Regency London – a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men.One of the best things about Colleen Gleason’s Gardella Vampire series was that it was different. Yes, it was a series with vampires, but it was set in the Regency, the main focus was the vampire hunters rather than the vampire itself, and it was the female character who had the power.
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.
In this, the first instalment of the Vampire Draculia trilogy, we are back in more familiar territory. Whilst there is a vampire hunter, who may become more important as the series progresses, it is the vampires that are the focus here, and it is the male vampire at that. The series is again set in the Regency, but the things that made the Gardella series stand out a bit are missing.
The other thing is that where the Gardella series had a more urban fantasy feel, this first book at least is firmly in romance territory. Now, as a romance reader that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Gleason had a strong supporter base of readers who didn’t normally read romance and I am not sure that all of those readers will necessarily follow her past this first book.
The vampire mythology is pretty standard for the most part – need blood to feed, can’t go in the sunlight, can use his eyes to cast a thrall on his unsuspecting victims. There were a couple of twists that I thought were interesting, the first being that there is one item that weekends each individual vampire and that item is different for all of them, and if they are smart they will keep that weakness a secret lest someone take advantage of that knowledge. The other I can’t tell you about without spoiling, so you will have to read to find out what that is!
Voss Arden, Lord Dewhirst is 148 years old, and has been a vampir for the vast majority of that time. He is a man who lives by his appetites and has done for many years. He thinks nothing of feeding off of or bedding young misses of whatever part of society. He is also a loner, by choice. By not aligning himself with either of the vampire factions he provides information to both sides, at a price, and as a result if not exactly trusted by them he can gain access to both sides.
Our heroine, Miss Angelica Woodmore, is a young society miss with a difference. She has the gift of the sight, and by touching an item belong to someone she can tell how that person is to die. It is a very handy gift to have, especially when other young ladies in the ton ask her to tell her about the futures of prospective husbands.
When her brother goes missing, her elder sister Maia is extremely worried, especially when it turns out that he has made his sisters the ward of Dimitri , a man she has never met before. Angelica is not so worried. She knows what the scene will look like when her brother dies and it isn’t now. She carries the burden of this knowledge about her nearest and dearest.
Quite unusually she has seen the death of a man that she has never met before in her dreams. When he turns up dressed exactly as she saw him to a ball, she tries to warn his companions, one of them being Voss, and so their story begins. Voss knows that one of the Woodmore sisters has the Sight. It is a question of which one. Being the mercenary he is, he wants information, and he will do whatever he can to get it. Unfortunately, the other major vampire group, headed by a vampire called Moldavia, also want the Woodmore sisters for the same reason, and they are likely to do much more than just gain the information.
Voss therefore feels compelled to ensure Miss Woodmore’s safety. Dimitri however thinks that Angelica needs to be kept safe from Voss, and therefore as Voss tries to protect her, Dimitri tries to keep her away from him, and other vampires circle trying to kidnap her too.
The biggest weakness in this book for me was Angelica. She has the Sight and it is used a couple of times during the first part of the book, but after setting up, this didn’t play a huge role in the later events in the book. She was just kind of there for a lot of the book, as an object of desire as seen through Voss’s burning vampire eyes.
Due to the fact that I can’t stop reading a series once I start it, and because I have requested the next two books in the series from Netgalley, I will read the rest of the trilogy. Maybe the move to a straighter romance structure will gain Gleason new fans amongst romance readers, but I am not sure that many of her other non romance reading fans will come along for the ride with her.