Monday, May 23, 2011
ARC: Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane
Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation, she's a supercharged hunter with the power to slay any vampire who violates the age-old treaty.
A recent string of murders has her at odds with Las Vegas's new Scion, the arrogant and powerful Clive Stewart. The killings have the mark of Vampire all over them, and Rowan warns Clive to keep his people in line—or she'll mete out her own brand of justice.
Though her dealings with Clive are adversarial to say the least, Rowan is intensely aware of her attraction to him. But she can't let it distract her from her duty—to find and battle the killer before more women die.
I'm not a big fan of the paranormal or the urban fantasy. I especially dislike when different breeds/species, etc are paired up as a dynamic duo. It's the main reason that I never read past book 1 in the Immortals After Dark series. I hate having to keep it all straight – it's just too much work for a pleasure read. I was a little worried when in the first chapter of Goddess With a Blade, I felt lost, unsure of who or what Rowan was. By the 2nd chapter, I pretty much had it figured out, and was able to move forward.
The blurb is pretty much a good summary of the basic plot. Intermixed in there are all the dynamics that happen between a vampire hunter and the head honcho vampire who are intensely attracted to each other.
One thing I liked about this one is that Rowan is a strong, capable, kickass woman, but she isn't preachy. In a couple of recent books, I've felt almost as though I was getting a lesson on proper male-female relations straight from the heroine's mouth. Not so here. In fact, Rowan is a bit messy, which I really liked.
I liked that Clive recognized he had a big problem within his vampire community, but wasn't completely wowed by everything Rowan told him. They each had a hefty dose of skepticism for the truthiness of the other's evidence and beliefs and yet at the same time have to deal with being on opposite sides in a centuries-long battle. Add in a healthy shot of snarkiness, especially on Rowan's part, and human friends and victims, plus Rowan's 'foster' father (the full head of all the vampires) and it's a recipe for a great ride.
As in most vampire books, there is a lot of gore and descriptiveness surrounding the fights and the deaths, but since I happen to love blood and gore, I was just fine with it.
I really liked Rowan's cop friend as well. He added a touch of grittiness and reality to the story, as well as a bit of a noir-type feel.
Rowan and Clive will never have an easy road to an HEA. There's too much conflict for that. But the sexiness of their scenes together, and the underlying desire they have to make it right (I think) will help them along the way.
This is one of those books that made me sit back in awe at the imagination of authors, and realize that I could never, ever be an author. I'm far too literal and boring.
To summarize: a tough-as-nails otherworldly vampire hunter heroine and a badass vamipre hero who turn each other's world upside down. Throw in a few more very complicated relationships and you have a terrificly fun and intense book.
I enjoyed it a lot, which kind of surprised me, since I'm pretty clear this isn't my thing. But as always, I should have trusted Dane to deliver a great story, no matter what species the characters are. You have a sense immediately who Rowan is, and Clive takes a little longer, but I got a really good feel for him as well. Vampire with honor among all the other Vampire traits? Yes, I thought so.
Thank you to Lauren Dane for an advance look at this one. Highly recommended!