Greetings my fellow bibliomaniacs!
I apologize that it has been so long since my last post. Between finals and taking a trip to London (yes the home of Charles Dickens, among many others), it has been way too hectic to even read a book, let alone review them. While I had some down time in my hotel room, I was finally able to get around to reading a new series by Shayne Leighton. I had been a fan of her as an actress and singer, (if you get the chance, watch The Incubus. She not only starred in it, she wrote the screenplay!), and only recently did I find out she was an author as well. But I digress. In her debut series, Ms. Leighton breathes new life into the vampire genre, a subject that has been done many times in many ways, some would argue to the point of being repetitive and dull. This series is far from that.
The Of Light And Darkness series centers around the misadventures of Charlotte, a mere mortal of 18, and Valek, the vampire who finds her as an infant and raises her as his own. Right from the start the reader realizes how this precarious arrangement could easily turn deadly.
While many of the details surrounding the vampiric characters are ones readers are very familiar with, Ms. Leighton adds some twists that make her series unique. One of the additions to the vampire lore that I found fascinating is the "daily death" by the vampires. While we have long depicted the sun as being deadly to vampires, it has never seemed to affect them if they remain indoors, in the dark, in a coffin etc. In this series, they re-experience death as the sun rises. Gives a new perspective on the vampiric curse, doesn't it?
The settings in the novels are very lush with history and detail, the dialogue heartfelt and realistic, and most importantly, both characters are flawed. The reader is drawn into the the turmoil and emotional conflict between the two protagonists, often provoking both sympathy and scorn for the decisions made within the same chapter.
While love affairs between humans and vampires have often been written about, (don't even get me started on Twilight), this series is the only one I know of that transitions from a paternal relationship. Arguably, this could easily go wrong, but Ms. Leighton makes the leap from one to the other as seamless and "natural" as possible. (We all know vampires are seductive, so could we really see this not happening?).
While I cannot give away some of the other details I enjoyed due to exposing some significant plot twists, suffice it to say that Ms. Leighton's debut series is both fresh and original. Instead of casting vampires as the villains, they are the misunderstood heroes, throwing in an antagonist that is completely unexpected (again, I promised no spoilers, so go read the books and find out for yourself what I'm talking about!). In short, even if you've made yourself sick of the vampire genre, this series is worth diving into. Word is that there is also a 4th book on the way, so keep an eye out. I hope you all get the chance enjoy these books as much as I have!