THE DARK HEROINE (Dinner with a Vampire) by Abigail Gibbs
[box title=”DARK HEROINE” color=”#a60808″]
Author: Abigail Gibbs
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA (Fantasy/Vampire)
Format: Hard copy (paperback)
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: 11th October 2012
Recommended Reading Age: 16 +
THE LOWDOWN: If you like vampire novels, dark, moody lead charaters and some twists and turns, then you want to read this book. I think this is a must for anyone seeking a new vampire book boyfriend and especially one for those with a ‘Twilight Hangover’ that want a new world to immerse themselves in. Kaspar Varn is a great lead and while Violet may take a while to warm to (she did for me), as their story progresses, it gets good!
[note color=”#ebeae6″]SYNOPSIS: One moment can change your life forever…
For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape… no matter how hard Violet tries.
Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.
Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price.
THE NITTY GRITTY: I unashamedly loved the Twilight Series, but I have to say it kind of ruined Vampire novels for me as I have been very reluctant to read others since; desperately worried that I might not like the lead as much as I like Edward in the books.
So, it was with some trepidation that I picked up this book and I have to confess it was more the story behind the author that pushed me into buying it. A brief aside; Abigail Gibbs was writing on an online community, sharing this story and gathering critique and feedback to shape its outcome. She had developed a solid following and people were devouring the installments. It was the social media flurry about her novel that landed her a publishing deal with Harper Collins imprint ‘Voyager’ and now she is a published author as she studies English at Oxford – yes, that is some story. I had to give it a go.
I really, really enjoyed this book. I would never have guessed it was a breakthrough novel as Gibbs has created a wonderful world which delivers depth, both in its characters and setting. My resistance to the book clung on for a while, I have to be honest. I didn’t like or particularly believe in the actions of Violet to start with and I kept yelling things like: ‘No teenage girl would have done that!’….but, I stuck with her and once we started to see more of Violet and Kaspar together, I started to become intrigued and I warmed to her.
Kaspar is a great lead male character…he is aloof, rude, challenging and stuck in his ways but it was fun to see him adapt and bend as Violet’s influence over him changed his demeanor. As Vampire males go, I loved Kaspar, even his name was great!
The story sees Violet held captive at the Varn’s palatial mansion not so far from her home in London, but she is unable to leave and learns she is unlikely to be saved as many people in the Government know of the existence of Vampires and there are rules and treaties defining behaviors to keep things secret.
The Varns are powerful, rich and live purely to suit themselves. The house hosts huge, lavish parties and Violet is forced to be paraded around like a pet, which she hates. What we do learn is that over time, Violet’s ice-cold reactions to Kaspar’s egotistical behavior, his insistence that she will, whether she realizes it or not, give in to him – warm, and she starts to feel like maybe she doesn’t want to leave. The way in which Violet examines her changing feelings about her captors is really strong and it is exciting to see her react to them. Her personality comes through a lot more from the middle of the book onwards.
The way in which this plot thickens and the more we learn about the existence of other worlds and dimensions was wonderful and took us away from the ‘Twilight’ mindset (it did for me at least) and while I won’t give any spoilers, the story twists beautifully as it is revealed what made Kaspar so drawn to Violet in the first place.
The reason I couldn’t bring myself to give this five stars, was purely based on the fact that, while in the most part Gibbs created a new Vampire world for me, there were just some elements that felt too ‘borrowed’ from other Vampires we know and love. Overall though, a wonderful debut and I will definitely read others in this series.
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