I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: The Nightlife #1
Published by Independent on August 18, 2012
Genres: Erotica, Urban Fantasy
Aaron Pilan’s life is forever changed when he’s shot trying to rescue a drop-dead gorgeous woman on the streets of New York. Aaron is thrust into the shocking world of vampiric slavery when Michelle shares her blood to save his life.
Michelle's existence as a solitary vampire is also altered when she accepts this naive young man into her life. Bound by her blood, Aaron is subject to her authority. He walks a tightrope of strictly controlled feeding regiments and intense sexual adventures while catering to the neurotic control-freak tendencies of his new master. She vows to eliminate him if he proves too difficult to control.
This story is bold and evocative, infusing blood, sex, love and turmoil in an urban drama about two vampires battling evil outside and within themselves.
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My Initial Reaction…
I was on the fence with this book – there were parts of it that I really liked, loved even. But there were also parts that I didn’t like, got annoyed with and even hated. In the end, I like the characters and the main plot was interesting enough to keep me reading to the next book.
Aaron is the typical nice guy, who holds a stable, but uninspiring job, has a couple of friends he likes to drink a few beers with and an ex-girlfriend he hasn’t quite gotten over yet, until he sees Michelle. If a couple of dirty cops hadn’t started harassing her and treating her like a prostitute, he probably would have gone on with his ordinary life. But when he moves in to help Michelle, who needs no help from him since she’s a vampire, he takes a stray bullet and his life changes forever.
I like Aaron – every glimpse into his head reveals a truly good person. He has good intentions, genuinely cares about other people, and really just wants to do what’s best. His inner dialogue, particularly while he’s still figuring out his change, is pretty funny. Luedke has done a really great job creating a lovable character, which is why I was so disappointed when Aaron falls out of character in a scene very close to the end of the book. There are moments throughout when vampire instincts take over and he acts violently, but those moments make sense, and even then he fights to control himself. In this particular scene, involving his ex-girlfriend, there is no such extenuating circumstance. It was a horrible scene that you wanted to go any number of different ways and was too far out of character for Aaron. I hope it isn’t a sign of the new person he will be in future books, because I may not like them if it is.
I also like Michelle. She’s a vampire with a conscience, but not because she’s a genuinely nice person like Aaron. In fact, at times I feel she’s quite the opposite. But Michelle is a much more complex character than Aaron – she has a scarred past and it has left a deep mark on her. I enjoyed the way Luedke gradually unraveled her character’s mysteries and I look forward to learning more about her. I did, however, find her French particularly annoying after a while. I understand it helped define her character, and I often read books where characters have accents or use some foreign language, but there was something very jilted about the way it’s inserted into most the conversations.
I do not like Aaron and Michelle together. This is an erotic novel and all else is really secondary, which isn’t a problem for me since I expected it. But their “romance” mostly felt detached and clinical. It was not exciting most the time. Added to my frustration with these scenes was Aarons immediate (so immediate I wouldn’t consider it a spoiler) love for Michelle. I’m not a big fan of insta-love – it takes serious skill for me to believe it and here, I didn’t. What I saw was insta-lust and I wish it had been portrayed that way instead. However, the other sexual moments in the book – particularly the seduction of humans – was much more enjoyable and mostly made up for what was missing between Aaron and Michelle.
Although the plot was meant to be secondary to the eroticism of this book, I enjoyed the storyline more than most the erotic scenes, leaving me wishing it had been more prominent. We’re introduced to the antagonists at the same time we meet Michelle – the two dirty detectives that are pestering her and that shoot Aaron by mistake. These detectives are a bit over-the-top dirty, and you’re sure to roll your eyes from time to time. But they do provide an interesting conflict. Let’s just say they aren’t happy to have been shown up by Michelle and want to get their hands on her, before their boss can get a statement from her that might finally get them off the streets. I found them to be an interesting conflict, even if they were a bit ridiculously stereotypical.
The other main storyline was Aaron’s transformation and adjustment to life as a vampire. Luedke wrote this very well, throwing in some neat twists for what it means to be a vampire in this fantasy world. I think the vampires he’s created are the perfect blend of the old and the new; you’re comfortable with them living up to your expectations about vampires and you’re also excited by their own unique talents and weaknesses. I particularly liked Luedke’s reworking of exactly what it means to sire a vampire and the implications of biting a human, both were neat twists that added some complications and twists to the plot.
This is a fun book worth taking a look at, but it didn’t leave me dying to read the next one, though I do want to read it. Nor do I suspect I’ll ever do a reread. The characters are well written and, despite some shortcomings, the book is an enjoyable read.
Get it for FREE on Amazon (limited time)