Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Stolen Nights by Rebecca Maizel
Release Date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Received for blog tour in exchange for an honest review
Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss.
With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead... (courtesy of Goodreads)
Stolen Nights is the second book in the Vampire Queen series. Second books are often an author's downfall. I get swept away by the newness and creativity of the first book in a series only to be disappointed when the second book gets bogged down in too much world building, a needless love triangle, estrangement from the main love interest, and too little action. So I approached Stolen Nights with some trepidation. Not to worry, Stolen Nights is fabulous and in fact, significantly exceeds my love for the first novel, Infinite Days.
It's been more than two years since I read Infinite Days. To my surprise, I wasn't lost when I began Stolen Nights. Ms. Maizel did a wonderful job in recapping the events of the prior book without boring me. It's also a credit to the first book that the plot was still memorable after two years.
Stolen Nights takes the best parts about Infinite Days and leaves out the parts I didn't like. Stolen Nights continues the darkness of Infinite Days. People are dying right and left. Magical forces (who reminded me of the mythical Furies) punish Lenah for violating the laws of nature. A vengeful vampire has taken a lesson out of Lenah's old playbook and is out to get everyone she cares about. The plot moves quickly and best of all, it never ceased to surprise me.
I love seeing how Lenah has evolved as a character. She spent centuries as a powerful, conscienceless, miserable vampire and turned into a vulnerable human. Over the course of two books, Lenah has figured out how to take the best and worst aspects of her human and former vampire sides. She remains a powerful, stubborn, take control person but now channels her strong personality into protecting the people she loves as well as protecting her own right to seek happiness.
There is a love triangle in Stolen Nights, but not a conventional one. Rhode, Lenah's creator and centuries old love has reemerged as a human. Lenah was sure he was dead and mourned the man she loved above all others. Just when she'd moved on with Justin, a human teenaged boy, Rhode shows up. It's soon clear to the reader and to basically everyone other than Lenah that Justin doesn't stand a chance. Rhode is Lenah's soulmate. He is passionate, kind, thoughtful, contemplative, melancholy - basically the sensitive soul that makes a reader's heart swoon. I was thrilled to have Rhode in the picture because I hated disliked him in the first book and thoroughly hated him in this book.
My main problem with Infinite Days was the stereotypical high school gossip, popularity issues, and queen bees. Stolen Nights does away with those problems. You still have some typical high school quirks - giggly shopping scenes, dances, etc, but it doesn't overwhelm the plot. Plus, Lenah's high school friends are much more fleshed out. Another welcome addition was Lenah's former coven member and newly turned human, Vicken. Every line that Vicken speaks is a joy to read. He's hilarious and a perfect antidote to Lenah's melodramatics.
It was hard to wait two years for the sequel to Infinite Days, but it was well worth it for such a wonderful addition to the Vampire Queen series. If you like (1) dark vampire mythology, (2) plenty of violent action scenes, and (3) an epic romance, Stolen Nights is the book for you. I highly recommend picking up Infinite Days and then Stolen Nights.