Review by Ionia

4.0 out of 5 stars Different and refreshing, April 6, 2013
This review is from: Rise of a Queen (The Vampire Realm 1) (Kindle Edition)

When you begin reading this novel, you are immediately taken to another place. J.S. Riddle’s new vampire series is not what I expected, and this is a good thing. I enjoyed vampire novels long before the advent of Twilight the other similar books that have come along since, and this book reminded me why. One of my all time favorite authors is Anne Rice, and this book, although original and clearly not modeled after Anne’s books, had somewhat the same feel. The characters are a bit mysterious, the different groups of vampires fighting to establish power and the strong female main character reminded me in some ways of her work.

Here’s what I liked:

One of the things that impressed me about this novel, was the way the author chose to tell the back story of her main character. Rather than making the reader feel like she was checking things off a list when it came to the description and development of Tessa, she used a well placed prologue to the beginning of Tessa’s creation as a member of the vampire community to tell her story. I enjoyed reading the portions of the book that dealt with Tessa’s early human life. In some ways, this was like reading multiple books without the inconvenience of changing one out for the other. The switching from present to past and back to present again was handled very well, never leaving me confused about which part of Tessa’s life the author was dealing with.

Here’s what I loved:

Although this is obviously intended to be fictional, I felt like the areas of the book that dealt with Tessa’s life before her transformation were written from the heart. She was a character that struggled, learned a lot of hard lessons and became a strong person, which I felt never left her even after her “transformation.” I personally found it refreshing to find a vampire character that was more than just a mindless killer. I enjoyed the multidimensional aspect of her character all the way around. She was good as a human and even better as a vampire queen.

I also loved the way J.S. Riddle showed the human struggle against the vampire uprising through Melinda. She is a secondary character that I think may play a much larger and more important role in future books. I am looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

Here are the things I would like to see improved or further elaborated on:

The technology. In this book, there is a couple of mentions of the emerging technology that allow the vampire clans to function during normal human operating hours, but I didn’t feel it was given enough credit nor explanation. This is an interesting idea that I would like to see explored in more detail, as it was one of the things that made this book feel so unique.

The time period. I read this entire book, knowing that it must be close to the age we live in now, but I am not absolutely certain when this is taking place. This could have been shown through actual dates, or it could have been displayed through politics or world events, and I feel it would have made the entire book feel a bit more grounded.

Lastly, although I enjoyed the romance between Greco and Tessa, in the beginning I didn’t feel the intensity that I would have expected from a woman who was so devoted to one man. The devotion and intense feeling seemed to come much later in the story and this made it hard for me to really get a sense of what Tessa was experiencing and why she felt the way she did.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting, exciting and stellar way to start off a new series in a genre that has a lot of competition. The author has written a unique novel with new ideas that didn’t come out of a cookie cutter. Her voice is strong and she is certainly an emerging talent. I am curious enough to read the next book and would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of the genre. Even if vampire books aren’t your thing, you might want to give this one a try. It will most likely surprise you.

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