A debut author offers a welcome, fresh perspective on the vampire canon.
Is Dougan’s novel enough to resurrect the vampire genre? It just may be, for readers who like a subtle dose of morality with their bloodsuckers. In the world of Evanna Amaranthine, vampires are guardians who protect humanity from itself. These vamps feed only on society’s dregs, but that moral bent isn’t enough to stop the hatred of a single line of determined vampire killers. One born each generation, the latest is more fanatical than his predecessors, and Evanna’s mission is to kill him. Not quite a human, but not something Evanna’s ever experienced either, vampire-assassin Rian Delmar lacks any redeeming qualities (which also makes him a thinly realized character). To get close enough to kill him, Evanna must masquerade as human, while living with fellow vamp Zak. It’s Zak who’s the catalyst here; he introduces Evanna to the human world, which includes a persistent human painter named Messiah. Zak’s other purpose—and Messiah’s—is to teach Evanna how to open herself up to human emotions—and with them, the memories of her past human life. Regrettably, the novel doesn’t fully explore Evanna’s self-discoveries, but it opens the door for future installments. The main characters are generally rich, and Evanna’s process of mastering the nuances of human life adds interest and counters the occasional bouts of predictability. Why no one identified the vampire who aids Rian is a mystery, one that overshadows the other, better mysteries in the novel. For example: Who is the Keeper, what does he know, and how do his secrets change vampire society—and Evanna, in particular? She may be The Favored One, but she’s only beginning to learn what that means.
An exciting world filled with memorable characters that could, at times, benefit from more subtlety.