LynneC’s review of The Vampire Voss (The Regency Dracula Series, Book 1) by Colleen Gleason
Paranormal Historical Romance published by Mira 22 Mar 11
I was excited starting this book. A paranormal set in Regency England. Boss!
The read was – satisfactory, which for a new subgenre isn’t bad at all. It didn’t knock my socks off, but I wasn’t disappointed, either. Yes, it’s one of those reviews. Something that annoys me more than somewhat is the formatting. It isn’t good. I read it on my Kindle. Scene breaks disappeared or weren’t there, and the chapter headings weren’t clear. The cover put me off a bit because of the depiction of the hero. Not exactly the man of anyone’s dreams.
Voss and Dimitri, both peers of the realm, are rival vampires. But there is a bigger, badder vampire, who, if I’m not mistaken, will feature in a future story. But for now, the initial trilogy concerns Voss, Dimitri, and a female vampire, Narcise, the sister of aforesaid Big Bad.
The first ninety pages, yes ninety, are pretty tedious, I’m afraid to say. It would have been much better sliced or better still, left out. It would be interesting if someone new to the book could start at that page (the ballroom scene) and see how they get on. I ploughed through, wincing at the Americanisms, as is my wont, but reminding myself that this is a Regency with vampires.
Ms. Gleason has kept to the period fairly well. Apart from having molasses, gotten, and whiskey (whisky is a Victorian drink – whiskey came later, and yes, there are distinct differences), frock (a frock was a gentleman’s informal coat in this period, not a woman’s dress) I worked my way through. The errors aren’t bad enough to make me stop. What nearly did make me put the book down is the tedium. There are lots of explanations and backstory, and I really didn’t care. The hero and heroine aren’t different or interesting enough to keep me going, but I’d received this book as an ARC, and the premise intrigued me enough. And maybe her editor could persuade her to use the phrase “a bit” a bit less. That’s repeated and repeated until I started looking for it.
Yes, if I get the book as an ARC, I’m far more likely to read all the way through. I received the book, after all, and I owe them something in return, although not a good review. The reader deserves honesty.
Okay, so Voss and Angelica, the heroine, are forced together after a deliciously dramatic scene in a ballroom on or around page ninety. To give you an idea, that’s about a quarter of the way through my copy. That’s where things start looking up. Voss wants Angelica, although he knows he shouldn’t, and she is attracted to him, although he is a vampire, and, as such, her enemy, because she is the sister of the greatest vampire hunter around.
It’s all a bit Gothic, which is appropriate for the period that saw the release of “The Mysteries of Udolpho,” “The Monk,” and “Northanger Abbey.” But the violent emotions get a little wearing at times, and sometimes I had to stretch my credibility to believe in the world she’s created.
For instance, the big ballroom scene includes Big Bad Vampire attacking various members of the aristocracy, and yet the world at large doesn’t seem to be aware of their existence. No mention of a coverup, either. You’d think that the British press would be up in arms about it the next day, and, as we all know, the press can’t be bribed to keep quiet when there’s a story like that around (and they didn’t have D notices or superinjunctions in those days!) Maybe I’m confused, but it didn’t seem that the world at large is talking about it. It didn’t seem like an alternative universe, although of course, it is. Now I’m confusing myself.
Once the story got going, I plunged in, and it’s a breakneck race to the finish. Voss is a typical Stoker-esque vampire, but Gleason has a few interesting variations on the theme. The most powerful vampires were created by Lucifer himself and had a mark on their backs that throbbed and gave them pain when they refused to feed in the most violent, destructive way possible. I like that touch. And they are day walkers, although they can’t go into bright sunlight. They will still burn up.
I’m happy that most of the vampires knew what they were getting into, and they were happy with their bargain.
Now Angelica and her sister. They work reasonably well. Angelica isn’t a complete ninny, and she did fight back, but she seems a little naïve. She has a special gift, the gift of seeing when someone would die, if she holds something that belongs to them. This is a genuine gypsy gift, but a gypsy grandmother is stretching things a tiny bit. Never mind, it works.
Sex? Not so much. Very little, even kisses, but Voss is attracted to Angelica, despite his tortuous problems. She brings out the tenderness in him.
So it’s a curate’s egg read. Will I read the next book, about Dimitri? Probably, because I have it as an ARC, and it is interesting enough. But I hope she gets down to the story a bit faster in the next one.
Regency London – a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men.
But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer’s own.
Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member the Dracule – a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls – the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral … until Angelica.
Angelica Woodmore possess the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger – for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him – to protect her.
Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica … but this vampire never backs down from a fight.
Read an excerpt. (scroll down)
Other books in this series: