Friday, April 12, 2013

Not So YA Friday: The Dark Heroine: Dinner With a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

The following review is recommended for Ages 17 and older.
The Dark Heroine (Dinner with a Vampire) by Abigail Gibbs
Received from Harper Collins via LibraryThing
Release Date:  On Shelves Now
Reviewed by:  Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say:  Macabre and Interesting; But Too Long
The sexiest romance you’ll read this year…

One moment can change your life forever...

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price...

When I won this book from Harper and LibraryThing, I had not heard anything about it, which is great, because I didn’t realize the controversy surrounding it.  Supposedly this was Twilight fanfiction before it made a deal, although, after reading the story, I never would have guessed it.  The vampires in this story are gruesome and conniving.  Many of them take pleasure in killing, and even more so, they take pleasure in punishment.  One of the other controversies circling this book was that it was the vampire equivalent of Fifty Shades.  Now, I have not read FS and never plan to, but I can say without a doubt (even having not read it), that this book is not even close to the FS.  There is one sex scene that doesn’t even closely rival some of the ones I have read in recent NA and adult literature.  So, after debunking both of those rumors, I will not jump into my actual review.

When I first started reading this one, I was intrigued and actually enjoying it.  I liked that the vampires were not all swoony.  They were dark and grotesque (not in looks but in actions), and the true nature of a vampire was apparent in them.  They weren’t romanticized at all—even with their powers of seduction.  This was great because in order to start to like the vampires, you had to get to know them—to see past the bloodlust.  I will admit, this was hard to do for me because no matter how hot or sexy or charismatic a vampire might be, I still have a hard time getting past the whole ripping out throats thing.  Eventually, I was able to get past this and see Kaspar and the other vampires as more than just evil, killing machines.  Now, will they ever make my top 20 of swoony male characters?  Absolutely not.  Just too much gore for that.

Once I hit the middle of the book, though, things started to drag.  I felt like there was just too much detail, and not details like the color of the trees, or the way the stones were stacked on the mansion.  There was just too much of Violet sitting around pondering her existence and current circumstances.  I got bored with her, and I wanted the book to hurry along.  I believe Abigail could have cut a good 100 pages from the book, making it flow much quicker and making it a little less daunting (at the current 550 pages).

Near the end of the book, things got interesting again.  The prophecy started to make more sense, and betrayers and alliances were drawn out into the open.  Once this happened, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.  Things happened quickly near the end.  We got to see more of the vampires traditions and customs, and we were introduced to creatures and people from the other realms (that the 2nd book will focus on).  This gave a much needed depth to the novel, and made it feel like there were more secrets and twists to be revealed in the future.

I’m kind of wishy washy on whether or not I like Violet.  I like that she’s got a smart mouth, yet knows when it’s safer to stay quiet, but I didn’t understand her feelings for Kaspar.  He’s more than just a cocky jerk, he is truly violent, and on more than one occasion, he physically harms her.  But she just seems to look past that and still fall head over heels for him.  And with Kaspar, it seems like he hates her, and that his feelings are all lust right up until the end when he bursts out with his feelings.  I just didn’t believe either of them, and their relationship will definitely need to be explored more in the next book.

So, overall, this was an interesting read.  From the reviews, this seems like a love it or hate it for most people, but for me, it’s just okay.  I wasn’t blown away by it, but I still enjoyed the quicker paced parts.  I do plan to read the sequel, though, just because I want to find out more about the dark heroines and the other realms.

Content Warning:  This is a very gory book, so be prepared for bloodshed.  There is one sex scene that is somewhat explicit, although not nearly as explicit as many of the NA books out there.