Sunday, August 21, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Always the Vampire by Nancy Haddock

Always the Vampire (Oldest City Vampire #3)
Nancy Haddock

Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Publisher: Berkley (Penguin)
Page Count: 342
Source: From publisher, via Romancing the Bookfor review

FRANCESCA MARINELLI MUST ACT NOW... OR FOREVER HOLD HER PEACE.

It might seem like I'm slacking on my duties as a vampire princess, but you can bet your fangs that I'm going to be the best maid of honor ever for Maggie's Victorian wedding. I want everything to be perfect, even if I have to wear a bustle. But when my mostly human honey, Saber, falls ill due to a magical construct called the Void, I know I'll have to go beyond the call of bridesmaid duty...

The Void is affecting every supernatural being in my afterlife, including my shape-shifter ex, Triton. To counter the Void's reign of terror, I'll need to activate ancient amulets and fully summon my vampire powers—two moves that may lead to my own doom.

With a lot more than a wedding party to worry about, it's time to show undying love and save them all—and save myself...
What Stephanie Thinks: Though Always the Vampire is book three of the Oldest City Vampire series, it makes for a pretty entertaining stand-alone novel that both douses in the contemporary romance and urban fantasy genres.

Though it's technically "paranormal romance", I can't get myself to call it that because the actual paranormal elements are extremely minor, if at all, important. Cesca Marinelli is pushing 228, but she does not display any vampirely characteristics. Passersby recognize her on the streets as the town vampire, which is both unrealistically casual and hard to believe. Haddock creates an urban fantasy world that's so modern and chic, but just difficult to relate to.

As a whole, this novel is satisfying, though I must say it's very anticlimactic. The rising action is all of titillating, but the story peaks at a disappointment. Also, the moment I finished it, I couldn't help but wonder, How is this even a vampire story? It just isn't "magical" enough—or engrossing enough, for that matter—for me to really consider it paranormal.

The characters, however, particularly the two male protagonists, Saber (Cesca's hunky boyfriend) and Triton (Cesca's hunky ex), make me weak in the knees. ♥♥. Just yumSaber and Cesca's undying (literally...) romance will sweep you off your feet.

Not anything marvelous overall, but it's a fair read for me. The "sexiness" of Cesca's humor and so-called wit (or lack thereof) falls flat, but the plot is suspenseful, and the characters determined, which should count for something.

Stephanie Loves: "'In [Triton's] younger days, he was a bit of a player. Now? I don't think so, but he is a guy. Men can be too exasperating to be worth the trouble.' 
'Or wonderful enough to wait a lifetime for,' Lia said from behind us."

Radical Rating: 7 hearts: Not without flaws, but overall enjoyable. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥