Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Gardella Vampire Chronicles

Books: The Rest Falls Away & Rises The Night
Author: Colleen Gleason
Cumulative Grade: B+

I've been wanting to read a female slayer series for a while now but most of these types of books are written in first person, and for over a year now I haven't been able to get into first person books. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe it's the lack of perspective from all of the characters involved in the story, maybe it's not.

Recently I found a book, centered around a female lead that was not written in first person, so of course, I jumped on it. The Rest Falls Away is the first book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. The setting is 19 century England. The Slayer is Victoria Gardella.

First, let me say that I already knew how this book was going to end before I read it which, in some ways, spoiled the book for me. I wasn't going to read it just because I knew the ending but I wanted the foundation for the story before I began the second book in the series. I'm glad I read it anyway.

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil... .

Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

Victoria is a slayer by birth right. The Gardella's are born with the power to sense vampires and with a training they are able to hunt them down and get rid of them. In The Rest Falls Away Victoria is just coming into her own as a venator (vampire slayer) at the same time she is being debuted. So, all the while she is being courted she is also fighting the undead.

Victoria tries to balance these two very separate parts of her life but go awry and well... You will just have to read to find out what happens. I won't spoil it for you.

The book was good even though at times I skimmed many of the formal parties that Victoria attended, looking for the action and searching for a certain mysterious man who caught my attention from the moment he entered the story. *G* Who could that be? The delectable Sebastian, maybe?

I did find myself wondering why these vampires tended to show up at all of the formal parties of the ton. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Also Victoria's mother and her mothers two friends annoyed me. I guess they were typical women of the nineteenth century but I found their perspective was rather draining and tedious.

Still, this was a good book that laid the foundation for the series.


The second book, Rises The Night, was very enjoyable. All of the action that was missing in the first book came racing in, in full force. I couldn't put the book down and at many points found myself with baited breath wondering what was going to happen next.
Victoria Gardella has been a vampire slayer for just over a year, balancing her life as a peer of Society with the dangerous role that takes her out on moonlit streets, stake in hand.

As Victoria races across Europe to stop what could be the most deadly army the Gardellas have ever faced, she is accompanied by the unlikely Sebastian Vioget, a man as tempting as he is untrustworthy. But when Victoria discovers that she has been betrayed by one of her most trusted allies, the truth will challenge all her powers as a Venator – and as a woman

In Rises The Night, Victoria finds herself in Italy and Rome (I think that the change of venue, from England, made this book many times better than the first). She has to find a way to destroy the Akvan's Obelisk. It has fallen into the hands of Nedas, son of the Vampire Queen, Lillith. The Obelisk has the power to wake the undead and basically cause hell on earth, which would be a draw to any evil vampire bent on destroying all of human kind.

This is one of those books where I don't want to say too much because any little slip can give a major plot away. But I will say that there are a lot of unexpected surprises and twists in Rises The Night. Victoria really comes into her own in Rises The Night and other characters, that were more so just wallpaper in the first book, become three dimensional.

What I love about this series is that Victoria is never idiotic. She thinks out her actions before she takes them. There is never a moment where I want to close the book and roll my eyes. In other words, she is never too stupid to live.

Oh, and let me not forget Sebastian. Love him. Sebastian is a mysterious character who I can't say much about because I don't know much about him. One of his secrets does come out in RTN but Colleen leaves us with so many more. Like why won't he take that shirt off? What more is this mortal man hiding? So many questions, so much more series to go.

While the first book was not as good as the second, both together made a great read. I also love that the books seem to be getting better with time. I'd take that over having a strong first book and a disappointing second, any day. Grade B+


The third book in this series, The Bleeding Dusk, comes out in Febuary 2008.

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