien must find a way to stop the looming war between hunters and vampires. But first he’ll have to let Nicolas go.
I really enjoyed the first installment of Shira Anthony's new vampire series, Blood and Rain. There were plenty of really good guys and just as many really bad guys, with lines pretty clearly drawn on that front.
I loved the brothers, Adrien and François, as their fates lead them away from their small pastoral vineyard in France and on to more adventurous pursuits than tending to grapes. You see, in addition to being farmers, the brothers were also born into a long line of vampire hunters.
There isn't a problem with vampires per se in this book, since vampires and humans co-exist peacefully, for the most part. The hunters only come into play when a vampire doesn't honor their treaty with the Council of Hunters that allows humans to live unharmed and in peace.
But as usual, humans don't always want to live and let live either, instead grabbing for power, not caring much about an already-fragile peace. Such a human is Verel Pelletier, the (insanely evil) Regent of the Council of Hunters, whose lust for absolute power is all-consuming. (If you've read Shira's other *amazing* series, Mermen of Ea, picture Pelletier as the evil island council and you'd be very close.)
Add to that a self-sacrificing (hot and hunky gay) vampire prince willing to give up his own happiness to marry into the clan of enemy vampires to strengthen the peace and Pelletier being a complete and total arsehole at every turn and Shira has given us a very entertaining read indeed.
From death orders issued on an innocent, to prison breaks, to abruptly-halted weddings, to kidnapping the heart of our hero Adrian, this book has it all and there is never a dull moment. This book had so many moving pieces, which could have very easily gone off the rails, but Shira kept the story tight and running like clockwork, so kudos for that.
The only thing that I found a bit distracting about the book was all of the magical "swords of light" play during the fights. It was always the swords and the vamps never really got "vampy" and chomped down on an enemy throat during battle. You're vampires! Bite a bitch now and again already. : )
The swords spewing out magical light of heat (for the hunters) and ice (for the vampires) felt a bit more like I was re-reading the "Finding Home" vampire trilogy by Jennifer Wright (which was all kinds of *awesome*, too, BTW). However, in Wright's story, the vamps were very 'bitey' and the mages were the only ones who wielded any sort of magic.
But do not get me wrong. Other than a few minor points, I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.
Since it's part of a series, there were plenty of open-ended plot points left, we're still left waiting for the happily ever after and for the bad guy to be thrown into the proverbial "Sausage Grinder of Comeuppance" and lots, lots more. (I personally can't wait for that grinder, because Pelletier is pretty fucktacular as far as evil villains go.)
Christ, I can't even begin to tell you how HARD it was to not give away more of the plot than that, but you're welcome. : )
4 1/4 *sex-it-up-a-wee-bit-for-more-please* stars from me this time around.
My copy of this book was provided by the publisher for a fair, unbiased review.
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