Annelise Drew, who prefers to be called Drew, wants nothing more than to put Christmas, Florida in her rearview mirror. She doesn't get along with her stepmother and her stepfather is a mean, abusive drunk who's smacked both of them around more than once. School wasn't any better, with an IQ of 185 Drew was pretty much an outcast with no friends. Because of all of that she busted her butt to graduate a semester early and is was granted early admission to college. When she gets there she notices a hot guy hanging out in the registrars office, but her attention is quickly drawn away when she's told that she actually didn't graduate from high school because of a new requirement to pass a swimming test, which she didn't do (Drew hates the water and can't even swim).
As she sits in her car, which won't start, the hot guy, a Scot named Ronan, comes up to her and offers her a ride. After some hemming and hawing, Drew accepts. Once she's in the car, instead of taking her to the coast, where she's planning on getting a waitressing job and figuring out what to do next, Ronan takes her to a landing strip where a private jet and the offer of a new life at an exclusive school awaits. Despite her misgivings, Ronan seems to have a way to persuade her to go with him. What awaits her on the Isle of Night, near Scotland, is a place full of vampires and the threat of death if she underperforms; a threat which is immediately made clear is not an idle one.
First of all, and this is me on my soapbox, Drew says she sees herself in a fur coat. Now, I know this is fiction, but I don't care. I'm sick of authors putting crap like this in books in this day and age. Fur is nothing to be looked at as classy or womanly. Okay, I'm getting off of my soapbox. No, wait, she also said that she wore a shirt and figured Kristen Stewart would wear something like it...wearing something because Kristen Stewart might, that shouldn't happen either. Ugh.
So, Drew's supposedly a genius, which she constantly reminds us of, yet she got in a car and then on a freaking plane with a total stranger. Her own father smacked her around and she kept going on about her instincts and, I don't care that ****slight spoiler**** Ronan has some special persuasive powers ****end of spoiler****, if she's so smart, why the hell would she go with him? I just don't get it. And then, because she's seen "casual cruelty" (maybe that fur you'd like), someone getting eviscerated in front of her doesn't really phase her. Yeah, right.
Obviously, I really didn't like this book. The characters had no depth and we didn't get to know any of them all that much; not that I really wanted to. With the exception of Drew's friend Yas, a vampire trainee, pretty much everyone was an ass. It appeared that the only way to get an invite to join the sadistic vampires was to basically be a borderline psychopath. Or maybe that was just done to make Drew seem more sympathetic and normal. Didn't work. No one, Drew included, seemed to really mind hurting or killing others. Something she did resulted in some dire consequences, and, though she said it bothered her, it really didn't seem to. We were supposed to feel sorry for her because her father physically abused her and it was apparently what made her so tough as nails, but I didn't feel for her at all and she didn't come off as all that tough. Oh, and Drew and all of her fellow trainees drink vampire blood right from the get go and don't really seem to give it a second thought. When in Rome, I guess. Plus, nasty vampires, a male Asian friend and a main character who, in theory, is supposed to be a kick butt heroine called Drew...I kept thinking of the Strange Angels series.
To top off the crappy, depthless characters, we really didn't learn anything about what they're really being trained for, how the vampire trainees become vampires, why they'd agree to it or what the Watchers really do. We didn't learn much about training, classes, etc. and there seemed to be nothing to do except for Drew to obsess over being number one in a contest so that she can get off of the island with one of the vampires who, of course, we know next to nothing about and who scares, yet draws Drew to him. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Ugh. Maybe it was because there's a sequel and the author thought that a book with no real answers would whet our appetites for more, but I have less than no interest in reading the next book in this series.