Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book review: The Vampire's Daughter (Of Light and Darkness #1) by Shayne Leighton

The Vampire's Daughter (Of Light and Darkness #1) by Shayne Leighton
YA paranormal*Paperback, 258 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Decadent Publishing (first published June 26th 2011)

When one human stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of overcoming them in this coming-of-age modern fairytale may result in war between light and darkness.

Abandoned as an infant in Prague, naive and strong-willed Charlotte Ruzikova was raised by one of the last Vampires left alive. As a human, she knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches drew spells of enchantment, Phasers threw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. Charlotte has lived her life in the dark with her Guardian, content to having him to herself and reveling in his attention, until she's realizes she wants more...

Resident medical doctor and Vampire, Valek Ruzik fears the day his ward would come of age and blossom into a fine woman, and he is forced to confront his own motives as time is of the essence once his past catches up to him, and their lives become endangered...

As genocide and war threatens their secret society, the dictator in power is ready to wipe out Valek's race, but Charlotte will not allow that to happen. Fighting for the only one she's ever loved and truly believed in, she will do whatever it takes to save their love...before the sun comes up and light takes over.

My thoughts:
Shayne Leighton totally sucked me into the beginning of her novel, The Vampire's Daughter. The ease with which I fell into Charlotte's world surprised me and I welcomed it after reading some other so-so books. The fantasy world Charlotte lives is intriguing and the premise of this child--the only human--taken in and provided for secretly by a vampire in a magical land was unique. Charlotte was an outspoken, ambitious and free-spirited child, accustomed to living her time at night, like her father figure, Valek. She hunts for him by traversing over dangerous lands, trekking into Prague, to bring back humans for his consumption in the Bohemian Occult town they reside in. As the story begins we see Charlotte lugging back a be-spelled young woman. It seems Charlotte is jealous of the beautiful witch Evangeline who made the spell and has shown an interest in Valek. 

I enjoyed reading The Vampire's Daughter--the idea of vampires, witches and other magical folk forced to live in special sectors as decreed by the governing wizards of The Regime was imaginative. The story hooked me in and kept me eagerly reading with its steady pace until the story began to flounder and slow down halfway through. I wasn't aware Charlotte was closer to 18; reading about her heading to her favorite scenic place to draw, I was under the impression she was younger (maybe 14 or 15). At that younger age I could understand her "crush" on Valek. The gorgeous vampire is all she's known. But when I read she was older and wanted Valek more than a parental figure, a certain creepy factor set in for me. Yes, she was the only child in Valek's house, but she wasn't isolated and spent time with theElfen children in town. In fact, one childhood friend, Aiden, becomes the story's catalyst for conflict. 

Despite my thoughts on Charlotte's choice in her love life, I read the entire novel since I had become invested in the story and its characters. When Charlotte and Valek seek refuge in Francis' house, the story seemed to slow down by spending a bit too much time on these two as they grapple with and admit their affection for each other. As much as I liked Charlotte in the beginning, by this point she did weaken and become annoying at parts. I really got a kick out of Edwin, the prophetic little scarecrow-like doll, the spider Phaser, Mr. T,  and  Francis' witch maid.

Though for the most part, the third person pov was told from Charlotte's pov, it did shift at times to Valek and Aiden. Sometimes the transition wasn't so smooth and I had to reread to figure out which pov had taken over. I felt Aiden's role was rushed, especially once he joined his father. I would've liked to have seen more of his story in order to understand his motives and simply not think of him as the cookie cutter bad guy. I was grateful to learn about Valek's past and seeing him interact with the coven and Francis provided answers to many of my questions.

There is a lot to like and enjoy in the world Ms. Leighton has created in The Vampire's Daughter. The elves want to destroy the vampires out of fear of the nocturnal creatures and there are certainly some interesting twists and turns throughout. I admire the author's style of writing and her clever imagination. If one reads Charlotte and Valek's relationship as fated soulmates, their past roles as child and caregiver may be overlooked. I tried and still found it to be a sticky issue but the author laid the foundation for a fascinating fantasy world I wanted to learn more about. Sometimes I have to leave reason behind when submerging myself in supernatural tales; I don't always have to enjoy doing so. I do want to continue reading this series, Of Light and Darkness.

Rating: 3.5

Cover comment: This book has two covers, the original one above (from my purchase copy) and a newer one with a darker haired Valek and Charlotte on the cover. I'm not crazy about either cover.

Book source: Purchased.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting book. I enjoyed reading your review. I love a good paranormal book. Vampire books have been done to death, so it really has to have 5 stars for me to read it. My favorite paranormal book is called, Shadow of the Sun by author Merrie P. Wycoff. This a paranormal fiction thriller written in the time of ancient Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ahkenaten and Queen Nefertiti and told through the eyes of their daughter, Merit-Aten. The characters are rich with emotion and add an element of intrigue to the story. I would love to know if you love it as much as I do!

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    1. Hi Lauren,
      Thanks for sharing--I will look into this book. Sounds fascinating!

      Laurie

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  2. I have it on my to-read now. Love the review. :)

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    1. Hi Sandee,

      I hope you get to read it! Thanks for your kind words:)

      Laurie

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