Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the Company of Vampires by Katie MacAlister

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Signet; Original edition (November 2, 2010)
Language: English

Summary: When Francesca arrives at GothFaire to save her mother from the trickster god, Loki, things go from bad to worse. Her immortal ex, Benedikt, is there, full of secrets-and with a new girlfriend. Now Fran must battle a power-hungry group who wishes to dominate both the immortal and mortal worlds-and the woman who claimed Ben's heart. It's a good thing Fran's no ordinary mortal...

Our review: OK, I'll admit I loved MacAlister's foray into paranormal YA (writing under Katie Maxwell) with Got Fangs? and Circus of the Darned (both have been repackaged into Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend). Those two titles were light, humorous and injected some much needed humor into the genre. By the way the books ended we felt there was more to Fran and Ben's story. There was and this book, an adult title and part of the The Dark Ones series, is it.

In the Company of Vampires has what I expect from MacAlister's books: zaniness, loads of jokes, great one-liners--pure escapism--and the book delivers. Fran is now grown up but she hasn't changed that much. She's still talkative (but doesn't swear), acts without thinking, can see things by touching, and has a good heart. The book opens with classic humor and an action scene, drawing you in for the next series of madcap adventures in Fran's life. When the three Viking ghosts appeared in her apartment I knew things were just getting good. 

What I liked was how Fran matured throughout the book but she kept her appeal by maintaining the qualities I found endearing about her in the first two books. It was nice to see her really think about her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, vampire Ben, her status as his 'Beloved' (life mate), and getting to her real feelings. The author really showed us through Fran's dialog and inner thoughts who Francesca Ghetti really is. The same applies for Ben. Through their interactions we see how much they care for each other and more. In between all of the funny antics this story had heart (and heat!). Fran leaves home out of concern for her missing mother and travels back to Europe, to the GothFaire with its cast of quirky characters. There she runs into Ben with another woman but I won't spoil their story. Ben is still sexy, charming, and not as controlling. What I will say is it is great to have Fran and Ben back.

My only complaint is I wanted to yell "bullfrogs!" during the book's big climatic scene. There was the buildup to it and when the scene continues it suddenly dropped and then....I turned the page to see a new chapter. I did feel cheated and despite reading about it in a semi-flashback way, I was letdown by it.

Rating: +++1/2

Favorite excerpt: "He might hate me, but at least he'll be some company for my bleak, unbearable life," I said, my voice echoing slightly in the trailer. It was the sound of it that brought me to my knees in a ball of abject misery, the horrible reality of the situation piercing me to my very soul. For the first time in a year, I admitted that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. The fact that Ben and everyone else expected me to just accept what fate had thrown at us still rankled, but it had been my choice, and no other's, to end the relationship.

And now that I realized just what I'd lost, it was too late.

I cried out the tale of my broken heart to no one, and when I was done, I lay hiccuping on the floor, wondering what I was going to do with the shattered remains of my life.

"Go on without him," I said in a voice that was as empty as my heart." (Page 66.)

Cover comment: A hot Ben (not exactly as I pictured but so what?) and when you flip open, a second cover shows Fran (top face cut off--why I wondered since we saw his). Both are visually appealing.

Book source: Purchased.

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