A debut YA novel sees a strong-willed teenager struggle for freedom while developing feelings for her vampire master.
In a world now ruled by vampires, 18-year-old Wavorly Sterling has spent the last decade in Nightingale, a prison school where human children learn etiquette and grow strong enough to feed their masters. Most girls Wavorly’s age are happy. Her best friend, Savvy, for example, looks forward to a life of servitude. But Wavorly is the odd one out. She is one of the few humans born free, and would do anything to be so again. She tries to escape, souring her blood for the coming-of-age Distribution Ceremony. Worse, she speaks her mind. She rails against the five vampire rulers and she disrespects her master, Lord Anton Zein, even when he is merciful. Her behavior is tantamount to suicide. Zein should have her torn apart by the fallen—humans turned bestial by vampire bites. Instead, he not only accepts her into his blood harem, but also goes so far as to install her as his favorite. At first, Wavorly clings to her resentment. Soon, though, she starts to wonder: Are all vampires the monsters she supposed? Zein makes her feel special. For all that she loathes about her life, could she in turn feel something for him? While pairing vampires and romance—two rather tired bedfellows—Quick does so only after separating and reinvigorating each aspect and keeping them for some time in edgy proximity. Her portrayal of vampire society has depth and thought behind it. The romance is explored (rather cleverly) as something that’s not happening—more tantalizing potential than swooning inevitability. The writing is crisp and the story moves swiftly, incorporating its characterization and worldbuilding along the way rather than stopping to indulge in details. Wavorly is a strong character, unsure of what she wants but in no doubt over her right to choose. Mirroring this dichotomy, the clash of genres reveals (and is made stronger by) a searching exploration of rights: those of life and freedom. Teens and adults alike will lose themselves in the gray uncertainties and throbbing heartbeat of Wavorly’s existence.
A vampire tale with a heady mix of defiance and doubt, rebellion and romance.