Sunday, 21 October 2007

Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

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After Gabrielle Maxwell witnesses a brutal attack by a pack of Rogue Vampires outside a nightclub, she is plunged into a war that most humans don't realize is happening. A war where Breed Warriors fight to keep the world safe from vampires who have succumbed to the lure of bloodlust and turned rogue. Little does she know, this is a world that has touched her before, and this time it's a world she won't be able to leave.

I've had Kiss of Midnight in my TBR pile for a while, as well as the next book in the Midnight Breed series (Kiss of Crimson), but just haven't got round to reading it. I think partly because word of mouth said that Book 1 wasn't as strong as Book 2, but I didn't want to start Bk2 without being properly introduced to the series.

If you've ever wondered what kind of story you'd get if you crossed J.R.Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood with Wen Spencer's Ukiah Oregon, and kept it firmly on the side of paranormal romance - then wonder no more. Lara Adrian's vampires are the progeny of aliens who crash landed on Earth centuries ago. The original aliens were voracious predators, eventually wiped out by their children. But something of the monster still lurks within, and the vampires fight against a bloodlust which if they give into, will see them marked for death by the Breed Warriors.

Kiss of Midnight introduces us to this world through the eyes of Gabrielle Maxwell and Lucan Thorne. Unbeknownst to Gabrielle she is a Breedmate - a human female genetically compatible with the Breed (all vampire children are male). Lucan Thorne is a Gen 1, (the first generation of alien children who rose up to kill their fathers) as such, he struggles harder against the bloodlust than his compatriots. But that doesn't stop him from being drawn to Gabrielle, even though he feels she would be better suited to a pairing with another vampire.

I really enjoyed this story. Maybe because I went into it with the expectation of being underwhelmed. Instead I was racing through it wanting to know what happened next. After a slightly slow first few pages, the plot moves along nicely, characters are well drawn and believable. And I ended this story happy I could move onto book 2 straight away, and disappointed that I was going to have to wait a couple of months before I got my hands on book 3.

Lara Adrian's world is well thought out. There are a couple of very nice touches, not necessarily part of the main storyline, but they serve to make the world more real. For instance, I like that Dante has to wait for Lucan to finish before he can feed - it illustrates the animalistic hierarchical nature of the vampires without beating us over the head with it.

I also thought the funeral ceremony was well thought out and movingly written.

And although most of her bad guys are rogues, consumed with the need for blood, sex and death. The head guy is a very well written anti-hero. I'm interested to see where Lara Adrian goes with him. She leaves you with the feeling that though he's committed heinous acts, there's a possibility he could go either way. He could be redeemed. It's the fact that there's thought and calculation behind his every action, and we don't yet know if there's only cold intellect there, or something more.

Her love scenes are hot. :)

Is it perfect? No

It's almost bound to be compared to Dark Lover. There are a couple of scenes reminiscent of that book - when Lucan breaks into Gabrielle's apartment for example. And Lara Adrian does use what readers might have come to consider as the vampire group sterotypes. Lucan - the oldest and in charge, Gideon - the computer expert, Tegan - the loner, and later in the story one of the warriors is horrifically scarred. Oh, and in case I forget to mention it Lucan has a huge penis. LOL

I find myself very much liking the character of Savannah (Gideon's mate). And hope she isn't going to get killed off (a la Wellsie).

There are a couple of slips, or maybe I just misinterpreted.

Exactly what colour is Gabrielle's hair. For the most part it's described as ginger, but it's once described as burnt gold. To me, ginger and burnt gold just ain't the same thing.

And we never see K***** die. Or did I miss it? I don't know if this is intentional or not. She's told to jump off the roof after the vampire master leaves. But the vampire master and Gabrielle go up to the roof and whilst they're fighting in the helicopter we never see K***** take her leap. I don't know if we're meant to assume she jumped from a different part of the roof or that she got away?

Despite these minor niggles, this is a fantastic start to a new vampire urban fantasy series. And I think if the stories remain this strong any comparisons between Lara Adrian's series and others will pretty soon be inconsequential. I'm hooked.

9 comments:

Naomi said...

In spite of myself, I'm really interested in this book, as I'm intrigued by the alien angle. I might have to treat myself to it come payday.

Exactly how similar is it to JR Ward's stuff? I can take the cliche characters, but is it as angsty?

LesleyW said...

Naomi - It's not as angsty (I think) as JRW. Saying that characters die - hence the funeral scene. And bad things happen. But there's no SV or that belief system, so there's none of the 'no gifts without sacrifice stuff'. In that sense it's a lot more rooted in reality.

The alien angle isn't mentioned much in this book, other than as an explanation for where the vampires came from. I don't know if that will change in future books. This is different to the Ukiah Oregon series where the alien invasion and Ukiah's origins were a major part of the plot.

Naomi said...

I don't mind characters dying - I think of angst more in terms of characters sitting around wailing "Woe is me!" about things they're perfectly capable of changing. Like Anita Blake, lol.

I've never heard of Ukiah Oregon - what's the first book called?

LesleyW said...

Naomi - First book is called Alien Taste. They are quite hard urban fantasy/science fiction. Ukiah was brought up by wolves. When he bleeds the blood turns into mice which he can reabsorb. As you might have guessed he's not human. :) Very well thought out world.

There are four books in the series altogether. It's one of those series where you have to concentrate whilst you're reading. Wen Spencer often includes science stuff in her books that can be a bit hard to wrap your head around the first time you read it.

I love her stuff. She also wrote the Tinker series which is also urban fantasy but slightly more romantic, that has elves.

And A Brother's Price which is set on a world where women outnumber men. And men have to marry all the women in a family. Probably her most romantic, and it deals more with relationships and families rather than hard sciency stuff.

As you can see she's a bit eclectic. Her latest book Endless Blue is out in HB in December. And looks like it's going to be something of a space opera.

I think she's one of those authors you end up either loving or hating. I love her stuff.

Her website is www.wenspencer.com

LesleyW said...

Oh and I didn't think there was any 'Woe is me' stuff in Kiss of Midnight.

So angst level=low. :)

Nicole said...

Good to hear about KoM. I've been wanting to read this book for a while, but it's one among a number of similar-sounding books, so it's still in the TBR pile. I think, however, that it just jumped line a bit... :)

Also thanks for the info on the Ukiah Oregon books. The bleeding mice thing sounds particularly interesting. I'll have to check it out, too.

LesleyW said...

Nicole - I think that's one of the reasons it's been on my TBR pile for so long.

Hope you like the Wen Spencer stuff if you check it out.

Crystal said...

I just finished this book too, and LOVED it. Kiss Of Crimson is just as good. I can't wait for the third book to come out. Tegan's story. It will be interesting to see him tamed, as he is so crusty sometimnes.

LesleyW said...

Hi Crystal,

I've reviewed KOC, and am also looking forward to Tegan's story. Which, going by the excerpt I think I'm going to enjoy.