Oh good lord this book is dull! I really HATE to give bad reviews, I truly do…it’s not something I enjoy but I feel, as a reader who knows how difficult it is for authors to get reviews that it’s my duty to write them be it good or bad and be honest about my opinion…hopefully I get to write how much I loved the book but as you can see by my star rating my opinion for this one is not a good one.
This book has a different take on the whole Vampire genre, where we have a subset of “good” vampires who used to be Vikings mentored by the Archangel Michael (aka Mike), who for the last seven hundred or so years have been fighting off the bad guys while trying to redeem themselves in God’s eyes to pay for sins of long ago.
Vikar, the main viking/vampire/angel finds himself in Transylvania, PA (did it have to rhyme? I feel there should be a whole song around it) for “the reckoning” (harken Highlander). This is.basically a coming together of hundreds of “vangels” (does that sound wrong to anyone else?) and he’s tasked with turning an old dilapidated castle (in Pennsylvania?) into what amounts to a vampire convention center/hotel.
In comes Alexandra Kelly, a reporter from Washington, D.C. who lost her estranged husband and daughter when they were brutally murdered by drug lords. She discovers that two of the people guilty for their deaths might get off on a technicality so of course she decides she just might kill them herself. I can see the urge to want to do that…but there’s truly no compelling urgency for this from Alex. Conveniently there have been vampire sightings in Pennsylvania so her boss trundles her off from Washington, D.C. to Transylvania, PA. Yeah, a serious reporter is heading off to cover a vampire sighting story….uh huh, okay, whatever (insert eye roll here.)
This is how Alexandra and Vikar meet. She shows up on his doorstep one day and ends up babbling about how her shoes are killing her feet. And here we have an example of just some of the shoddy dialogue in this book. I mean what “professional” woman is really going to tell a gorgeous man answering the door that her feet are killing her in her new shoes?! None! Well, not unless she’s going “look, see my pretty new shoes…they’re killing me but they’re gorgeous aren’t they?” Even then however, she’s not likely to do that because she’d sound like a babbling idiot! She may think it, but she’d never state it out loud…it doesn’t feel like natural dialogue. It’s just one example of the many exchanges that drove me crazy and had me rolling my eyes. The dialogue was….artificial.
Naturally when Vikar meets Alexandra he immediately picks up on her sins or better yet…her possible future sins (now there’s a special talent) and instinctively knows she must be cleansed or she will be pursued by demons and hunted down. It now becomes his job to save her, while she stays to crack the story….”yawn”!
So I sat down to write my review, wrote it, and scrapped it hating what I had written. I found myself thinking “am I being too harsh here?” but while my opinion may not be a popular one, it is my view of this book. Ms. Hill not only failed to grab me as a reader, she also failed to make her characters believable, to make the story believable. The glowing reviews this story has received are really baffling me. There are so many problems with it.
One of my biggest issues with it is with the characters themselves. Alex, we know lost her loved ones a mere two years ago. Ms. Hill informs us that she wallows in self-pity and fury. Sure, I could understand that in a character…but we never see it. It’s the same with how she feels about those who killed her loved-ones, she’s set on revenge and murder but you never feel it and that is supposed to be the “future sin” that Vikar picks up on? There is absolutely nothing, other than Ms. Hill flat-out stating this is how Alexandra feels that conveys any sense of genuine feeling…it should be palpable. Instead she comes across as pretty laid back and easy going. She’s someone who pretty readily accepts that vampires and angels exist and just flops right into the situation of living with all these strangers so readily. It simply isn’t believable…even my imagination couldn’t go along with it.
Vikar has the same issue. He’s the leading man in a “romance” and he doesn’t come across as sexy or appealing at all as a love interest. A big brother or good buddy? Sure, I’ll buy that but there’s absolutely no chemistry! There ends up being no real understanding of why these two characters would fall for each other, yet again it’s just something we are told…it’s not shown to us as readers.
As for the story as a whole, Ms. Hill tries to pull off a very light-hearted feel to it, I can see that but it just doesn’t fit with the very dark back-stories of the many characters she introduces. I really feel this would have been more successful if it had been darker, more brooding in nature….why she took the light-hearted approach I don’t know but it doesn’t fit.
Admittedly, this story does have potential but it really went wrong.
It took me three attempts to finally force myself to finish it but I did because ethically I cannot bring myself to write a review without fully reading the book (I have seen some reviewers do that). Sadly, my opinion stayed at 1 star. The writing is so juvenile and lacks a natural flow.
So, while I hate writing bad reviews (as I stated earlier) I cannot recommend this book, not in good conscience….sorry Ms. Hill. I hope to read another of your books one day and get a chance to write you a glowing review. Oh, but on a good note…I do really like the cover art!