Friday, January 18, 2013

Review: Stolen Nights

STOLEN NIGHTS
Vampire Queen #2
Rebecca Maizel
Paranormal Young Adult
303 pages
St. Martin's Griffin
Available January 29th
Received for blog tour through The Readiacs

Warning: Review contains spoilers from Infinite Days, but no spoilers from Stolen Nights.

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss.

With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead...


MY THOUGHTS
Stolen Nights is a complicated read; not necessarily so in terms of plot, but rather as a result of an emotional attachment that formed quickly and with surprising strength in the opening chapters of Infinite Days before quieting as Lenah’s human journey continued, only to return and be played upon with deft fingers in this second installment. Rhode’s sacrifice for Lenah in the first book had a profound impact, the utter love and devotion he felt for her creating a specter that continually raised the fine hairs on our arms as memories of him danced through Lenah’s mind, and while our affection for Justin grew as the story progressed, the indelible marks left by Rhode’s fingers around our hearts remained. Now in Stolen Nights, those marks return with a painful vengeance, Justin’s ability to staunch some of the emotional bleeding rendered completely ineffective in the face of Rhode’s presence as a flesh and blood mortal.

A character with whom a deep and poignant emotional connection is formed despite limited page time is rare, but so is one such as Rhode Lewin, therefore his effect on us should come as no surprise. Our time with him in Stolen Nights is granted in brief snippets, but just as was the case with Infinite Days, so much feeling is communicated by his very presence, and we feel the full weight of his love, his frustration and his pain as he struggles in this new life settle heavily into our bones. Our previous affection for Justin seems to disintegrate almost immediately once we realize Rhode’s survived the ritual as Lenah has, shocking us a bit with our own fickleness until we realize Rhode has owned our love and loyalty from his first appearance, making the emotional entanglements between the three of them all the more complex.

Lenah is as stripped bare by Rhode’s return as we are, her months-long relationship with Justin no match for her centuries-long relationship with him, but a cruel decree rubs salt in an already open and raw wound, creating chaos from the order Lenah had created with her selfless act to save Vicken at the end of book one. Though it’s clear to us that if circumstances were different Lenah would move heaven and earth to be with Rhode again, some of the selfishness so inherent in a vampire’s makeup seems to rise to the surface despite her current mortality as she repeatedly turns to Justin as a balm to soothe the pain of Rhode’s proximity. Her actions are something we understand logically, knowing the wounds Rhode tears open his with unexpected arrival are not ones she can simply close on her own, but she does at times test the boundaries of our tolerance, continually thinking only of her own pain without once acknowledging either Rhode’s or Justin’s.

Though Lenah’s thoughts are self-centered for majority of the book, the conclusion sees the expansion of her previous tunnel vision, her mistakes with Rhode, Justin, Vicken and so many of those she’s met in her extraordinarily long life made clear and accepted, complete with a gut-wrenching remedy that leaves us numb save for a throbbing ache in our chests. An epilogue from Rhode himself thankfully leaves us with a spark of hope that perhaps things for Lenah and company will not be left as they are, and we may all be given one more chance to see Lenah and Rhode as we so desperately wish them to be.

Rating: 4/5

42 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this series but the romance sounds a little heart-wrenching. I'm definitely intrigued, but a little scared of this especially when you say Lenah is self-centered for much of the story. Great review. :)

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    1. It's so good Rachel! Infinite Days came out a while ago, almost 2 years I think, so there was a bit of a gap between books 1 and 2. Lenah will make much more sense to you after you read book one - she's a vampire turned human, so she's still shaking off life as a vampire in these books:)

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  2. I am just gonna complain about an old thing, soooo tired of girls in dresses. Fun first, now it makes me wanna turn away

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    1. There are lots of them, but I think they work. I enjoy them every time:)

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  3. I remember reading mixed reviews for the first book, Infinite Days, so I decided to pass up this series. Urghhh i don't think I'd be able to survive with the main character being self-centered the majority of the book. I'd feel like punching her in the face. Anyway, awesome review, Jenny! <3

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    1. I LOVED Infinite Days, one of my favorite reads 2 years ago. And while Lenah was a touch frustrating in this one, I could understand where she was coming from. She makes up for it in the end:)

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  4. I just bought the first book on my e-reader since it's on sale and I've heard mostly good things about it. After reading your review I'm even more excited to tackle this series. I love a complicated and intense romance, and I definitely want to get to know this Rhode character more. :-) Great review!

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    1. YAY! I was literally sobbing within 30 pages of Infinite Days, I fell in love with Rhode ridiculously quickly. I pretty much instaloved him:)

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  5. You have me really curious about this romance now... specifically were Rhode is concerned. I haven't started this series yet, but I have the first book somewhere and I plan to eventually. Great review, Jenny!

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  6. Oddly enough I like complicated reads when they work out. I like ones that make me love them/hate them for awhile when reading. Though I do want resolution at some point LOL

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    1. Oh yes, there were lots of love/hate moments and an immense desire to curse at fate and everyone else for what happens with Lenah and Rhode. So good:)

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  7. Wonderful review Jenny. I haven't heard of this series, but I always love a good vampire story. I will have to keep this on my TBR list and look forward to getting to know Rhode and Lenah better.

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    1. Thanks Ellen! I liked this one because it's such a different vampire story, it's vampire turning human and having to relearn our world instead of the other way around:)

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  8. The whole self-centered MC would drive me batty. I don't think I can handle a series where that doesn't change. I will say that the book cover is very well done. Have a great weekend, Jenny!

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    1. I know it sounds like it would, but you understand that that selfishness is a leftover trait of a vampire, and Lenah's still struggling to shed her vampire skin. It's frustrating in this one, but she shakes it off in the end.

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  9. Oh, hey. I remember reading the first book. I didn't know there was a second coming out! I liked the ending to the end of book 1, so I'm curious how Rhode plays into everything. (I never did really bond with Justin, if memory serves me right.)

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    1. I LOVE RHODE AMANDA! Yes, he's worthy of all caps. I haven't had that kind of instant attachment to a character I don't think ever. He just slayed me in those opening chapters of book 1.

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  10. I've been waiting two long years for the next installment, and I'm so glad that you loved it Jenny!! Glad to hear that Lenah's vampire selfishness is slowly leaving her and there's hope for her in the (hopefully!) next book. Rhode!! I adore Rhode. Who cares about Justin? ;) Ahhh I'm dying to read this one now! Great review, Jenny!

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    1. I know. It's been a really long wait, but worth it I think. And I'm a Rhode girl through and through:) Justin was growing on me at the end of book one, but with Rhode back in this one is was no contest:)

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  11. I read Infinite Days back in 2010 and I remember I thought it was entertaining. I had no idea book two is coming out. I'm glad that it is just as enjoyable as book one. Yet another book added to my overflowing TBR pile, thanks to your awesome reviews, Jenny! :)

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    1. YES! It's out in a week:) Hopefully we won't have quite as long to wait for book three, because while it's not a cliffhanger ending, it's a painful one just the same.

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  12. Ooh, chaos and open wounds! My favorite kind of salt-grinding! And thank goodness for the spark of hope at the end -- I hate when you're sunk so low there's no way back.

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    1. RHODE MARY! He hurts. And then I hurt. And Lenah hurts. And we're all hurting together. So good:)

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  13. I was supposed to read the first book for a book club but it fell through. I now I need to dig out it and read it. This sounds like a gut wrenching, good read. I haven't read a vamp book in awhile so perhaps it is time I pick one up again.

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    1. I just loved the whole concept - a vampire turning human and trying to escape her brutal and violent past. I loved it:)

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  14. Took me a minute to remember what I thought about Infinite Days. I remember Rhode and some guy she was after. Justin just didn't make as much of a mark to me. But Rhode... yea, I remember. SO need to get this one although I know I'll be just as frustrated that she isn't with him. Still, spark of hope is good.

    Damn girl, you write a good review.

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    1. *blushes* Thank you:) Rhode is pretty unforgettable. Also, he was my first book boyfriend when Missie started that meme, so he has a special place in my heart:)

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  15. I never made it past the first few chapters of Infinite Days because I disliked (hated would be closer to truth, but it is SUCH a strong word) the audio narrator. There was no inflection in her voice, But now you're making me think I should get myself a print copy and fast. Rhode sounds like such an interesting character and he's one I'm eager to meet. Melissa is right, you DO write fantastic reviews. :)

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    1. I haven't ever listened to an audiobook just for that reason. The narrator(s) would obviously make or break it, and it would be hard to unhear that voice when I tried the book. I do hope you give it a whirl though Maja, it's a great story in my opinion:)

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  16. I have not read this series, but your description of the characters and attachment you felt have me very curious.

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    1. Yay! That's my goal - to pique curiosity:)

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  17. I hear so much about this series all the time, so I definitely need to give it a try. I love how emotionally attached to the characters the author makes you feel and there's so much focus on character in this, which is a huge plus for me. Great review, Jenny!(:

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  18. It's been SO long since I read the first book, but I loved it! I need to do at least a skim read to get reminded, I think. But I'm definitely looking forward to this book and seeing where things go. Is there much recap for the first one? Does she remind us of things? It's just so hard to fit in what I have, I can't imagine finding time for a reread.
    I'm glad it was good!

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  19. Oh what a pretty cover!! I haven't read the first book in this series so I guess I should! I love when you can get attached with characters. I'm so curious and I want to meet them. Great review Jenny! :)

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  20. I totally agree with Tanja from the comment above - that cover is gorgeous! Alot of people think dresses are over done on book covers, but I'm always going to be a big fan! If I saw this in a bookshop, it would be in my hands at the till in 5 seconds.

    It's a shame that Lenah is self-centered for a big chunk of the story. But hopefully Rhode will make up for that! I really want to meet him. He sounds interesting! :D

    I have heard of this series a lot, but just never actually bought them. Your brilliant review has prompted me further! Thanks so much for sharing, Jenny! :Dx

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  21. Jenny! Rhode! AGHHHHHHHHH! He totally broke my heart. And their love is soo EPIC! It can not be over! I need more!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  22. You've definitely gotten me curious about this series! Characters that one can totally connect with are priceless!

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  23. NIIICEE! Its the FIRST time i hear about this series, but this sounds great!! The romance is something id love to read, and characters that you can connect to as well! Great review, will need to get my hands on this!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  24. I cannot believe how long we've been waiting for this sequel. I'm wondering was it worth the wait? I've already had one person tell me yes. If you read this, let me know what you think.

    Heather

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