Author: Rebecca Maizel
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (2010)
For 500 years Lenah Beaudonte has been a vampire. 500 years of seduction, blood and destruction. But she is sickened by her dark powers - and longs to feel the sun on her skin, grass under her bare feet, and share the breath of a human kiss. She wants to be mortal again. But is she really capable of being human, after her long years of darkness? Waking up as a sixteen-year-old girl brings Lenah many things - the life she has missed, taste, touch, love. But a vampire soul is not easily shed. And her coven - the four vampires she led in decadence and thrilling destruction - want their queen back...
I’ve been delaying this review because I’m not really sure how to put in words how much I truly loved this book. I’m so passionate for anything that involves vampires that, sometimes when I find a really good story with strong characters and ideas – like this one –, I can’t seem to find the right words to express all the feelings and emotions that I experienced while reading the book. And when that happens, I give myself some time to think, to actually try and understand why or what made me care so much for a specific book on a topic that has been explored and written about so solidly.
I believe the first thing that really caught my attention and curiosity was the fact that a vampire queen, who has been living for over 500 years, having all source of experiences and knowing all type of History details and people and places, wanting to go back and become a human again. That’s something I never read before. All “girlish” vamp books I own – except maybe for Anne Rice’s – are divided in to two categories: the first one is about fragile girls who fall deeply in love for that dangerous and gorgeous guy who happens to be a vampire and, due to that, they also crave immortality… but for the sake of love. And the other category of vamp book’s I’ve read, instead of a teenage outcast girl, we have a soon-to-be kick-ass heroin that was transformed into a bloodsucker creature by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, to actually have a protagonist who already had gone through all those changes and conflicts and “I’m a vampire now” issues, and who essentially wants to be able to feel again, to be outdoors during the day, to relive what was taken away from her so early in life, was something so new and fascinating to me that all I was able to do was turning page after page after page. There was no more “oh, I’m so hungry!” and “oh no, should I just throw myself at the sun or wait for the stake?” drama and all that was left to read and discover was an awesome female character figuring out how to be a human again. No more coven, no more sleeping during the daylight, no more killing, no more feeding on blood, no more loneliness. Now everything is new once again, and fresh, and bright. And modern.
It was so funny to read about a girl who speaks a zillion different languages but has no social skills and still possesses that kind of ancient, classy, elegant speech. Who has no idea what a car is or how to drive one, who doesn’t know how or where to use money and who still believes that boats (or ships) are moved by the power of human strength. But at the same time, it was so emotional to see how much she lost in order to gain what she most wanted. The sacrifice that gave her mortality was, by far, the hardest thing she had to endure way beyond physical manner. And, to be honest, it was one of the best and worst moments of the entire book to me.
I loved Rhode, and I loved Tony. So much caring and artistic beauty that got lost in a battle that was never suppose to happen. As for Justin, I wasn’t able to connect. Yes, he’s appealing and attractive and popular but he was the first one to doubt – and drop! – Lenah in a relationship that was build way to fast. But hey, my opinion might still change.
Plus, I found the flashbacks to Lenah’s past/early life as a human/vampire to be very engaging. It kind of gave a new atmosphere to the entire book, letting the reader know a bit more about the girl who Lenah was before her bloody life and the queen she became once transformed.
In overall, this is an awesome book! The writing is simple and charming. The plot’s pace is surprising and very intense in a way that you just can’t put the book down. Lenah’s voice is strong and clear, her thoughts are touching and her feelings are so overwhelming that no reader will be able to feel indifferent to her for long. And the ending… oh, that ending almost killed me! I can’t wait for Stolen Nights to arrive for me to simply devour it! And finally, I’m a sucker for writers who have no problem on killing their characters, despite me liking or hating them. I think it requires a lot of courage to just say: okay, no more book time for you!