Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Rest Falls Away, by Colleen Gleason

Rating: 4/5
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
347 pages
Source: My collection

Description: Vampire have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long ago taken over  the world.

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her duty. And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make a choice between obligation and love... (From the back cover)

Review: Let's start with the elephant in the room. This series seems to have been strongly inspired by Buffy:The Vampire Slayer. That said, it does manage not to be a direct rip-off of it. There's more than one slayer in the world, a previous slayer doesn't need to die, people aren't from the correct bloodline can gain vampire slaying powers, and Victoria even has the option not to become the slayer. But, all things said and done, Victoria's still kind of Regency era Buffy.

I do think that works in the books favor however. Trying to balance having a life, having a relationship with someone who doesn't know what's going on, and trying to learn to be a Venator (the name for vampire slayers in this book's world) creates a lot of interesting conflict and difficult situations that she has to deal with.

However, the book does suffer a bit from things that seem to happen for plot convenience. Victoria just happens to have a maid, who just happens to know about vampires and Venators. She isn't someone who seems to have been provided by her great-aunt, the previous member of her family to answer the call, to help her out, she just knows this stuff for reasons that haven't been explained yet. (I'm about half-way through book three.) The maid also just happens to have a cousin, who just happens to share her knowledge of vampires and be a hackney driver.

There's also a puzzling scene, where Victoria is taken prisoner by some vampires and just left stashed somewhere all day, apparently unguarded, for a fellow Ventor to rescue shortly before sunset. While the reasons they might not have handed her over to the vampire queen, Lilith, are touched on the scene just seems to be there to work in an interrupted seduction scene with a mysterious man, Sebastian, without having to have to have Victoria actually turn him down.

Despite all of that, I liked the characters and felt the main plot of the book, an attempt by Lilith to get hold of a magic book, was reasonably intelligently handled. Some characters felt a bit underdeveloped in this book, but they get fleshed out more in the second book.

My only other issue with the book, is really more of a pet peeve. It explains how vampires came to be. While I don't mind finding out how individual vampires were turned into vampires, I find an origin story for vampires in general tends to make them less interesting.

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