INFINITE DAYS (Vampire Queen #1)
St. Martin's Press
Lenah Beaudonte has filled her centuries of existence with pain, suffering, blood, and death. Her heart does not beat. Her eyes shed no tears. And her body is merely an empty shell where a soul no longer resides. It's been this way for over 500 years, and in that time she has become the most powerful female vampire in existence. But that time is over.
Lenah has become human thanks to lover, confindante, and eternal companion Rhode. He has given her the dream of all vampires: to be able to feel something other than a constant, insatiable ache. Now she is enrolled in a private boarding school where she must a adapt to a human lifestyle and protect her reprehensible secret so that she may begin anew.
Some say, however, that history always repeats itself. For Lenah, a repeat performance of her former life is the worse scenario she can imagine. For the first time in hundreds of years she wants more than the anguish of others; she wants to live. But the pain and betrayal she left behind will not be ignored, and a hunt begins to reclaim the most vicious vampire of them all.
This story is instantly addicting. The characters' desperation and conflict combined with the story's promise of a life worth living draw you in with deep, drugging pulls that leave the reader the latest victim of the vampire's dark, blissful appeal. This is not the tale of a human girl turned vampire and forced to adapt to supernatural abilities, but rather the tale of a brutal creature given the chance at atonement, and we as readers have the pleasure of watching as the moral depravity disappears and a selflessness and passion take its place.
Lenah is a glorious character. Through her we see that hope can exist in the darkest of places, and life can hold joy in the simplest of moments. It's fascinating to watch as she encounters the world with newly innocent eyes, yet retains a vampiric sight tainted by the basest of instincts. She revels in the brush of her skin against a textured wall, yet can't help but evaluate the movements of her peers and locate those that would make the easiest prey. She is flummoxed and enchanted by CD's and modern technology, yet always looks at the veins on the inside of people's wrists to determine the purity of their blood. The juxtaposition of her completely pristine human nature with the remnants of her unfathomable barbarity is brilliantly executed and absolutely enthralling.
Rhode, though lacking a heartbeat, seems to pulsate with life in his all-too brief appearances. His bond with Lenah is unbreakable, seemingly completely at odds with the cruelty of the vampire way of life, and his love for her shines from the pages with blinding light. Because of my instant attraction and unwavering loyalty to him as a character, I couldn't help but feel a pinch of betrayal as Lenah's focus seems to so easily shift to main love interest Justin. He is a likeable character, but Rhode has a depth that is unmatched despite his significantly reduced page time.
Though the story isn't extremely fast-paced until the last few pages, there is something inherently satisfying in watching Lenah try to reclaim the soul she had ripped from her all those years ago, thereby ensuring that Rhode's gift will not have been for naught. The ending leaves the reader salivating, and were I to be in possession of a pair of fangs, they would have descended in breathless anticipation of sinking them into the next installment.
Stay tuned tomorrow for my interview with Rebecca Maizel!