I was in the middle of reading Charlaine Harris's True Blood series and eager to read anything else vampire that didn't have a poster, keychain, tee shirt, action figure, Xbox game, pendant, change purse, or lunch box to accompany it so I picked up Shades of Gray. Joleene's blurb begins: Dark, stunning and mysterious, Shades of Gray breaks through the barriers of modern writing and revitalizes the vampire genre for a new generation. This was enough for me, so I agreed to read it.
The book is indeed dark, stunning, and mysterious. I'll give Naylor that. Her blurb even throws a punch to "those vampires" I've already mentioned: Unlike modern, feeble vampire stories directed at teenagers and Hollywood, Shades of Gray takes us back to a time when vampires were still deadly creatures of the night and love knew no bounds. Feeble vampires? I love that.
And so we meet Katelina and Jorick. Our light and our dark. Our Juliet and Romeo. Our human and our vampire that are romantically drawn to one another, but caught up in the drama that separates our two worlds and makes things complex. Jorick hates what he is and the code he is bound to, and is willing to break it for Katelina's sake. Meanwhile, Katelina is being hunted by the vampire clan, after the mysterious death of her lover, and Jorick much choose to either save her or succumb to what he really is. A vampire.
Yep. We've read this before, or waited for the movie. And I fully admit I thought I had this book all wrapped up with a pretty bow by the time I was half way through it. But while Naylor's plot may not be completely original, her characters are. I did enjoy at least reading about adult vampires. Beware! There are scenes here that are a bit more graphic than what the young vampire readers these days may be accustomed to. Naylor embraces the fact that vampires should be monsters and have teeth and bite people, instead of sparkling in the sun while eating rabbits and going to high school.
The romance part of this book is weak only because it's nothing new, and unfortunately it never will be in this generation. Naylor pays homage to King and Rice in her book's description as well, but many indie authors will. Vampire fans of my age don't have to be reminded who wrote it first and who wrote mainstream vampires better. But the word "vampire" and "romance" together unfortunately throws a book into that other category that leaves you no room on a teen's bookshelf or bedroom wall. We know whose already there. I know. I've seen my niece's bedroom. So, unfortunately, for me that's where Shades of Gray turned gray for me.
I would like to commend Naylor on the book's cover and the pristine formatting of the interior. Naylor created the cover art herself which I found very impressive. The chapter headings also have some nice artwork which does give the book a nice feel which any horror author would be proud of. Naylor can also write and does it quite well. The story is engrossing and kept me entertained and able to finish it despite its stereotypical flaws which I think the author was hoping to avoid.
I wouldn't suggest this book to teens, especially younger ones in love with one Edward Cullen, depending on their reading level and maturity of course. However, for anyone like me who does enjoy a good blood sucking read that's out of the norm, I recommend you give Shades of Gray a try. The author has given great care and attention to making this a book to be proud of, and she should be.