Gabrielle Maxwell is a successful photographer. After a phenomenal gallery show, she and her friends are celebrating at the hottest new Goth club in town. While everyone else is rocking the night along, Gabrielle feels something is wrong. When a fight breaks out, along with brooding stares from an intriguing stranger, she knows something is wrong. And when she sees something horrific in an ally outside the club, she knows her life will never be the same.
Lucan Thorne is a Breed vampire warrior and it's his duty to protect and keep his kind in line. The Rogues are getting more out of control though and their violence is beginning to leave too obvious an impact on not only his world, but that of the humans as well. When he spies an alluring woman across a crowded club, and witnesses her involvement in a grisly murder, he will have to find her and silence anything she knows. It may be too late for her though and Lucan's attraction is too strong to ignore. Too, when he discovers her true destiny, he has no choice but to bring her fully into his world...and into the war waiting there.
There is definitely a unique style to this first in Lara Adrian's vampire Midnight Breed series. It's an urban setting, which we're familiar with by now, but it's got its own atmosphere of dark foreboding twists and turns and she crafts it well through her particular use of language. World-building-wise, it's not doing too bad a job. Where it began to unravel were the main character's interactions, and it usually stemmed from Lucan's end. Tortured, angry heroes are almost always intriguing. It's thrilling to experience the redemption of their character and to see that wicked unraveling to the heroine's irresistible wiles. Lucan, however, has such a mountain of issues that it began to wear very thin before even the middle of the book. His and Gabrielle's pairing didn't make very much sense, as he can't reconcile his inner pain enough to have any real romantic moments with her. Intimacy of the body is not the issue--intimacy of the mind and heart is. Gabrielle is so interesting. At first, she's struggling to understand where she fits in, what she's meant to do with her life. She has some past difficulties that tie in and create a very interesting inner conflict for her character. Where she's weak is her naivety. There are some painful clinches in regards to vampires that she engages in and there honestly were moments of this book that were hard to get into because them. The overall plot and setting are what will induce me to buy the second book, which may be a first for me. While some feel that this is a direct comparison to Ward's beautiful series, I got a much more militaristic, urban feel through the setting and vampire culture itself, as opposed to the backstreet slang and rap infused club hype Ward uses. So, in essence, this one does work well enough on its own merits (well enough for this reader anyway). There were some interesting twists that saved it for me and opened the plot for a continuation in the second book. I actually can't wait to read the second, Kiss of Crimson, and only with the hopes that its main characters will engage me more. First in a new series can be tough sometimes and it's no surprise to me that I enjoyed about half of what it had to offer. The third, Midnight Awakening releases November 27th and the fourth rings in the first quarter of 2008 with a release in March. Plenty of time for this series to redeem itself and get on sure ground.