Formats available: ebook, mass market paperback
Genre: Western steampunk paranormal romance
Series: The Legend Chronicles #2
Length: 353 pages
Publisher: Zebra Books
Date Released: April 3, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
Brothers Winchester, Remington, and Colt know the legends–they were trained from childhood to destroy demon predators, wielding the latest steam-powered gadgetry. It’s a devil of a job. But sometimes your fate chooses you. . .
Winn Jackson isn’t interested in hunting nightmares across the Wild West–even if it’s the family business. Unlike his rakehell brothers, Winn believes in rules. As sheriff of Bodie, California, he only shoots actual law breakers. That’s what he’s doing when he rescues the Contessa Drossenburg, Alexandra Porter, a lady with all the elegance of the Old World–grace, beauty and class. And then he sees her fangs.
Alexandra isn’t just some bloodsucking damsel in distress, though. She’s on a mission to save her people–and she’s dead certain that Winn’s family legacy is the only way. Luckily, aside from grace and class, she also has a stubborn streak a mile wide. So like it or not, Winn is going to come back with her to the mountains of Transylvania, and while he’s at it, change his opinions about vampires, demon-hunting, and who exactly deserves shooting. And if she has her way, he’s going to do his darnedest to save the world. . .
Although strangely enough, there IS a Hellmouth, or near enough, and Winn Jackson needs to close it. He’s also crazy enough to get himself involved with a vampire.
So there are a few coincidences.
But Winn’s vampire is Countess Drossenburg. She’s helping him find one-third of the Book of Legends. Not out of the goodness of her no-longer-beating heart.
But because if the Archdemon Rathe opens the Gates of Nyx, he’ll enslave all the humans, and the vampires will lose their food source.
Enlightened self-interest is a powerful motivator, even for vampires. Vladimir, Alexandra’s cousin, emperor, and betrothed (in pretty much that order or importance to her) sent her to America to bring the oldest brother of the Chosen to Europe.
Why? To find the part of the Book that Rathe’s allies had stolen from Vlad’s castle.
Winn decides to go along for the ride. Not because he believes that he and his brothers are the Chosen, but because he’s still their big brother, and he still needs to protect them.
And because he finds Alexa tempting as hell, in spite of her being Darkin, and his sworn enemy as a Hunter. He needs her to find that damn book.
Anything to stop Rathe.
Alexa hasn’t felt anything since her husband died, two centuries ago. She does not want to be tempted by this Hunter who sees her as an ememy. But adventuring with Winn makes her feel something she hasn’t felt in centures. Winn makes her feel alive.
Alexa wants to step aside from the temptation he represents, but Vlad orders her to protect Winn. Alexa obeys, in spite of the prophecy that says she will betray all she holds dear, and will die at the hands of the one she loves.
Will it be worth the cost? Can they stop Rathe before it is too late?
Escape Rating B+: The Book of Legends series is an absolutely grand adventure of the Indiana Jones school of death-defying deeds and thrills and chills on every page. I would say it’s a fantastic lark, except that the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The beginning of the story runs in parallel to The Hunter (reviewed here). It shows exactly the same events, just told from Winn’s point of view instead of Colt’s, so there is a bit of repetition. The Slayer even uses the same dialog. It’s good for the story that this doesn’t go on too long.
Winn’s story branches off when Winn leaves on the Countess’ airship for Europe. Then things get really interesting, but there are similarities to the previous book in the series.
The theme of unresolved sexual tension does ratchet up the stress in both books. These two people are not supposed to get together! So they resist mightily throughout the story, only giving in very late in the game. While it made sense in both Colt’s and Winn’s books, I hope Remy’s story follows at least a slightly different path.
I adored the ship and crew of Le Renaud. When Winn and his vampire need to return to America, they find an all-female pirate ship to take them back. Every scene with the pirates was terrific! I think we’ll be seeing more of them, because of some backstory, and that’s going to be fascinating.
Meyers definitely puts the steam in steampunk, as the cover blurb says, but it’s more than that. This adventure romps across Europe, and gets more inventive and more wild with every mile it travels. Whew! what a blast!