Monday, July 11, 2011

Book review: The Vampire's Warden by S. J. Wright

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 155 KB

Blurb: It was a flash in the moonlight, a blur of motion like I’d never witnessed before. No human had the capacity to move like that. When I found myself face-to-face with him there in the meadow, I knew without a doubt that the journal was authentic. I knew that my grandfather hadn’t been crazy at all.

Because a foot away from me stood a vampire.

Sarah Brightman reads her grandfather's journal in stunned disbelief. What was once her grandfather's responsibility has passed to her father and now to her. She has become the Warden. Her life will never be the same.

Our review: Sarah is the oldest of two and after her father's death has to carry the responsibilities of running the family inn. At twenty three she is already older and wiser than others her age. Her younger sister, Katie, is away at college and Nelly, family caretaker and substitute mother figure, helps Sarah run the bed and breakfast. When the story opens, Sarah learns from their trusted town doctor her mother is not dead and that is not the only shocker he throws at her. Sarah is the warden to a special plot of land on their property which keeps vampires contained inside the perimeter, while keeping out others. At the present there is one vampire housed in the detention zone--the charismatic, mysterious and alluring Michael who is forbidden to hurt her. Then a strange, hot guy shows up, Alex, with a story all his own which is revealed to Sarah over time. It seems Michael is an ancient night walker and there are some vampires who want him freed. Trying to decipher her father's journal, Sarah has to decide what is best, while keeping herself, Nelly, Alex, and her sister, safe from harm.

The vampire book junkie inside me found this novella too short and wished it was a full length novel. Wright has achieved what some authors penning vampire stories have failed to do--make their story stand out. The Detention Zone (the meadow) and role of the vampire warden/the breath-giver/Indian lore infuses the story with a different spin by giving it lasting power. My only problems with the novella itself were minor. Instead of being thrown into the story with the opening line of dialogue, I preferred a bit of a build-up to ease into the story and better absorb the shock along with Sarah. There were quite a few interesting historical aspects of the story I thought needed flushing out. Sarah descends from the Pawnee, and though we are told about a traveling medicine man from the Tirawa tribe who encounters a vampire, I wanted more background on this. I was confused by the vamp who took the "deep sleep" and the tribal medicine man. When the vamp awoke, was it the same medicine man he dealt with? As for the vampire Council, some more insight into their history and members would have been great. I also believe showing Sarah reading from her father's journal more would have filled the reader in on necessary backstory while lengthening the work (but this is my complaint since I wanted more upon the initial reading).

The author has a smooth writing style that compliments the quick pacing of the story. The introduction of the strange connection between the human Sarah and Alex, and the visions she sees as a result of their touches, added a mystical layer I can't wait to read more about. I also wonder what role ex-boyfriend Trevor will have in the future. The promise of budding romance (forbidden and not), one sexy vampire, an undead mother, and Indian lore all combine into one heady concoction. S.J. Wright has created something special with her supernatural world and this vampire aficionado is waiting for the next installment in the Undead in Brown County series, The Vampire's Curse.

Rating: I liked it, a lot.

Favorite excerpt: "It was then that I saw a figure step out from behind one of the boulders. His movements were as fluid and graceful as a jungle cat. He paused for a moment and then leaned back against one of the boulders, crossing his arms. I couldn't make out his features in the darkness, only the carefree stance and powerful build. Even without the validation of physically seeing his eyes, I felt them on me just as I felt the ground beneath my feet and the ragged breaths coming in and out of my chest.

Then he spoke.

"At last." There was a breath of a sigh and I thought I saw his lips curve upward in an ironic smile, "My dearest Sarah." Again, that same melodic voice captured my attention completely.

I found the power in my limbs suddenly and moved towards him, nearly desperate to see his face, "Who are you?"

"I'm sorry. I should have introduced myself." He chuckled darkly, "I am Michael.""

Cover comment: I have seen at least three covers for this and I prefer the one pictured above. The back shot of Sarah facing the meadow truly captured the spirit of the story.

Book source: From author for an honest review during a book tour.


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