4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to watch out for
I absolutely loved this book. I was shocked to learn the age of the author as the way she created her universe was done so well, it would put some of her contemporaries to shame.
I though the hero was really interesting from the start but it did take a little while to warm up to the heroine. However, I eventually was won around and became really absorbed in...
Published 11 months ago by free2shop2003
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear.
I should preface this review by stating quite clearly that I am pretty much a mass consumer of paranormal fiction, romance, chick lit and otherwise easy-to-read books and tales, so my review here is in no way based on any literary snobbery. I also appreciate that the author was apparently very young when she started writing this book (15, I think).
HOWEVER - I...
Published 6 months ago by S. Fontaine
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear.,
This review is from: Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)I should preface this review by stating quite clearly that I am pretty much a mass consumer of paranormal fiction, romance, chick lit and otherwise easy-to-read books and tales, so my review here is in no way based on any literary snobbery. I also appreciate that the author was apparently very young when she started writing this book (15, I think).
HOWEVER - I couldn't finish this book. I very rarely give up on a book, but in this case I just couldn't bring myself to devote any more time to it. For a start, it's littered with bad grammar, poorly constructed and convoluted sentences, incorrect words (examples being mostly where two very different meaning words sound the same but are spelt differently, and the wrong one has been used, meaning the sentence makes no sense), repeated words in sentences and just generally poor vocabulary. Frankly, if one of the characters "smirked" one more time, I was going to scream. Did the author really mean "smirk" or did she mean half-smile, smile, quirking the corner of their mouth or a host of other things? For me, "smirking" describes quite an unpleasant expression / emotion, so to have half the cast running round doing it all the time was really rather off-putting.
In all honesty, the quality of the writing, in terms of proof-reading and editing, was so poor that I actually had to look up whether this book was a vanity publication, because I couldn't see a reputable publishing house releasing it, but apparently not.
Then there were the holes in the plot, continuity errors and the confusion caused when the characters are thinking / dreaming. For me the two main characters both appear to be practically schizophrenic, with uncontrollable inner voices whispering to them .... I don't know if this was deliberate or not, and maybe it was explained later in the book .... I didn't make it that far, if so. Some scenes I had to read multiple times, because I couldn't tell whether the character was dreaming or not. Not helpful.
Finally, there were the characters themselves. Some started out cartoon horrible, and stayed that way. Others started sympathetic and drifted to heartless. Or switched suddenly, as the case maybe. And others, particularly our eponymous anti-hero, appear to be borderline bi-polar. As for the heroine; I lost sympathy because she is constantly horrified by the vampires then abruptly disregards everything and carries on, calmly putting aside gruesome murders she witnesses, because it was them or her as the victim. Selfish. I'm afraid I ended up finding her entirely self-involved.
There is a fine line between a bolshy, stubborn heroine who you root for, and one who seems to just take the abuse and think it's ok. Or even get turned on by it, and Violet seems to fall into the latter category. Others have compared this book to 50 Shades of Grey - I haven't read it myself but know the gist of it and would agree.
One final point - the sticker on the front says "sexiest book you'll read this year", if that interests you. Ummmmm, no. It's not. The book feels like it's written by someone who would quite like to be daring and risqué, but isn't quite ready for it - in short, a teenager. At times, the book looks like it might stray off that way, and then shies away at the last moment, so whilst our heroine seems to frequently get accused of being a "slut", there's little basis for it.
This book had potential - a different take on the vampire story line, and an interesting world, but the story gets lost and bogged down, and too many things are hinted at, or mentioned suddenly, but never explained. Poor writing, and the author's (for now) immaturity let it down. Mental health issues and family losses are bought up and then sort of skimmed over. The character's aren't very likeable. The editing is atrocious.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A promising debut but needs work,
At 522 pages, the Advance Reader Copy (ARC) is a big book but I devoured it in a day as I could not stop reading. I really enjoyed the story, particularly when we came to learn why the book is titled as it is but unfortunately, there were a lot of negatives that I struggled with along the way.
Firstly, I did not feel the writing was tight enough or polished enough which is a shame considering but there's definitely potential there.
Secondly, I realise this is an ARC but as such, whilst it may contain some errors, it should be as ready as it can be for the reader. What I found was a manuscript that looked like it had not been edited AT ALL. Besides all the usual spelling and grammar mistakes, I was shocked to find glaringly obvious plot holes and I became very frustrated with all the inconsistencies and constantly flipping back and forth to check out facts. Don't get me wrong, I do actually ENJOY doing that when I know I'm doing it as a job but as a reader, NO. JUST NO. I ended up e mailing the publishers with the list of errors and was assured that the majority of them had been dealt with for the ACTUAL publication so obviously I cannot vouch for whether this is the case as I do not have the time or inclination to trawl through the kindle version which was released just days later.
Whilst there was a semi explicit sex scene in the book, I definitely do not agree with the bold statement that this is "the sexiest romance you'll read this year", not by a long shot (have you SEEN the books I read? lol). In fact, I was concerned that Violet was generally abused throughout the entire book and some of that was from the love interest! I guess you have to remember that he is a vampire after all and he has a dark nature by his very definition.
This has to be one of the most difficult reviews I've ever written because despite the near constant frustration and the not-so-perfect-writing, I STILL enjoyed the story and this is the first time I've read a 522 page book in a day. Abigail Gibbs may be young but she certainly has potential and I would be very interested in reading the next book and watching her grow as a writer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fair.,
46 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...,
And so, on to the good. The author wrote this when she was a teenager, surely a feat worthy of commendation. It is not every teenager that can demonstrate the dedication to write an entire novel nor the ability to create a plot and characters, and for this, Gibbs deserves credit. I am sure there are many who will enjoy the novel, especially in the wake of the 'Twilight' phenomenon; it has many of the elements that people enjoy - the dangerous yet handsome and alluring vampires, the innocent girl who ends up drawn into the vampires' world, love, lust, sex, the supernatural and so forth. It is also quite believable insofar as the vampires are not all 'nice guys' - the author does not shy away from the fact that they are blood-drinkers and therefore, harm and kill humans whom they view as food. This attempt at showing the bloodthirsty nature and killer instinct of vampires is refreshing in its honesty. For all these reasons, I am certain that many will find much to like about this novel, especially teenagers. However, I am not one of them, which brings me on to the bad.
This has to be the weak and unengaging plot. The book reads like a cross between 'Twilight' and '50 Shades of Grey' with a bit of Mills and Book thrown in. We have our 'Twilight' vampires (all dark, brooding and handsome of course) with our obligatory love triangle (Fabian instead of Jacob) and a hero who plays an instrument (guitar instead of piano), our random sex scenes (not as graphic as '50 Shades' but nonetheless an attempt at titivating the reader) and our constantly changing Mills and Boon-ish 'she hates him, she loves him, he hates her, he loves her' scattered throughout the novel. We also have a mirroring of what was probably the most annoying aspect of '50 Shades' - the inner voice; both protagonist and her love interest seem to have this inner voice and engage in conversations with their inner voice frequently. To her credit the author supplies an explanation for the existence of this inner voice, but the explanation was unbelievable (and I do realise the irony of considering anything believable when talking about a vampire book, but for the purposes of a review, this is not the place to discuss the credibility of vampires) and made it even worse. What we don't have is any realistic description of why our protagonist would like her vampire - she hates him and everything he stands for including his lust for blood, she frequently fears him, he has threatened to kill the family she loves dearly in horrific ways....and yet she loves him...apparently. It seems a rather strange basis for love in my opinion. I certainly could see nothing to like, love, or even vaguely be attracted to in Kasper, our lead vampire, and I found it implausible that Violet (our protagonist) would either. Even more implausible was Kasper's love for her; Kasper is apparently hundreds of years old, with all the wisdom and life experience that these years would have given him, and yet he finds a meeting of minds with a teenager? The word 'tenuous' springs to mind. Then again, perhaps Kasper is sufficiently immature to relate to his teenage love interest; certainly his dialogue seems to show rather childlike ways as shown by this gripping exchange between Violet and Kasper (page 186):
Violet: They do.
Furthermore, the vampires too often seem like charicatures rather than genuine beings - they 'snarl' or 'spit out' almost everything they say - and I particularly laughed at the description of Charity (yes, that really is the name of one of the vampires). Charity is one of the 'lady' vampires in the novels and she is portrayed as having rather loose morals; she completely lives up to her 'chav-like' chariciture when she has an argument with Kasper - 'she shrieked in frustration, tearing at her hair extensions.' At least the novel offers the odd bit of humour I suppose!
And finally on to the ugly...the grammar mistakes in this novel are apalling and so frequent that if I had not have (yes, 'have' not 'of' - more on that later in the review) been sent this as a review book and thus felt obliged to complete it, I would not have done so. I admit freely that I am rather pedantic about grammar, probably more so than I should be in this day and age, but these grammatical mistakes are the sort that no author, especially one apparently studying English at Oxford University should ever make. Here are just a few little gems for you:
- 'you would of gone home' (instead of 'you would have gone home') Page 306 - 7.
- 'what her and Fabian were up to' (instead of 'what she and Fabian were up to') Page 420.
- 'people sat around me' (instead of 'the people who were sitting around me'. Page 420.
- 'me and Kasper were' (instead of 'Kasper and I were'). Page 437.
- 'how could she have sat down and wrote' (should be 'written'). Page 453
- 'servants words' (should be 'servant's words'). Page 480
There are many more but I grew tired of writing them down. The problem is that these are not innocous mistakes, or maybe the breaking of a few antiquated grammar rules - these are illustrations of very poor English grammar and not what one would expect from a novelist or from her publishers, who surely should have provided her with a decent proof-reader?
For all the above reasons, while I am sure Abigail Gibbs will have a legion of teenage fans, I will not be looking out for any of her novels nor will I be recommending any of them to my acquaintances.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to watch out for,
I though the hero was really interesting from the start but it did take a little while to warm up to the heroine. However, I eventually was won around and became really absorbed in the story. Yes, it is another vampire storey but it seems that the world will be expanding to include the whole realm of supernatural beasties so is one to stick with.
The story is a fresh idea and I quite liked that the leads did not fall in love instantly.
All in all, I would recommend this to fans of any paranormal fiction and Miss Gibbs should give herself a big pat on the back for such a superb story.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One for the teenagers,
This book attempted to be it, but as much as i liked it, i didnt love it and there were a host of reasons.
It wasn't believable enough for me.
Yes the history of the varns and the explanations of the 9 dimensions was interesting, and that i enjoyed, however i didn't gel with either Violet or Kasper as characters.
Violet to me seemed rather wishywashy if that is the correct expression, very unsure and seemed to change her mind about everything every 10 seconds, plus she was whiny and clingy and just pathetic at times.
Kasper, well how could anyone fall for a vampire who kept calling her girly, how patronising.
There were some interesting moments for me, Violet's interaction with the queen for example, was very well written, and the introduction of Autumn and the Sagean, they seem to have lots of interesting stories to tell.
The author is 17 years old and what she has achieved is quite remarkable for her age, and at times she writes with an expertise far beyond her years, but whoever edited this book should be shot because they have let her down.
Absolutely littered with spelling mistakes, repeated words, poor grammar, etc, i feel sorry for the author because its the editing that lets it down.
I felt as though the history of the varns should of been more front and center and there should of been way more going on to include violet in the ways of the vampire before she turns, each vampire should of taken her for a day and showed her their way of life in the vampire world, because being confined to her room isn't exactly a great way for her to get to know the family is it.
Also a bit plot point missed out on was the hilarious scene where violet destroys all of kaspers condoms so she doesn't have to hear him have sex, rather amusing and seems a opportunity missed to maybe keep that going for a little while, as the teasing and pranks went on back and forth between them, deepening their feelings for each other. As it was i just couldn't believe the connection between them.
If i could offer any advice to the author at all it would be to ditch your editor and drop the "girly" i cringed every time i read it.
Apart from that it shows promise and i will happily read the follow up if there is one..
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The next big vampire novel?,
The story follows seventeen-year-old Violet, who witnesses a mass murder by a group of vampires and is kidnapped and brought to the home of the royal family, the Varns, where she forms an intense relationship with enigmatic yet dangerous heir to the throne, Kaspar Varn.
This novel starts well, with an exciting story and intriguing premise and I found it really engaging. Violet is a gutsy heroine, capable of standing up for herself, even in the supernatural world. Her voice comes across clearly and is really believable, perhaps because the writer herself is obviously a teenager.
However, about halfway through I thought the story lost its way; the novel is simply too long and there is too much focus on the royal family, supernatural politics and the mechanics of their court, which I found a bit dull and old-fashioned. I also found it hard to focus on the number of characters and lost track of who some of them were.
Since Twilight, there have been a lot of supernatural romances aimed at teens, and many of the male characters take the bad boy stereotype to the extreme, having few, if any, redeeming qualities. Kaspar isn't without positive traits, but his treatment of Violet is generally poor, and their relationship isn't always convincing.
So whilst this started out as a great book, in the end I found it quite mediocre.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needed so much more work,
This review is from: Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) (Kindle Edition)To be honest when I'm always a little apprehensive when I read words such as "online sensation" or publisher descriptions telling me that it's the "sexiest romance I'll read this year." Then the author blurb mentions that she wrote it over three years from the age of fifteen. Almost as if they're making excuses for the errors within, so it was with apprehension alongside worry that I started this book and whilst my opinion is my own, I make no distinction whether the book is written by a young author or an older one.
What unfurled within was a story that felt overly descriptive to the cost of the tales pace, the characters didn't flow and to be honest rather than having a realistic feel to them to help give the reader the believability that they'd desire, left me feeling like it was more just to cover bases so that the writer could get on with it. Add to this a story that for me, could have been better edited with no real pace management and all in I felt rather disappointed. A great shame.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No, nowhere near a British Twilight!!!,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Firstly, it is quite poorly written and edited (your editor really travelled all the way to Devon to edit? Should have stayed at home, taken more time and done a better job!!)and I became frustrated at the repetitive descriptions of the characters interactions and at times completely baffled as to where their limbs were.....! Violets' arms where forever being pinned above her head but managing to do something else at the same time? Reminded me a bit of 'Fifty Shades of Grey' in that respect (not the erotic bits, nor a positive comparison ) with characters smirking constantly, floppy hair, repeated references to changing eye colour (black, emerald green, red, glowing red, pink etc) Violet blushing, having nightmares and passing out (hmm, those traits sound familiar..)and to have a character want to 'shag' her....really? Using slang like that at the moment her key characters finally get it together just comes across as juvenile.
I confess I didn't realise it was written by such a young author before I bought the book or that it was developed from an online idea, but that to some extent explains how it has ended up, it has the appearance of being a mishmash of a lot of different peoples ideas rather than one persons concept thought through properly and cohesively. It's a shame because I really wanted this book to be good, and it does have flashes of promise, but in order for any book containing characters that do not really exist to become 'believable', you have to create a believable landscape, with characters that interact and relate to each other in an authentic way, and I'm afraid this is what lets this book down the most.
I quite liked the way the Varns' court was described and its history, but even though I really wanted Kaspar and Violet to get together, her ultimate change of heart happened so suddenly and without any real reason it just didn't feel credible or satisfying. Kaspar, it has to be said, had potential as a rather nasty bad boy vampire, but is so poorly described I just didn't like him very much, or in the end fancy him!
All in all, a shame really, could have been so much better. Will I read the next book in the series? Not sure......might have to hope the author has matured a bit more as a writer and had a few more life experiences herself to draw upon next time.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars all this could have been avoided with the assistance of a caring publisher and good editor,
The author, Abigail Gibbs, was apparently only 15 when she wrote this and to have produced a "novel" at such an age is something that should be lauded, but ... I don't want to damn with faint praise, or should that be fake praise.
My initial problem is that you can tell that the author was young when she wrote this and, if it had been me, I would have sat down and read it over again with, hopefully, a more adult eye. I would have asked friends who I knew would not have flattered my ego but told me the truth; I would have expected my true friends to tell me that some of the conversation between characters seemed overly childish: they do, they don't, they do, they don't, they do, don't, do, don't, do, etc, and so on throughout the book.
I would also have expected a good publisher to have provided an understanding and experience editor to assist in pointing out areas which may have shown the immaturity and inexperience of the writer at the time of writing and to point her in the direction of self-editing and rewriting certain sections which so obviously could have been improved on - and this is where I believe that the publishers have let her down for the first time.
There could have been more character development as Bella ... sorry that should be Violet, Kasper and the others in the book were flat and overly stereotypical.
Following in the wake of "Twilight" we have the vampire of hundreds of years falling for the self-centred teenage girl yet no reason is given as to why this would happen.
As with "Twilight" we have the obscenely beautiful vampires (I take it that no one younger than 30 has ever seen "Nosferartu", it's remake, or read of the original "Dracula" story by the great Bram Stoker).
At least Ms Gibbs managed to stay away from the fluffy werewolf scenario that Ms Meyers fell into.
The second place that the publisher has let her down is in the lack of grammatical and spelling errors.
Ms Gibbs seemingly used the online writer's forum Wattpad to show some of her work to fellow writers and fan-fiction fans. This is a difficult and, at times, nerve-wracking thing to do as you can be attacked for no reason other than someone doesn't like your pen-name and will flame every page you post without having read the work. I know because when I am ill or in hospital I like to write fan fiction. Unfortunately for Ms Gibbs I also know that if you are struggling with spelling, grammar, continuity or even a way to go (if you ask for it) there are Beta readers available to help - they are not "friends" or "fans" and will tell you if you are making a mess of things. Good Beta readers will point out where you are going wrong without foisting their ideas on your story.
I would appeal to Ms Gibbs friends/fans to get her to use a Beta reader for the next story and maybe, if she listens to them, the errors that she made will not occur again.
I hope that Ms Gibbs can raise her characterisation from the stereotypical imagery that she has adopted in this story for any future work she might publish.
The sad thing is that there is a good story under all the errors, underdevelopment and poor overall execution - all this could have been avoided with the assistance of a caring publisher and good editor.
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Dinner with a Vampire (The Dark Heroine, Book 1) by Abigail Gibbs