by GENA SHOWALTER
Lord of the Vampires is the first of what I understand to be a four book series, each book written by one of the stars of the paranormal romance/erotic fantasy genre. After reading Lord of the Vampires, I could not wait to read the rest and was lucky enough to be able to read them in short succession of one another.
Lord of the Vampires follows Nicolai, a blood drinking prince from the kingdom of Elden. Nicolai leads a next to perfect life, the only dark mark of which is the fact that his parents want him to choose a wife, and soon. Whilst rebelling against this wish in an elaborate fashion (sleeping with every chambermaid in the castle it seems) Nicolai is suddenly ripped out of his own reality and in an ironic twist of fate finds himself to be a sex slave to some very wicked (and it seems ugly) princess sisters in a neighbouring kingdom. He cannot remember who he is (to a certain extent), where he belongs and/or how he has come to be a sex slave. He does however know that he has a destiny to follow, the knowledge of which is ever present within him.
Through the practice of some interesting magic, Nicolai manages to draw Jane Parker into his dreams. Jane is from the human realm and knows nothing about the kingdom realm of which she will soon be a part. What she believes to be very erotic dreams with a fantasy lover soon out to be very real when she is drawn into the kingdom realm through Nicolai's magic. To assist him with his plot to escape his enslavement, Nicolai has ensured that Jane looks to the inhabitants of the kingdom realm exactly like one of his captors and a very cruel and wicked princess. Nicolai is however able to see her true form and nature and quickly enlists her aid to free him from captivity. They are however initially unable to escape some cruel curses that the princesses have placed on Nicolai and meet some interesting foes in their attempt to return to Elden, where Nicolai believes he must go.
As time progresses Nicolai regains more and more of his memories, in particular memories of how his parents were slain by a sorceror who uses the power of blood to fuel his magic and how his parents had, with their last breath cast duel spells. One to cast their children away from Elden (to safety) and one to ingrain in them an undying need for revenge. Nicolai also quickly realises that he does not only need Jane as a means to escape and/or to obtain blood, but that he loves her and needs her to be part of his life, forever.
Ultimately Nicolai and Jane triumph over their enemies, not without much adversity, and are able to start their journey back to the kingdom of Elden and the revenge which Nicolai will hopefully gain there. It's either that...or die trying.
WHAT I LIKED
I though the storyline of this first instalment to the Royal House of Shadows was an interesting and fresh one, which is not easy in todays day and age where the market is flooded with supernatural stories of vampires and the like. The idea of a powerful prince who needs nothing in his life becoming so vulnerable as to request the assistance of a mere human woman (who has faced and overcome her own trials) appeals to my more feminist side. By the same token however I love that Jane falls helplessly in love with such a strong and powerful male character as ultimately us females love to be nurtured and protected by such domineering males. Both characters (with certain exceptions) were well developed and had rich backgrounds which could be explored as one grew to know each of them in turn. The mileu of the series is described in such a way as to allow the reader to picture the kingdom and its unique creatures and features in his/her mind's eye.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
I did not like the fact that Nicolai turned a little neanderthal every now and then, using single word sentences when he became enraged and/or turned on. The whole "MINE" concept resonating within the lead characters from the moment they meet has been done and I really felt at some point that I was reading an instalment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward instead of a fresh new series. Whilst the steamy scenes were well written, they were few and far in between.
WHAT'S THE VERDICT
I really did enjoy the first instalment to this series which compelled me to keep on reading the first three instalments in one sitting. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who loves the genre, or even those who are attempting it for the first time!
The next instalment in the Royal House of Shadows Series is Lord of Rage, written by Jill Monroe and due for release on 20 September 2011. You can read my pre-release review on that later this week.