I’m going to sound very conflicted in this review so you are going to have to bear with me, I promise…I do actually have a point and a solidified opinion.
When I first picked up this book I expected nothing more than a quick, vampire laced read, strangely, that is not what I got at all.
The first 30% or so was overwhelming. NOT due to the plot, but due to the characters. It read as if “Richelle Mead” had a truck load of characters she wanted to introduce, but none of the patience required to sit and write them down properly.
There were vampires (duh), but they were broken down into a weird sort of subculture. (great right…something new, something refreshing!) Not really…there were Dhampirs, Strigoi, Moroi, and Guardians; none of which were explained until halfway through the book. All I knew was, Strigoi = Bad, Moroi = weak protected vamps, and Dhampirs (which at first I though was an editing error) = Mini-Guardians in training.
The book opened with an interesting chase scene which sucked me in, and kept me reading (which I see as a good thing) and my interest was sparked, but then the plot just kind of dropped off. I kept getting all of these “We aren’t going to talk about that..remember we promised” references, but there was never anything to back them up. It went on like this for at least 5 chapters. Witty comebacks, Teen Angst, Weird Looks, and Teacher lectures…but nothing to really congeal the passion of that opening sequence.
But then… when I was just about to give up and opt for TV instead of a book, a light bulb flickered on and we finally got the story. The whole story! We got explanations of characters, we got background, we got random dead animals showing up in backpacks, and we were finally…FINALLY told what the hell all this Strigoi-Moroi-Dhampir crap was all about.
Do I think Mead took to long getting to the point? Yes… dear lord, yes! But at the end of the day the book finally picked up the pace and got me hooked. There were bratty jealous girlfriends, crazy bonded mind jumping, rabid dogs, and a psycho terminally ill vamp uncle with a crazy Russian name, all of which were pretty entertaining in their own right.
I will leave you with one tiny disclaimer though…this book touched on a very delicate mental disability that made me a little uneasy at times, but was written with delicacy and was handled properly in the end. (Well done Mead.)
Overall? The book was a promising start to a series, and at least in book two I wont feel so lost. Happy reading and remember…it is unwise to jump on deviously tampered with wooden benches!
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