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VINE VOICEon 31 October 2010
Vampires are under siege; the Catholic church has been trying to fight them for centuries. But they don't have to be the evil villains as which they're so often portrayed. Peter Octavian, a centuries-old vampire, has trained himself to be impervious to the things which kill other vampires; daylight no longer worries him, and holy water carries no stigma. He gets sustenance from a doctor friend who gives him HIV positive blood from a morgue since it has no effect on him and is purposeless for medical reasons. In the process, he's lost all of his vampire coven, who still kill for blood. When the church steps up its attack and search for a book to eliminate all vampires, led by a vicious man called Liam Mulkerrin, Peter leaves his comfortable position as detective and begins to try to fight back.

From what I understand, this series by Christopher Golden isn't new, but has been rereleased thanks to the huge popularity of urban fantasy lately. It fits right in to that genre, and though the protagonist is a male here, there are still plenty of interesting and kickass women around him virtually at all times. It's set across the entire modern world, with the epic battle for vampire survival - and understanding - stretching across continents and covens.

I liked this book. It perhaps isn't going to be one of my favorite series, but it was a solid enjoyable book that had an interesting take on vampire mythology. It's revealed fairly early on, so I won't spoil anything by telling you that many of the traditional vampire fears are based on intimidation by the church. The book itself is a bit anti-Catholic, but since the book is fictional and the true evil is confined to Mulkerrin, I don't think it would be considered offensive even for those who are more religious than me.

The beginning of the book felt a bit hard to get hold of, as a lot is happening and a number of characters are introduced right away. After a few chapters, it swiftly settles down and I got much more into the story.

I think my least favorite part was probably how uncomfortably graphic the book was. There's a lot of violence, some of it sexual, which I don't like to read about. I'm not a big fan of vampire sex anyway - I don't like paranormal romance very much, for example, unless it's got something else going on. The whole thing fit in with the darker theme of the book, but these parts were not exactly pleasurable reading experiences. For me, it felt different from what I'd find in another urban fantasy series; for some reason I react differently to such scenes when they're written by women or men. I don't know if they're actually written differently or if it's a mental thing on my part; so if this doesn't bother you much, please don't let this stop you from reading the book.

Overall, I liked Of Saints and Shadows and am quite happy to continue reading the series. I'd recommend it to those who appreciate urban fantasy, however I do think it's aimed more at a male audience and it might be worth keeping in mind if you're accustomed solely to the paranormal romance type of urban fantasy (like Sookie) that is currently most popular.
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on 22 June 2011
I was led to buy this book because of other reviews, what an idiot! This is an interesting idea, I'll give it that, but until you are about three quarters through you have no idea what it is. The characters are cardboard cutouts and totally unbelievable (yes, I know vampires are imaginary but if you met a real one, as a red blooded human, would you immediately fall in love, despite his good looks?). Sorry, scrub love and replace with sex. It seems when the author runs out of steam/ideas he fills it with explicit sex descriptions and scenes. I was very disappointed. I was hoping for a "page turning thriller" as promised, but the only reason I kept turning the pages was because I kept hoping the next page/chapter would suddenly improve - and I find it very hard to put down a book before I've finished it, which I did this one - in a day.
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VINE VOICEon 1 September 2010
Fans of the fang will undoubtedly be looking for something a little different compared to a number of the titles out there, and boy, do you get it with this offering from Christopher Golden. There's a secret war, some literal secrets and above all else a kick ass leading man who the readers will just fall for. He's got it all, fangs, good looks and above all else demonstrates that a body can morph into the various legends that few other authors feel that they can tackle. Add to the mix a serious supporting cast, some great dialogue alongside some descent pace bound up with a good number of twists and you know that the reader will be more than satisfied with this offering.
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on 17 February 2012
Christopher Golden impressed me with 'The New Dead', 'The Monster's Corner', and the 'Prowler' saga. Quality thus assured, I read 'Of Saints and Shadows', but was disappointed. Characters lack the intimate detail needed to make them sympathetic. Often, the dialogue is preposterous, characters delivering speeches that would embarrass a writing student. Human characters, fatally, are the least credible, ranging from occasional lesbians to psychopathic priests. Vampires change into wolves and into mist with barely a transitional passage. Golden manages to make even orgies and unarmed combat dull. I continue to hold a torch for his work, but will not be reading this series.
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on 23 February 1999
While I enjoy the occasional horror novel, I haven't read too many vampire novels, because the ones I have read were the same boring, romantic plots over and over.
If you want good characterization, engrossing plot, a touch of sex, and the kind of violence that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside, this is a prime choice.
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on 9 February 2017
I was very disappointed with this book, I should never believe marketing spiel!!! Having read Game of Thrones I was very excited about the prospect of reading this book. But I was unable to enage with the characters which were 2 dimensional and although the story was faceted it certainly didn't have the breath or depth of an epic story - it reminded me more of Da Vinci code
Also there was some serious typo's which for me with dyslexia runied the story telling - as such i shan't bother reading the rest of the series!
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on 17 October 2011
This is an odd book. The prose is not great. In places, it's almost uncomfortable. There is one sex scene that actually made me squirm - and not in a good way. But on the other hand, by the end, I liked the characters and the story so much that I looked back on the book favourably and now want to read the next book in the series, so I suppose that's a good thing. Give it a chance, even if it doesn't work for you at first - it might grow on you.
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on 7 February 2000
OK, so if you've just started reading it, you're probably thinking "Why on earth did I buy this! Well, come back to me when you've got past the first few chapters and we'll talk more. Ha you see, it's actually rather good isn't it. For the uninitiated among you, Of Saints and Shadows is a new take on Vampires that you probably couldn't even guess. I admit, the first few chapters are utter rubbish. The plot leaps about too wildly to pin down, the inner thoughts of characters don't seem to quite mesh with the rest of the words and until the first few chapters are over, you're in serious danger of putting it down. However once you really delve into it, you find that suddenly it all seems to come together. Character traits and ideas all seem to work together and as the whole plot begins to unfurl, you begin to realise that you are halfway through a great vampire novel of epic proportions. I promise you when you reach the final battle, you'll be drooling for more. After a time, I couldn't put it down, roll on the sequel!
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on 29 December 2003
It has to be very difficult to write a vampire story nowadays without either re-hashing the classic material or falling into the angst-ridden Anne Rice cliches that now abound. Golden has written a book centred around the vampires that maintains the traditional elements of the mythos, and then proceeds to tear them down one by one.
The book details the struggle between a secret order of the Roman Catholic Church and the secretive vampires of the world. However, the priests are quickly shown to be the evil ones, with the vampires taking on the role of the oppressed victims (although very powerful victims!).
The book is well-written, but those expecting a Buffy clone should beware - this is a much gorier and sexier view of the world of the vampire (although it doesn't descend into the tawdry sex fantasies of the Anita Blake series). The characters are well drawn, though not exactly complex and the plot is relatively simplistic - although enough questions are left hanging at the end for me to eagerly go out and buy the next book.
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on 19 January 2011
Good quick and prompt service got what I expected and recieved quicker than expected and all books ordered together in a protective envelope.
Great will buy from them again, and have no doubts as to what you buy is what you get ! Thanks.
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