19 March 2013

Review of Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) by Abigail Gibbs

Over the weekend I finally got round to reading several books which fall into the 'I should read but haven't got round to it yet' category. One of which was Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) by Abigail Gibbs.

What they say (Blurb & Info): The addictive, enthralling debut by online sensation Abigail Gibbs. 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 escape… 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.
  • Available in print (560 pages) or as an e-book.
What I say: With the tag line 'The Sexiest Romance You'll Read This Year' I wasn't entirely sure what to make of The Dark Heroine. Although there are sex scenes, I wouldn't class it as sexy, nor would I group it as a NA novel. It's definitely not an adult book but with the semi-domestic abuse, attempted rape, underage drinking and teenage sex it doesn't totally fit as a normal YA novel either. For the sake of arguing I'm going to class the book as a Fantasy YA novel and leave it as that!

The book begins with Violet Lee (who is both human and a teenager) essentially being kidnapped by Vampire Prince Kasper Varns after witnessing a brutal mass murder by a group of strange, beautiful and obviously not human young men. These young men are Vampires in the midst of a war with a group of hunters. Of the title, I won't say too much as I don't want to give the plot away but the Heroines form part of an inter dimensional prophecy of which involves both Violet and Kasper. Told from the POVs of Violet and Kasper, the imprisoned Violet must allow herself to 'turn' and become a vampire to leave captivity (said captivity is a huge mansion, full of handsome, rich vampire men who seem to find Violet irresistible). Having initially only witnessed the vampires feeding, killing and womanising, she finds the idea of becoming a vampire abhorrent!

The royal family (the Varns) belong in a strange middle section of vampires as they are not fully evil a la the 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' non souled type vampires, but then again they are definitely not vegetarians like the 'Twilight' Cullens. The Varns tread a very fine line between good and evil. For most of the book Kasper is horrible, selfish and spiteful and I was left wondering if his actions were actually justifiable. At times I found Violet really frustrating because she allows both Kasper and Fabian (a vampire Earl) to manipulate and use her. Kasper in particular is very close to being guilty of domestically and verbally abusing Violet. However, Gibbs does repeatedly address the idea that these vampires are dark and powerful. They are not fluffy, sparkly, toothless vampires. For the most part I did find myself liking Violet, Kasper and Fabian (I personally would have made both Kasper and Fabian suffer a lot more for their actions)!

I can honestly say that this book has left me confused. It'll take at least another read to decide whether or not I really enjoyed it or really didn't!? There were some really funny parts, including sabotaged blood and destroyed condoms...! Eventually Violet transforms into a spunky, courageous character who doesn't want to be used by everybody whether that be for blood, sex, power or status. The story continues in the next book Autumn Rose (out in August 2013).

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