Friday, May 27, 2011

The Vampire Narcise by Colleen Gleason

Skilled in the seduction of men, both mortal and immortal, Narcise Moldavi is the greatest weapon in her twisted brother's war among the Dracule. Until she falls for Giordan Cale.

Her first searing encounter with Giordan seals their fierce connection for their eternal lives. But Giordan's vow to help Narcise escape her brother's rule is followed by a betrayal more agonizing than sunlight.

Wounded but determined, Narcise ensnares vampire hunter Chas Woodmore in her quest for revenge and to reclaim her life. He wants her, worships her, will kill for her.

And the Dracule never forget a wrong— nor do they forgive.

I was a bit worried when I knew that I was about to start this book. The first two books were okay, but the second bothered me a bit due to the repetition of the story from the first book. If this book had started at the same point and retold it again, I am not sure that I would have continued reading.

Instead the novel starts ten years earlier. Narcise Moldavi is the prisoner of her brother, Cezar, compelled to regularly fight against opponents organised by him. If they win, they get her to do with as they please. If she wins, she is left alone.Given her extensive training over many, many years, she generally wins.

Enter Giordan Cale, another vampire and visitor to Cezar to enter into a business deal. He sees Narcise and wants her instantly, and for a while it seems as though he will be the first man in many years to get underneath her cold, distant but beautiful facade. Cezar is a game player from way back, and he manipulates the situation in such a way as to ensure that Narcise is left believing that Giordan has deceived her in a way that she can never forgive.

I loved this part of the story. Setting up the how it was that Narcise was under the control of her horrid brother, the lengths he would go to ensure that Narcise remained his possession, the strong connection between Giordan and Narcise and the depth of Cezar's conflicted emotions in relation to her, and how far he would go to get what he would want made for compelling and interesting reading.

The story moves on ten years, and my instant thought on reading that was uh-oh, here comes the repetition, but thankfully Colleen Gleason avoided that trap. Most of the action is alluded to, skirted around the edges if you like. Narcise is still under the control of her brother until she is rescued by Chas Woodmore, brother to the heroines of Vampire Voss and Vampire Dimitri. Chas is a vampire hunter who hates the fact that he is attracted to vampires, but he is very attracted to Narcise. She however, has not allowed herself to feel anything for any man since Giordan. She does allow herself one emotion when she thinks of the man who betrayed her - hatred, strong and pure. She is however willing to attach herself to Chas because he can save her from the life she has been living for so long.

There were times that I found myself wondering why this hadn't been the first book in the series with the set up, the rescuing of Narcise (which you knew about in the first two books but didn't see), but I suspect if you read this third book without having read at least the first book it would be a little difficult to follow the narrative. It needed the foundation that had been set in those earlier books, despite the fact that a lot of the action in this book took place before the events of the first two books, and then after those two books.

Unlike in the first two books, which to me were basically standard romance novels draped in paranormalcy and dressed in Regency attire, this book took some risks. Whilst the back cover blurb makes it clear who the hero of this book is going to be, the relationship between Chas and Narcise was also strong and well developed, putting her in the position of having to choose between two men who loved her.

I was glad to find out more about the talents of the younger Woodmore sister, and I can't help but wonder if we might hear more about her in future. I did find myself wondering again why Maia missed out in terms of special talents (other than bossiness), but maybe it was just to make it a little less predictable. I have no idea what Gleason's plans are in terms of what she is working on next.

One of the key features of all three novels was how do the vampires escape the fate that they have chosen, and I found the transformation that Giordan had undergone, and the impact of that transformation to be quite interesting, and certainly wasn't a twist that I have seen in a vampire novel before. Did I find the outcome for Narcise to be believable? Well not really, but it would be a bit irrelevant to say that you need to suspend disbelief, because these are paranormal romance novels and so you have to suspend disbelief from the beginning.

For me, this trilogy started out slowly, was repetitive, but ended on a high with this book.

Thanks to Netgalley for the e-ARC.

Rating: 4/5

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