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Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

lord of the vampires showalter Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Let me preface this review by saying that Im iffy on vampires for the most part and Im not generally much of an erotica reader, although Ive read my fair share of Kerrilyn Sparks and Nalini Singh. But having heard Gena Showalters name bandied about as one of the stars of the naughtier side of the romance genre, I thought Id give this one a go. Unfortunately I cant say Ive been converted to the cause.

The cover is such that it was with misgivings that I picked up the book and started reading, and things didnt improve much once within the covers. The story opens with a confused fairytale-esque vibe and continues in that tone until its awkwardly orchestrated happily ever after, and the plotting is essentially a mix of rape and torture scenes, sex scenes, and the occasional flight scene. And given the sloppy, repetitive prose, weak and broad-brush characterisation and fiendishly bad dialogue theres not much else to redeem this one, Im afraid.

We open with Jane Parker dreaming of the vampire lord Nicolai, while lamenting the various losses of her life: once a prodigy who has had astounding success in both academia and her career as a CIA operative (Jane also graduated school at fifteen and had about four PhDs by the time she reached her 18th birthday, by the way. And Im pretty sure shes fluent in 17 languages and can fight four types of martial arts.), Jane is recovering from a horrific car accident that should have left her paralysed. But Jane is, obviously, the kind of woman who laughs at the odds, and not only is she up and walking, but shes running 5 miles a day six months later.

Jane ends up transported into the world of Delphina, where she finds herself inhabiting the body of the sadistic princess Odette (and Im talking seriously sadisticthis lady makes the Marquis de Sade look like a kitten). Odette is the proud owner of the sex slave Nicolai, whom she has kept chained up for her own personal use and abuse for some few decades now. When Nicolai and Jane-Odette meet, however, sparks fly, and Nicolai is able to see that Jane is not the terrifying captor he is used to. The two attempt to flee, but are captured (at regular intervals) by various brutish types intent on raping, bloodying and generally mutilating. Each time the couple escapes, and some sexy stuff happens. Each sex scene escalates the emotional side of things, of course, and after a few efforts in the forest Jane is transformed into a vampire and marriage is on the cards. Theres a bit of weird back-and-forthing between our world and Delphina, but it all ends up, as expected, happily enough.

I have to say that I really struggled to finish this one, and were I not reading it for review purposes likely wouldnt have got past the first few pages. There are so many limitations to the novel on so many different levels. The plot is terribly thin at the best of times, but where this can often be made up for with characterisation and evocative prose or setting, the same cannot be said here. The characters are extreme to the point of caricature: the baddies simply run about getting their rocks off by killing, maiming and raping, and Jane is so perfect in every way that theres no delight to be had in reading about her at all.

For me, though, Nicolai was possibly the worst of the lot: while, yes, being chained up and tortured for years no doubt has an effect on the psyche, theres nothing especially appealing about a romance hero who dismembers ogres (including tearing out their eyes and tongues) with disconcerting glee. Although, perhaps, whats even less appealing is the fact that when Nicolai gets all bestial on us he regresses to speaking in some sort of Kipling-esque Tarzan speak. Want you. Me want! Jane! Want Jane! Sex! Cock! Each to their own when it comes to bedroom talk, but I have to say that this doesnt quite to it for me

The setting, too, in this one struggles to come alive, perhaps in part because Showalter keeps much of it centred around the castle from which Jane and Nicolai are attempting to escape. Its hard to get a good sense of it (although perhaps thats because the majority of the wordage in this slim volume is dedicated to the ropes of Nicolais stomach, his laving tongue and Janes beading nipples. These words, along with certain other cliches of the genre, are used so often that one could play a game of Bingo with them!). Janes backstory, too, feels very hasty, and seems to be worked in too late in the novel for it to work. It almost feels as though there needs to be a prequel volume for this one to work at all.

In all, I cant recommend this one: the horrific sadism isnt too my taste, and the characters are too weak and cliched to make much of. Prose-wise, this one could do with some serious cleaning up, with the (many) fight and sex scenes so similar that its almost as though theyve been copied and pasted at regular interval.

Rating: star Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalterhalfstar Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalterblankstar Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalterblankstar Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalterblankstar Book Review: Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter (serious flaws)

Your turn: what do you like to see in a hero?

With thanks to Midas PR for the review copy

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  1. 'Want you. Me want! Jane! Want Jane! Sex! Cock!'
    Please tell me thats not an actual quote ;-)
    Wow. I havent read much erotica but I was thinking of checking this out because Ive seen so much praise for Showalter. Youve convinced me its definitely not my thing, Ill be steering clear. Great review.

  2. Stephanie /

    Its pretty close to verbatim, Im afraid, Belle! The dialogue reminded me of that Futurama episode with the Amazon women who were all Me want snu-snu with man!

    Id heard great things about Showalter, too, but looking around at some other reviews, it sounds like this is an uncharacteristically weak one from her. I did enjoy Kerrilyn Sparks and I dont mind Nalini Singh, so they might be fun to start with. :) And I have a surprising soft spot for Mills Boon these days, too!

  3. I couldnt get through Showalters series either

  4. Stephanie /

    Phew, glad Im not alone, Shelleyrae! Id avoid this one for sure :)

  5. Your review made me laugh out loud, and I will definitely be avoiding this book. :D

    • Stephanie /

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the review, Jami. But, yes, Id steer clear of this one! :)

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