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I am a big fan of this series, both the Night Huntress books and this delicious spin-off. Vlad is ruthless and quirky at the same time. I liked him in Cat and Bones books but he really comes into his own in these books.
Most of the first half of the book is story based, it kicks off a touch non-linear. It might throw you if you are not prepared. It added to the drama of the book, it keeps you waiting for the kidnapping to happen. The story really flows and has a steady pace.
Leila is a great character, engaging and dynamic in surprising ways. She isn't bad@$$ like Cat, but she has strength and an iron will. I love that she is getting control of her power and turning it into a weapon she can wield in defense.
Vlad is pretty much everything the Dracula stories say times ten. He is ruthless and unbending in his resolve to make people fear him as a means to protect his people. When Leila goes into his past you get more of a feeling for how he thinks. It is an important insight into his motivations. One of my favorite things about his is that though he can be so dark he has a sense of humor and wit that pops up unexpectedly. my favorite line in the whole book: "Did the guards forget to spray Febreze?" Vlad asked in mock indignation. Then he gave me a jaded look. "It s a dungeon, Leila. They re supposed to smell."...yup, I laughed out loud at that one! He is overbearing and arrogant, yet somehow so very attractive and seductive.
The steam is off the charts when it comes! Oh good lord, the dungeon sex scene is beyond hot!! I am talking burning down the house, short circuiting my iPod and sending straight to an ice bath!! Good lord, that scene alone is work the price of the book. Nobody can tell me that scene was not straight up erotic smexy lovin! Add in Tavia Gilbert's energetic narration and it was like listening top the neighbors getting it on!!
The audiobook was a delight as always. Tavia has a fantastic voice that makes the story come alive on all levels. She gives the characters depth and strength with subtle nuances in her pitch and tone. Great accents and distinct voices. She has a brilliant way of carrying action and energy into her read during key moments like battles, dangerous moments and all the lovely smexy scenes. This is why she is easily one of my favorite narrators. What an talent!
Once again the story is only from Leila's POV, but you get glimpses of others thoughts when she touches them. It helps bring understanding to their motives. I really like Leila and find her to be a strong character so I enjoy her narrative. I do wish we had more insight into Vlad, he is very difficult to get a handle on at times. You only know what he thinks and feels when he says it, even then it can be vague.
The story is very detailed and covers quite a bit of ground. It ends on a touch of a cliff hanger. While the main plot is resolved there is a thread that still needs exploring. Big changes at the end of this book, it will be very interesting to see how things develop in the final book of the trilogy. Ugh, why is December so far away!!!