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Sunday, December 09, 2007:
Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian
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Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Dell (May 1, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0553589377
ISBN-13: 978-0553589375


He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle's deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night--or this man--is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed--a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind--and the unwitting humans existing alongside them--from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.

Here, in the arms of the Breed's formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all . . . .

Yes, another vampire book. I'd seen this one around and thought it looked interesting, but everytime I picked it up at the bookstore, I'd think "ugh, another vampire book" and put it down again. I didn't want yet another take on the same old, same old. Then recently "Dear Author" did a review for the 3rd book in the series, "Midnight Awakening" and I was intrigued. I thought "what the hell?" and bought all 3 books.

It started out rather slow for me, and I worried that I picked up this book too hastily, but I soon found myself enjoying the story. Gabrielle reminds me a bit of myself in that she's more of a loner and not so much the party girl like her closest friends are. Gabrielle Maxwell is a photographer, and when we first meet her, she is suffering through a showing at an art gallery owned by her best friend Jamie. In celebration, Gabrielle, Jamie and two of their friends, Megan and Kendra decide to go out and celebrate, though Gabrielle would just rather go home and unwind, but not wanting to be a downer to her friends, she tags along to a hot new nightclub, La Notte, and ends up witnessing a brutal murder.

Horrified, she runs directly to the police, and is frustrated to find out that no one believes her, until later when Lucan Thorne shows up on at her door. He knows what she's seen as he is a Breed vampire, and a warrior who fights vamps gone bad, aka Rogues. See, all vamps are susceptible to Bloodlust, and once the addiction has taken over, there is no chance of going back. A vampire who has given into the Bloodlust is a mindless host, ruled by their uncontrollable need, and has no compunction about brutally killing innocent humans to feed their addiction. Some, who know their demise is eminent, choose to let the sun destroy them, while others, enthralled by their addiction and the so-called power that comes along with it, become Rogue vampires. These are the vampires Gabrielle saw that night, ravaging a human to death.

Of course Lucan has no intention of telling Gabrielle any of this. Instead he plans to take her cellphone, loaded with images from the night of the murder, and return it to her once any incriminating evidence has been destroyed. He also intends to erase her memories of that night, and eliminating any danger she may be in because of what she knows. Gabrielle turns out to be strongly resistant to Lucan's mind control, and as he is powerfully attracted to her, instead of disappearing without a trace, he can't seem to keep away from the dark-eyed, serious beauty. He knows he must however, as he has no intention of claiming any woman as his own. His loyalty is to his people, and as a Gen One vampire, he is their leader, and that is a role he doesn't take lightly. He deals in death and violence. He cannot afford to be distracted from his pledge.

While this is all going on, a mysterious enemy is planning world domination(!) As Master to Rogues and human Minions alike, this old and powerful enemy has plans to lead an all-out war against the Breed warriors, with the intention that the world will become his playground. He has already set his plan in motion, and both the Breeds and the humans will experience grief and betrayal as the battle commences.

I liked this story, felt there were some fresh ideas to this vampire world that I'd not seen in others I've read, and still others that have been a bit overused. Some readers may notice a few commonalities with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Fortunately I can say that other than a few brief instances, none of those comparisons detracted me away from this telling of Breed world. One of the elements I enjoyed is that Ms. Adrian "shows" us that Lucan is a tortured hero not just because she says he is, but because he has relentless demons of his own to battle, mainly his own slow descent into Bloodlust, a powerful demon that not even a happy ending can easily exorcise. Gabrielle also battles her own pain, but does so without becoming stupidly stubborn and reckless. For the most part, she comes across as a smart, sympathetic heroine, one who, except for one brief relapse, doesn't put herself into dangerous situations just to prove she's a big girl who can handle herself. I liked her quiet strength, despite her fears of what Lucan is and how he lives.

I would have liked to have seen Lucan and Gabrielle spend more time together. There is a distance between them that isn't easily breached. I do like that Gabrielle doesn't shy away from Lucan when he is at his worst, and he learns to accept her care at his weakest moments. Yet a lot of time was spent apart, as Lucan kept pushing her away from him. Hopefully we will see more of these two in the following books, and get a better understanding of the history of the Breeds, and what exactly motivates their enemy. There are still some intriguing secrets left to uncover, and I'm curious to find out what they are.

Rating: **** out of *****

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  1. I didn't know the third book was out! I have to get it. I like this series. The first book was a little slow for me in the beginning too but I liked it once I got into it. I liked the second book even better. Can't wait to get my hands on number 3! Great review.

  2. OK, I did the total wrong thing and read Midnight Awakened (the 3rd) first. I loved it. You're right, I know a lot of people (AAR) found the books to be too similar to BDB. I didn't at all. I think Lara has a fresh voice and take.

    Now I have to go back and buy the first two. Maybe this weekend.

    Thanks for the great review, Stacy. If you liked the book, I'm sure I will too.

  3. Cool Kelley, I didn't know you were reading them. Now I have someone else to talk to about them. Do you have a favorite Breed vamp?

    MK, Julie is gonna come after you LOL. DearAuthor totally did it for me with their review of book #3. What else are you reading these days?

  4. I have such a bad reputation. I wonder, how that happened.... :p

    Compared to BDB?? I'm there.
    I'm going to have to check this one out. Of course, I'll start with book one....

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