Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason

Title: The Rest Falls Away
Author: Colleen Gleason

Type: Historical Paranormal
Series: Yes; this is the first book in the The Gardella Vampire Chronicles.

Publisher: Signet Eclipse

Why: Blogger buzz around the time of its release put it on my TBR list. Just getting to it.

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil...

Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

Comments: This was a near miss for me. I nearly put it down as a DNF because it was so slow to start. I loved the premise, recalled the reviewer buzz and, with every turn of the page, craned my neck, squinting ahead, searching. Solid characterization of Victoria, the series’ protagonist never materialized, but the array of men in her life finally managed to pique my curiosity. So I kept reading.

The book starts with a dual coming out for Victoria. First, she accepts an inherited role as vampire hunter. A leap for me as Gleason provided little in the way of backstory and nothing of Victoria’s emotional motivation. Next, and I do mean literally next, like the very next evening, Victoria enjoys her society debut, her scripted plunge into the marriage mart. And again, there is little word of her personal expectations here. I was left with no sense of who she is, forced to just sit back and watch her go obligingly through the motions.

Much, much later, Gleason assembles the men in Victoria’s life: Max, another vampire hunter, the Marquess of Rockley, ideal husband material, and Sebastion, a mystery player in the vampire wars. Gleason does a wonderful job of hooking readers here. I wanted to know which Victoria would choose and was pleasantly surprised when Gleason stuck to role playing—pairing Victoria with Rockley in a marriage expected of her. Granted, I didn’t easily buy the idea that she was in love with him, but I appreciated the first hint of emotional conflict for Victoria.

She was mired in it for the remainder of the book and, as the reader, so was I. Gleason saves the book at this point. Drawing readers into the danger, adding flesh to each of these characters, binding them to one another. From here, it was an exciting and fast read—even though I knew it would not include a satisfying “end.” At least not in the traditional sense. No HEA, but plenty of speculation and great tension-building between Victoria and her men. Enough to convince the reader to pick up the next installment.

Gleason’s press materials include her own comments on motivation. She is a fan of Buffy and the chick from Alias. I couldn’t sum up The Rest Falls Away any better. Not wholly original, but well marketed, or contrived, to fit today’s fiction trends. Right down to her gorgeous book covers. Without going back to find the original blogger buzz, I’d hazard a guess that Gleason’s premise was the real hook. And the subsequent lack of buzz or emulation reflects her failure to establish her place in this arena through voice and characterization. At least in the first book.

Anyone have any comments on her second book, Rises The Night? Are we drawn deeper? Or left sitting in the audience?

To Save You Some Time: The second in this series, Rises The Night is available now. The third, The Bleeding Dusk, is due February 5, 2008.


  1. I bought this when it first came out, but have not read it yet. I did borrow it out to a friend who couldn't finish it. I still plan on reading it at some point, because the premise does sound good to me. I just don't know when I'm going to get to it.

  2. I have read it, and liked it, but certainly didn't love it! The strange thing was that lots of people who don't read romance loved it. As someone who does read romance I didn't love it, but I still have the second one here to read.

    What Colleen is good at, is getting her name around on the internet at least!

  3. I liked it and I really liked Rises the Night. However, I have a nit to pick about spine labeling. These books are not romances. They aren't. They're very interesting paranormal books with some romantic undercurrents and there may be romance at some point (as we've been promised) but I think the label on the spine gives false expectations and it's not fair to Gleason or readers.

    You are drawn deeper in Rises the Night, a lot of introspection I felt was done rather well.

  4. I much prefer the second book to the first. I didn't care for Victoria's ridiculous husband, Phillip, and was surprised that she married him. Sebastian AND Max are far more interesting and become even more so in Rises the Night.

  5. Thanks Ladies! Exactly what I needed to hear. I am going to go ahead and read the second book. I suspect I will be drawn deeper.

  6. This was a DNF for me. I had bought the second one at the same time as the first, but I was so bored with The rest falls away that I gave away Rises the night without even cracking the spine.

  7. Hmm, interesting, I thought everyone loved this book. I haven't read anything by CG yet but I will try her out sometime...I'm just not in the mood for paranormals right now.


Have you read it? What do you think?

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