Monday, March 18, 2013

Seduced by the Vampire King by Laura Kaye

American exchange student Kate Bordessa has fled to Russia to escape her family's hopes that she'll become one of the Proffered, human women who feed and mate with elite vampire warriors. But when she stumbles upon a wounded vampire in the streets of Moscow, she's instinctively driven to protect him--and feels an undeniable spark of desire.

Grieving over the deaths of his brothers, Vampire Warrior King Nikolai Vasilyev has thrown himself into battling his enemies, focused only on vengeance. Until the attack that brought him to Kate. Their sexual attraction explodes into a night of uncontrolled passion--a night that marks them as mates. Is their connection strong enough to convince them to embrace a destiny neither of them was expecting?


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A worthy successor to In the Service of the King this book packs most of the emotional intensity that the first one had, but seems to me at least to fall a bit short of the total immersiveness that the first book had. With the first one, I was sucked in pretty much from page one and was held in rapt fascination, barely wanting to put it down. With this one I didn't feel like it pulled me in to quite the same degree. The action is too start and stop, with emotions ramping up then being shut down like flipping a switch almost, which does help to build the tension to a certain degree, but also creates a certain confusion and disconnect with the reader. Or at least with this reader.

From the beginning almost, we are told but not told about the recent death of Nikolai's brothers which he feels responsible for, that he's all but abandoned his kingship over. It's made him bitter, cold, and a little bit reckless. It isn't machismo or bravado that sends him rushing solo into the attack that ends with him severely wounded, it's a burning need for vengeance couple with a distinct disregard for his own well-being or survival. It seems clear that he has at least something of a death wish, whether or not he realizes it or would admit it, and despite that it's never really put into those words. All of this makes him just as, if not more resistant to the possibility of taking a mate because the pain of losing his brothers is still too raw, and he knows he couldn't survive another such loss, at least not now. As with Kael, when he finally succumbs to the inevitable with Kate, it seems like he lets go of that pain just a bit too quickly and easily given how intensely he's been burning with it. I would have expected at least a bit more angst and a more gradual warming up to the idea on his part.

Kate is rather less developed as a character I think, though certainly we get to know quite a bit about her. We're told that she had left the Proffered program and fled to Russia to get away from the legacy that her parents wished for her in service to the vampires. Still, her supposed hesitation at getting involved with the vampires doesn't stop her from helping Nikolai when she finds him, even once she's realized what he is. Her first instinct is not to flee but to help him, and not just because of the pull toward him that she's feeling. In all that follows, she proves to be far more willing to change her stance regarding a relationship with the vampires, or at least with Nikolai, that he ever is about changing his mind regarding her. This makes sense though really, because she hadn't turned away from the idea of involvement with the vampires because of any big trauma, she simply hadn't felt quite comfortable with the idea and didn't think it was what she wanted. Thus she doesn't have anywhere near the impediments to accepting her attraction to Nikolai as he does to accepting his for her.

This book is really fairly short, and I felt that it passed by in a bit of a rush. It was hard to follow along with the pendulum swings of Nikolai's moods at times, and at times things happened without there being any clear explanation for why. In particular, there are things that happen with Kate and her physical responses that I was confused about, because there didn't seem to be any clear reason for why she was experiencing what she was. It's a fairly minor point though, and doesn't really detract from anything that much, it's just one of the little points that kept me from getting as wrapped up in this book as I did with the first one. I'd still recommend this one to anyone who likes vampires, paranormal romance with a good bit of steam, or just fast and furious romances in general. A solid 4 stars to this one.

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