Author: Colleen Gleason
Publisher: MIRA Books
Series: Regency Draculia, Book 1
Realese Date: March 29, 2011
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*Novel provided by the publisher via NetGalley
For more information please visit Colleen Gleason's website.
Regency London—a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men. But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer’s own.The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason is the wonderfully addictive debut novel in a new paranormal based historical romance trilogy, the Regency Draculia. With Gothic elegance and wonderfully enticing characters, Gleason has conjured a world that is beyond spell binding with characters that will leave you eager for more.
Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule—a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls— the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral…until Angelica.
Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger—for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him— to protect her.
Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica...but this vampire never backs down from a fight.
The lore of Vlad Tepes, being well known by most vampire lovers, takes on new life with this wonderful series as Gleason breathes new life into the myths that surround one of histories most notable vampiric tales. Wonderfully original, this renewed Draconian mythology was a great base for the wonderful world building within the story giving a bit of understanding not only into the origins of vampires, but insight into the characters themselves. As they are granted the rights to endless pleasure and depravity without consequence you really get a great look at the characters as they struggle against the lure of immorality as most of them try to be somewhat noble despite their incessant need to 'take'. Noble, here of course, is a rather loose term as a lot of the actions would not normally be classified as such. But, given the consequences of acting against the very nature that Lucifer ingrained within them how can it not be in some loose manner regarded as such? This also allows for the break down of factions within the Draculia world: those that take without regard to life and those that do not.
The characters that this novel focuses on of course, are the ones that hold some value to human life. And yet, we also quickly learn that there are varying degrees to 'goodness' even within this faction. For instance, Lord Dimitri Corvindale, abstains from pretty much everything that would relieve the pain caused by Lucifer's mark, while Lord Viscount Voss Dewhurst acts upon his urges for pleasure and debauchery and still denies the inner need for him to kill regardless of the guilt or inherent innocence of his query. But, this is not the only character based conflict present within the novel that separates these two extremely engaging and wonderfully enticing characters. However, instead of giving a complete character breakdown which I felt was the most enjoyable part of this novel, I will instead focus on the amazing development that went into their creation.
Truly, all the characters involved are nicely developed with great histories and engaging personalities. Even the frosty Dimitri is interesting, and a bit curious, as he faithfully struggles to carry out the unwanted task of guarding the sisters of his vampire hunter friend, Chas Woodmore, from harm in his absence. One ironic fact among many in this novel that creates a truly fascinating story. But, with the virtues so comes the flaws which added an endearing quality to these so called monsters. And while the vampires definitely captivated my interest, I was also taken by the humans that intrigued them. As proper and upstanding ladies within London society they have somewhat coarse mannerisms due to social restriction. However, underneath the rigid propriety there is a lively spirit and wonderfully capable intelligence in both Woodmore sisters that demands respect from those around them. With such a strong sense of character within a very male dominated world, I found them to be quite compelling and this strength made me relish in the little glimpses of vulnerability within them. Their fears and doubts really added a wonderful dimension to them that contrasted nicely with the strong male leads who themselves had some truly engaging vulnerabilities within their natures. For instance, Voss's obsession with death. Quite an interesting vulnerability given his immortality. Quirks like this added depth, complexity and an emotional appeal that had me captivated throughout the novel and left me needing to know more about these characters because I really began to care about them in the course of this story.
But, what is a story without romance? And what a romance this novel has indeed! The angst surrounding it is sinfully delicious as Voss struggles with his need for Angelica. Not only her blood, however, but her very life of which Lucifer seems bent on demanding. However, his wonderful conflicting need to protect her, even from himself, was utterly appealing as well. Angelica's struggles with her own feelings towards Voss were no less engaging, especially after her horrific realization that Voss isn't mere mortal man, but a 'vampir'. This creates such wonderful turmoil as she weighs the fear she feels towards what she considers to be a monster and her desire to love the veneer of the man that she had come to know and trust. Because of this catalyst, the ensuing feelings that flair within the pair really adds to the evolution of the characters, and in fact leads to a very unexpected conclusion that was touching and heart warming, certainly not something that I had expected. Also, the underlying chemistry between the feisty and antagonistic Maia and the seemingly cold Dimitri was interesting to see develop and something I can't wait to see further explored in the next novel.
The world building itself was also amazing with little details and flourishes thrown in to bring the haute culture of the ton to life. The social structure is nicely described adding to the grandeur of the setting with the opulent social events that take place within the story. The tone is nicely captured bringing to life a London of the past, however, the writing itself is fluid and up-to-date helping to draw the reader in without bogging them down with Victorian diction. Also, the little tidbits of history thrown in with notable figures playing a part, though unseen, was interesting. It added a perspective to the time period that the novel takes place in, something I would have liked to see a bit further explored simply to see the interation between power hungry mortals and power hungry immortals coming together.
The pacing of the story is quick due to the fluid nature of the writing and the wonderfully detailed world. You really come to feel as if you become a part of the story, seeing the events unfold before you. With lots of great action, suspense and angst, there is a lovely sense of immediacy keeping the reader interested in not only the events of the story, but in the characters as well as they struggle with their feelings and thoughts. Breaking up the more dire emotions is a great underlying sense of humor and undeniable charm from the characters, most notably Voss. With lots of subplots and switching point of views, this novel has no problem keeping the interest of the reader. In fact, there was very little about this novel that I didn't enjoy as the complexities of the emotions, characters and story lines come to pass as all of these aspect kept me reading late into the night wanting to see what would happen next.
In the end, I found this novel to be quite engaging with an unusual type of hero backed up by characters that were complex and often had me wanting to know more about them. Truly, I can't wait for the next installment, The Vampire Dimitri, so I can have even more insight into Gleason's wonderful character development, not to mention the amazing world that she has created. Unique, with great themes focusing on morality, the nature of evil and the more engaging aspect of redemption, this is a novel that I highly recommend to any fan of paranormal or historical romance.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars
Advisory: Some sexual content