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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: The Vampire Voss

The Vampire VossTitle: The Vampire Voss
Author: Colleen Gleason
Page Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira
Genre: historical/paranormal romance
Copy for review obtained via Netgalley.com in anticipation of an honest review

50 words or less: What price, immortality?  For Voss, Viscount Dewhurst, immortality has meant a life of decadence as a rake and seducer with a lucrative side job of accumulating information and selling it to the highest bidder.  When he meets Angelica Woodmore, virtuous Society lady and uniquely blessed to have the Sight, he suddenly realizes that caring only about himself is quite a lonely existence indeed.

*Note: This book will be released on March 29, 2011.*

I picked this book up out of sheer curiousity- I'm always on the lookout for interesting and well done genre mashups and good historical/paranormal crossovers are relatively hard to come by.  The true novelty of this book is definitely in the details and the vivid description of Regency London.  Add in a couple of well traveled paths- the reforming of a notorious rake and the ongoing battle between rival vampire factions, and you've got yourself a really enjoyable story.

Voss is not a character who is easy to like.  He is a rake in every sense of the word, and he's really happy about that.  It takes him a long time, and I do mean a long time, to even come to the realization that his actions might have ramifications for other people.  From there, he has to realize that those ramifications are, shockingly, unpleasant, and figure out what to do about that, especially when the lovely miss Angelica gets under his skin and he can't get her out.  He seems genuinely surprised that using a pact made with the devil to live life as a douche bag isn't such a hot idea, and if it weren't so intricately tied into the plot it would be eyeroll-worthy.  Instead, Voss has to figure out whether being a good, redeemable person is worth the effort.

Angelica, on the other hand, tries her best to use her talent for good- her Sight revolves around when people will die.  So when nervous virginal young ladies want to know if their husbands will crap out early or if they've got decades of watching Baron Whatshisname sneak off to bone the upstairs maids to look forward to, they come to Angelica.  She accepts a modest payment and sends them on their way with the truth firmly embedded in their minds; sometimes they don't like it but Angelica figures that isn't her problem.  When Angelica sees how a companion of Voss will die, she immediately feels honor bound to tell him; he doesn't believe her, but Angelica isn't wrong about these things.

This skill makes Angelica highly desirable in the ongoing hostilities between two rival vampire factions, and Voss ends up as her unlikely protector.  When his true nature is revealed to Angelica, she freaks out, and that could very well have been the end of it; it isn't, though, and what happens from there sets up the next two installments of the trilogy very nicely.

Voss ultimately has a lot of soul searching to do, and the fact that he made a pact with Lucifer in exchange for immortality is not an easy obstacle to overcome.  The key to the curse, though, is a lesson that Voss has to master- that he is responsible for his own choices and actions, for better or worse.  What will happen when Voss starts being responsible for his own destiny?

Overall Grade: B+
 
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