Do you want to read your paranormal book reviews in the context of their series? Are you interested in the violence, sensuality, and humor levels of paranormal series? You’ve come to the right place. On this blog, each book is reviewed within the blog entry for its series. When a new book is published, the series entry is updated to include that book. Each series is rated on a 1-5 scale for violence, sensuality, and humor.
USING THE PAGE TABS (ABOVE) TO FIND A SERIES OR AUTHOR:
Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.
AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.
Washington, V.C. (aka Vamp City, aka V.C.) is a sunless city created by a sorcerer back in 1870. In structure, it is a duplicate of Washington, D. C., with most of the same streets and buildings, but looking like they did back in the 19th century just after the Civil War. Vamp City is a shambling wreck of a place, with broken-down buildings that the vamps are uninterested in keeping up. V.C. is home to about 400 vampires who are divided among nine kovenas (similar to clans). Each kovena lives within its own stronghold, existing apart from and in opposition to the other kovenas. This world also has werewolves and other monsters, but we don't see much of them in book 1.
Vamp City's biggest problem is that the magic that holds it together is breaking down, allowing beams of sunlight to penetrate more and more frequently. That sunlight brings instantaneous death to any vampire it hits, so the vamps are desperate to find a sorcerer who can renew the magic that keeps their city alive. Phineas Blackstone, the sorcerer who created the city, used his magic to create a trap for vampires. After they all moved into V.C., he withdrew his magic and the city (and the vampires) began to die.
Here, a vampire describes V.C.: "The vampires wanted a large dark city...so Phineas Blackstone rode to nearly the center of the ten-mile square that was originally D.C. to perform his magic. The city he created extends out approximately three miles in every direction from that spot. The Boundary Circle is where the vamps enter and exit the dark city...or did when the magic was intact. Most of the kovenas have strongholds near the Boundary. The unclaimed land around the kovenas we call the Nod. The large, unclaimed center, the Crux. It's a dangerous place, home to the wolves and Rippers and anyone else who longs to stay away from the kovenas and has the fortitude to survive." (p. 226)
As one vampire explains, V.C."is the perfect place for vampires....No sun, no need to hide for fear of detection by the far more numerous human race. Vamp City was promoted as a utopia....Where else can vampires hold horse races and soccer matches, hunts and other games at any time, day or night, free to use our full range of abilities, free to feed on the humans in our midst without fear of reprisal or discovery? Without fear of the sun?" (p. 130)
Some vampires still have enough power to travel back and forth between the real Washington, D.C. and Vamp City, but that number is dwindling. In this world, vamps have varying needs. Some feed on fear, others on pain or pleasure, but they all need human blood to thrive. These vamps are brutal, degenerate perverts who view all humans as prey and entertainment. Most humans who are dragged into Vamp City die, but those who live in V.C. long enough eventually become Slavas, identified by their glowing hair. Slavas are immortal, and they live their lives either working for or entertaining the vamps—being sucked dry of blood while being tortured during public "banquets" for the benefit of the pain-sucking and fear-eating vamps. Food for the human slaves of V.C. comes from Traders, who move back and forth between V.C. and D.C. The Traders often grab humans from D.C. to sell as slaves to the V.C. vamps.
The series heroine is Quinn Lennox, a young human woman, who lives with her half-brother, Zack, in a Washington, D.C. apartment near George Washington (GW) University. Quinn is a lab technician at the National Institutes of Health, and her brother is a GW student and a computer geek. Quinn never knew her mother, who died when she was quite young. When Quinn's father remarried, her new step-mother made life miserable for Quinn. The only good part of Quinn's life after that was her loving relationship with Zack. Quinn has always been considered a bit of a freak. She once threw her step-mother across a room without using her hands, and was punished severely for that. The step-mother always called Quinn's real mother "that witch," but Quinn never thought that she was serious—until now, that is.
The series is very violent, and the vampires are all sadistic monsters, even Arturo, who is supposed to be the hero. The vampires brutalize all humans—whipping, beating, burning, raping, and/or beheading anyone who does anything at all that is disagreeable to them, or if they're in need of some fear or pain to feed from, or just because... The humans in V.C. don't stand a chance against their vampire masters. They are all doomed to either a quick but painful death or an immortal life filled with misery and brutalization.
Click HERE to go to a page on the author's web site entitled "Welcome to Vamp City," which includes a description of V.C. and fun facts about D.C. in 1870. Click HERE to read the author's explanation of how she came up with the V.C. world. Click HERE to read the first 3 1/2 chapters (59 pages) of the book. Check out pages 35-39 for Quinn's first gut-wrenching encounter with Arturo. If that scene makes you flinch, you need to know that her situation (and her brother's) only gets worse.
BOOK 1: A Blood Seduction
Lately, Quinn has been seeing Shimmers—glowing rainbow bands of light that change the color of her clothing when she walks through them. Sometimes, when she looks out of her apartment window, she sees crumbling, old-fashioned row houses and horse-drawn carriages instead of modern buildings and automobiles. She doesn't know what to make of all this, but she's very worried.
When Zack's girlfriend, Lily, disappears on her way to meet him, Zack and Quinn search for her, but get sucked into Vamp City instead. They are immediately set upon by hungry vampires, and Zack is dragged away into brutal slavery. But Quinn is rescued by a handsome, 600-year-old vamp named Arturo Mazza who recognizes almost immediately that Quinn is a sorcerer who can save V.C. by renewing its magic. Arturo (whose nickname is Snake) convinces Quinn that he will help her find her brother, but instead turns her over to his cruel and heartless master, Cristoff. The story follows Quinn as she desperately tries to escape her captivity and find and rescue Zack while warding off Arturo's never-ending sexual advances, even though she finds herself falling under his spell. Arturo, by the way, has one unlikely (silly) human trait: he's crazy about SweetTarts.
Reading this story is not a pleasant or enjoyable experience, and although the series been labeled as a romance, it's closer to horror than to any other genre. The frequent scenes of vampire violence are dark and sadistic. In Arturo's first scene with Quinn, he sexually abuses her (not quite rape, but the next thing to it) and lies to her continually. She knows deep down that Arturo can't be trusted (he keeps telling her that), but she keeps falling for his lies—not the smartest heroine in paranormal fiction. Quinn has a number of TSTL moments in which she underestimates the vamps and overestimates her own abilities. She is essentially a passive female who must constantly be rescued by stronger males. Arturo comes across as pragmatic and heartless, warning Quinn over and over again that his allegiance is to Cristoff, and that he will always choose Cristoff over anyone else. Quinn, somehow, keeps forgetting this and sees goodness in Arturo that just isn't there. Even after Arturo manhandles her, lies to her, betrays her, and passes her off to Cristoff, all it takes is a kind word or one soapy shower duet for Quinn to melt into Arturo's sexy vampire arms.
I can't say that I enjoyed this book. The torture scenes and the male domination were way too disturbing—stomach-churning, really. Here's one of the worst: "the woman lay...spread-eagled on her back. her wrists and ankles had been tied with barbed wire until the blood ran down her arms. More barbed wire wrapped around her head, the blood soaking her hair as it ran in rivulets from her scalp. Worst of all was the picture of Cristoff standing naked between the woman's spread legs fastening a spiked band around"his private parts. (p. 170) By the time I finished this book, I was wishing for a memory wipe or a brain wash to banish some of the images from my mind. The ending is a cliff hanger, that lets us know that, unfortunately, Quinn hasn't seen the last of Arturo. I probably won't be back to see that happen.