Gabriel wanted to live his life in peace. He didn’t wish for fame or riches. He just wanted peace; from his drunken abusive uncle for his aunt, from cruel bullies at university and from his heartsickness over his unrequited love for his close friend- Rachel. But, one fateful meeting with a dying vampire changes everything. Gabriel’s destiny is rushing up to catch up with him even if he wasn’t ready for it.
Okay, warnings first:
- If you don’t like reading violence and savagery with a pinch of sadism, back off now.
- If you’re tired of reading about extrordinarily beautiful, exceedingly superhuman vampires, this is not for you.
- Also, this is a book of 600 pages. So, check your patience before you pick it up.
Now, my checklist does include the first two. So, personally, I was glad when the book ended.
Mark Benjamin writes with a shifting point of view. The problem is that the POV can shift to anybody, however small the character, at any point of time. Also, since we cover the same event from different POVs, the story takes a long time to move from plot point to plot point. Hence, the 600 pages.
Another issue with this is that most the voices sound the same- the males are mostly testosterone-driven, violent, cocky idiots and the girls, well, they aren’t given much page time, so, they are all exceedingly beautiful. And that’s it. Now, the girls aren’t even central characters, so, I shouldn’t be bothered by this. But, unrequited love is the single-most, commonest and direst motivation fueling most of the scheming men in the story and I wish I understood just what made these girls so special, instead of just being told that they’re very beautiful.
Another annoyance I had with the book, and this sort of a pet-peeve for me, is the rapid change in Gabriel. But, that is probably just me, because I’m not into current mainstream vampirism.
But, don’t be turned away from the book because of these things. The story has meat (or blood, should I say). The characters are presented from both the vampire and humans ends of the spectrum and this makes them so real that you’ll be wondering about whom you should root for till the end. And since this is only the first part of the series, your question is not going to be answered.
The world-building is quite comprehensive and that, I thoroughly enjoyed. The heirarchies, the rules are delivered to us in piecemeal throughout the story rather than as an info-dump. The merging of the modern world of Gabriel and his friends with the ancient one of vampires is also seamlessly achieved.
BOTTOMLINE: Overall, if you’re into vampire lore and fantasy with action genre, then you’ll like this book. It caters to most current trends in vampire fantasy while avoiding the melodramatic pitfalls of young-adult fiction. So, I suggest that you read the blurb on the cover, maybe try the first two chapters if you’re still doubtful and then, go for it.