A human and a vampire put their newfangled love on hold to stop a rogue vampire from forming an army of bloodsuckers and inciting a revolution in the author’s debut supernatural thriller.
Psychologist Dr. Rick Smythe seems to have feelings for Saria de la Rosa, with whom he shares office space in Los Angeles. Saria worries that Rick will learn that she’s a centuries-old vampire, but Rick has a secret of his own: He knows vampires exist, having been a member of a Japanese clan for killing vamps. Soon the couple’s fates merge, and they must put an end to the power-hungry Nickolea, Saria’s former lover who betrayed her years ago after she turned him. Buckley’s swiftly paced novel could pass for a young-adult story: It favors romance over sex, implies rather than describes most of its violence, and relishes epic confrontations, be they emotional or physical. It plays with bloodsucker conventions (which has now become conventional) by disregarding staples such as deadly sunlight and wooden stakes. But while some of the plot may be threadbare, the author uses many new twists, including Rick’s proficiency with a katana, a Japanese sword (perfectly suited for vampires who can only be killed with a beheading); a group of vampire ninja assassins led by a mysterious, highly skilled vamp with a grudge; and Tepes, an anti-vampire alliance watching everything unfold. Rick and Saria fall in love rather quickly, but they’re a likable duo, particularly since they’re adept at offing bloodsuckers. It’s fairly befuddling when they adopt new identities while hiding in Romania since the narrative begins referring to them under their new monikers, but it’s an origin story, so Alex and Stefania (nee Rick and Saria) they become. The novel picks up speed with more bloody action and varied perspectives, though it unfortunately all happens when the book is nearly over. But with evil vamps on the loose and some issues unresolved, a sequel is inevitable. And most welcome.
A bounty of blood to satiate vampire fans.