Series: A Shade of Vampire #1
Published by Self-Published on December 14th 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.
A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.
She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.
Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.
Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.
Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?
I went into this book like a person between jobs, bored of their last venture and not yet ready to dive into anything too serious. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and my expectations were appropriately set for mindless entertainment. I know this may seem like a strange thing for some people and I’m sure many would wonder why I decided to read a book I was sure to dislike. The simple explanation would lie somewhere between “Because I felt like it” and “Because I paid for it.” But for those of you who aren’t as easily pacified, I’ll say this: Reading books like this is like inviting your friends over for a night of popcorn, ice cream and really, really terrible horror movies. It takes itself so seriously, that you can’t take it seriously. And instead of scaring you, the intentional outcome, it has the reverse effect, providing you and your friends endless fodder for punch lines to new jokes and puns equally as terrible as its source material.
But the moral question, of course, must be considered. Is this fair to the author? And to that I would have to reply in the affirmative and point such cynics in the direction of my Amazon receipt. A Shade of Vampire isn’t a book that I would recommend or even one that I could see myself coming back to. It’s served it’s purpose of being different enough from what I usually read, breaking up the monotony. It entertained me and now I shall entertain you. (Also, spoiler alert.)
Here we go.
There. I’ve already shot, mangled and killed the Fat Elephant in the room right out the gate. I’m not pulling the “T” card strictly because this book is about vampires and forbidden love. Plenty of other Paranormal Romance books have those qualities and still maintain their independence from the pop culture phenomenon. I bring it up because it’s inevitable and follows similar book canon. As such, I created a Choose Your Own Adventure based on A Shade of Vampire.
Choose Your Own Adventure: A Shade of Vampire
1. You’re walking through the park alone, feeling down and under appreciated by family and friends. A handsome stranger comes out of nowhere. He’s creepy, invades your space and asks you name. You:
A. Tell him your name and force yourself not to run away because you’ll show your friends and family! So what if he turns out to be some psycho serial killer. You’re 16 and invincible and living on the wild side for once. WHOO-HOOO! YEAH BABY! (Proceed to #2)
B. Run, because he could be some psycho serial killer. (Proceed to #6)
2. Okay, so that was totally not smart and now you’re tied up to a post in a basement. Turns out they want to pamper, primp and prime you for this important Vampire Prince. You vow to be smart from now on about your decisions. You are brought before the Prince along with several other girls, made up for the sole purpose of sexual objectification. You’re scared and nervous, so you hold one of the other girl’s hands. The Prince notices this gesture and singles you out! Oh noz! He slams you against the wall hard, ready to suck you dry. You:
A. Tell yourself you are not the victim here, despite clearly being in a victim-like situation. It’s something your Yoda, best friend used to always tell you. So naturally you tell the Prince, who just can’t seem to control his thirst even though he really, really wants to, that he is also not a victim. You do all this with a clear head even though Vampire Fangs are breaths away from your throat. Also, you are a Mary Sue. (Proceed to #3)
B. Think about the great life you had and go down fighting like the lion you are. You die. GAME OVER.
3. Whew! Somehow that worked! Who knew your Yoda best friend’s advice could come in handy against a Vampire Prince with a tortured past?! As a result, the Prince has taking a liking to you and gives you the plush room right next to his in his pimped out tree house (because where else would a vampire sleep? A coffin? Yeah, right). In fact, he’s drawn to you and you to him. But you have to get home, so when the Prince thinks you’re sleeping, you:
A. Miraculously find a hoodie and pair of shorts in your closet that’s conveniently filled with cocktail dresses, find a way down the treehouse, and make a run for it… all on the same page! Who needs details? You have no idea where you’re going, but you’ll find a way. You’re the heroine after all! (Proceed to #4)
B. Buy out the opportune time. You get to know the Prince and find out as much as you can about the secluded town to help plot your escape. All things come to those who are smart. (Proceed to #6)
4. This was a bad idea. You didn’t realize this was an island with no way of escape! WAAAA WAAA! They even have a fence as tall as the wall of China! UGH. Damn Vamps! If only you had attempted to learn more about this place, maybe you could have anticipated this and prepared better. Alas, you are a dunderhead. Oh, no! Here come two guards. You:
A. Think about name-dropping your powerful master’s name in the hopes that it’ll put fear into their hearts, but you allow yourself to be interrupted because something has to encourage this ridiculous plot along. This is it. Your death is coming. (Proceed to #5)
B. Run. You Die. GAME OVER, silly girl.
5. One of the guards has his fangs in your neck. Just as you are mentally saying goodbye to your life, the Vampire Prince comes out of nowhere and rips you away from the attackers. Then some serious Indiana Jones type shit happens.
You’re scared, hurt and mentally cursing yourself for yet another terrible decision. Vampire Prince makes you drink his blood to heal yourself and takes you back to your fancy prison. He tells you never to run away again and that you are his. You:
Fall in love because he seems like a nice guy underneath it all. GAME OVER.
6. Congrats! You’re probably not a dunderhead, but will most likely still die because you’re playing by cliché YA rules. May the odds be ever in your favor.
The basic plot for A Shade of Vampire is Sofia coming to accept Derek and help heal him. I’m generally not a fan of those type of books because it creates an imbalance in the relationship and breeds co-dependence. The next thing you know the characters are proclaiming their undying love and saying things like they’ll never love another or how they can’t be without that person. Of course, you also have the fact that Derek wants to EAT Sofia. And somehow after 400 years of not drinking blood, he’s able to resist Sofia because she’s different.
No other woman — and believe me when I say that I’ve been with many — had the same effect that Sofia Claremont has on me. [...] She’d only recently entered my life, yet it felt like I’d known her for ages.
I’ve already stopped even thinking about a life that doesn’t have Derek Novak in it.
Whether I liked it or not, home had become wherever Derek Novak was.
What made me angry was the not so subtle sexism and slut shaming that went on. Sofia is a member of Prince Derek’s harem and other Vamps in the town assume she’s sleeping with him, because HAREM, and all that. Sofia is oblivious to this until a member of the Prince’s guard says she’s doing a good job of pleasing him. And she replies:
“That’s not… I would never!” I spluttered.
Here I was, a virgin, being rumored to have given the newly awakened prince a pleasurable night in bed.
He frowned, an amused glint in the corners of his eyes. “You mean you didn’t…”
My eyes widened. “No! I’m not that kind of girl…”
Then we have Derek’s brother, Lucas, who wants nothing more than to rape and kill Sofia. Every time he showed up in a scene he made these intentions clear. Because it’s not enough that he wanted to drink her blood and kill her, he has to want to rape her too.
The lust was unmistakable. He was practically undressing her with those eyes and I could tell that Sofia felt it based on how she sat there tense and unmoving.
But why does Lucas want Sofia so bad? WHAT’S HIS MOTIVATION? Her blood smells good just wasn’t a good enough for me. But that brings us to the novel’s biggest issue. Regardless of the clichés, A Shade of Vampire could have been decent if the writing had been tighter and not had sentences like this:
I was aware of it all, and yet, I wasn’t. It was almost like everything was happening to another person, and yet it was me.
WUT. Let me help you: “It was surreal.”
The characters could have also used some development besides the usual descriptions. Sofia is a girl who can do no wrong, a pure virgin, The One to Change Derek, selfless, not used to attention, etc. The only unique thing about her is her Low Latent Inhibition disorder, which basically amounts to nothing more than a really good memory. I kept wondering if it would somehow relate to the plot or have some other use, but it’s kinda like Nora’s iron pills from Hush, Hush. They serve no other purpose than being present.
(OH. And there just happens to be a witch on the vampire island who also was a psychologist and able to diagnose this disorder. I swear this book was written with an Easy Button.)
The underlying plot with the war between the other covens and Vampire Hunters would have been more interesting if it had more page time instead of just being casually mentioned once or twice. This is certainly not the worst book I’ve ever read, but I can’t really recommend it to anyone either unless you’re bored or a huge Twilight/Hush, Hush fan. And even then, this book may be too ridiculous to be true.