There’s a subgenere of urban fantasy that ought to be given a name. It goes something like this: once upon a time, meaning right now, there was a young woman. She has been alone and unloved her entire life. She was either orphaned in horrific circumstances or adopted under mysterious circumstances. Either way, she doesn’t know her real origins. She has some unknown power and no one she can ask about that power–see orphaning or adopting above. When her power is suddenly required, a hunter is sent after her, and life as she knew it goes to hell in the proverbial handcart.
The heroine’s journey is to discover her previously unknown power, and make it work for her in time to save herself from the evil that has been stalking her all her life. Sometimes all her previous lives as well. She usually discovers the secrets of her past, As an added bonus she may manage the redemption and love of her hunter.
So, if we’ve all read this story before, what makes it worth reading again?
Dark Awakening by Kendra Leigh Castle threw in some new elements to this old story. Lily Quinn, the heroine of this story, was no pushover. She never expected to be rescued. Lily was an active participant, an equal player in everything that happened once she understood what the stakes were. Speaking of stakes, both the good guys and the bad guys were vampires. A big part of the story had to do with vampire internal racism. Apparently these vampires think that vamps who can turn into animals are less vampy than those who turn into mist. Of course, to the humans, fangs are fangs. (Yes, I read this as commentary about humans. Your mileage may vary)
The vampire who comes to hunt Lily is one of those vamps on the supposedly lower end of the vamp social register. Ty is a member of the Cait Sith–he hunts as a cat. He also purrs when stroked, whether whichever form he happens to be in.
Escape Rating B: Humans love to write about vampires with convoluted political structures. In this case, the politics have become so twisted they have turned on themselves. And any vampire society where House Dracul (yes, that Dracul) turn out to be the good guys (again, for certain select definitions of good) has more than enough twists and turns to keep me looking for the next book. Expect to meet a representative of every vampire family you’ve seen from everywhere and everywhen, but used in ways you were not expecting.
Lily isn’t quite what anyone was expecting, either. And that’s a very good thing…for everyone.