Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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

The Vampire's Curse (Undead in Brown County #2) by S.J. Wright
Paranormal romance*paperback/eBook: 216 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (June 30, 2011)

The tingling, mesmerizing heat blazed even hotter in my veins as I watched him stroll towards me. There was a blatant elegance in the careless way he moved, from the slight swing of his arms to the fluid action in his long legs. He leaned over me, his eyes cold and calculating, his cool breath swirled over my cheeks like a freezing winter mist.

"You're not afraid?"

I could not move. He was holding me prisoner without chains, without bars of any kind. He held me with the steady, penetrating focus of a hunter who will not be denied his prey. My fingers itched to touch him, to trail over his skin in slow gliding strokes. But he could not have me. No one could really have me.

Sarah Wood, after witnessing a battle between several powerful vampires on her land, is left stunned and feeling immensely guilty for having given permission for her friend, Alex, to be turned into a vampire rather than allowing him to die from his injuries. And though she tried hard to keep her sister, Katie from knowing about the whole vampire situation at their family's Inn in the wooded hills of southern Indiana, Katie became the victim of a kidnapping herself.

Sarah is left to face the return of her mother, who had abandoned the girls when they were children. She'll need every ounce of her bad attitude and quick temper to deal with the new surprises coming her way, including an illness that could very well leave the entire responsibility of the Inn and the vampires to fall onto the shoulders of her younger sister.

I became a fan of the Undead in Brown County series with the launch of book one, The Vampire's Warden. S.J. Wright has created an enthralling paranormal series. With a little polish she should have a huge hit on her hands.

In the second book there is more character development and exploration of Sarah's new role as warden of vampire Michael. Sarah herself undergoes a change as she becomes a mysterious and intriguing young woman. She steps up into the role expected of her, especially if she wants to see her younger sister, Katie, alive. The author also takes us back into some of Michael's history so we can better understand the "pull" between him and Sarah. New characters are introduced from Meekah, Theodora and Captain Jones. Keeping it interesting, Sarah also gets to travel to a special meeting in Indianapolis.

The concept behind this series excites the vampire fan in me. Just when I think it's safe to root for one guy (either Michael or Alex), S.J. Wright reveals another trick up her author's sleeve and my opinion changes. I liked the struggle between both guys, especially with the change in Alex. My only problem with this novella was Sarah's switch from falling in love/craving Alex (even after his change) to Michael. Her abrupt change lacked emotional depth and detail so I wasn't convinced by her sudden change of heart. And what's with the strange feeling she has when Michael presses his forehead against hers and telepathically communicates with her?

I was puzzled by the shift in POV. Aside from the short prologue, Michael is not the narrator, Sarah is, until Chapter Nine when he is allowed to do something. This switch was too convenient. Questions about continuity arose, particularly when Sarah loses consciousness but is "aware" of Alex cleaning and covering her, speaking to her and closing the window. The mix of language in this scene was notable for its awkwardness, first starting out flowery/corny and then shifting to eloquent word usage. Yet the bar scene dialogue moved easily and was conversational.

Who is Isiah and what's going on with Sadie the dog? Why does Sarah's mother warn her about Michael's temperament (make him happy)? Hmm, after finishing this book, it is evident that there is much more to come in this series. With some tweaking and expanding upon the marvelous world of Warden County, these novellas could become full length novels which I would gladly purchase and read not only to satisfy my craving for vampire fare but also as a means to support the talent I see in S. J. Wright's career as a writer.

Rating: 4

Favorite excerpt:
Before he leaves, Alex tells Sarah:
"You didn't have to make me love you. I already did."
Cover comment:
I like this cover sporting the mysterious Michael.

Book source:
I received a promotional copy for my honest review and then purchased the ebook.

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