How to Seduce a Vampire (Without Really Trying)
I have to admit – I love books with kitschy, cliched titles. I’m happy to say that I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read that are like that (you can check out my top 10 list if you don’t believe me), and I was hoping that Kerrelyn Sparks’ latest would join that particular group on my personal bookshelves. And overall, I enjoyed this one as well. It wasn’t quite as….memorable as I had hoped, but I think it’s a decent addition to this particular series.
Combining humor and romance, it’s not How to Drive a Dragon Crazy, but I’d say it’s pretty good.
After 800 years, Zoltan is finally within reach of the answer he’s been searching for – who killed his father. It’s the reason he became a vampire in the first place – to give him more time. Now his search has led him to the mountains of Tibet, to the secret valley of Beyul-La, inhabited by warrior women who protect a secret centuries old. This women-only group have a strict no-outsider policy, and an even stricter no-men policy, so the search has definitely put Zoltan in danger of his life. And, apparently, in danger of being raped as well – since the group are so anti-male, but still need daughters to continue their work, it is apparently fairly common for them to basically force the men that they do stumble across to have sex with them, in hopes of being impregnated. Of course, any male children are given to the nearby monastery, but the girls are welcomed into their little community.
Unfortunately, Zoltan’s timing could have been better – just two short weeks ago, a group of soldiers affiliated with Master Han and Lord Liao decimated the small group, including Minerva, twin sister to Neona. Neona is still deep in mourning over the loss of her sister, and blames the situation at least in part on the fact that Minerva had to give up her baby boy some years ago – she simply lost her will to fight. Now Neona is faced with a similar challenge and questioning the rules she’s followed faithfully for centuries. – attempt to get pregnant and risk losing her child, or defy their queen, her mother, and let the stranger go.
Of course, he won’t go far – Zoltan is far too fascinated with Neona to leave now, even if her family didn’t hold the secret to his father’s death.
First, I just have to address something – the hero’s name is Zoltan. Seriously. It sounds like a DC comic book character – introducing Batman’s newest nemesis, the magician, Zoltan! As a result of my (perhaps childish) inability to take him seriously because of his name, I spent the entire book reading his name instead as Z, and will be referring to him as that for the remainder of the review. Because I just can’t deal with the actual name.
Okay, now that we got that out of the way.
I’m a little less enamored of Neona, but to be fair, the story starts out at a really low point for her. She just lost her sister, is losing faith with her mother, and basically challenging the rules she’s lived by for centuries. It’s definitely not an ideal time in her life. Add that to the fact that Z forces her to think of her “seduction” as what it really is – rape. That whole line about how you can’t rape the willing? Just because a man is…ready to go, doesn’t mean he is necessarily willing. I very much approved of Z confronting her with this – it’s not just women who are raped.
Luckily, Neona isn’t a horrible person, and quickly moves from being interested to being fascinated to actually trusting him. For her background, this is huge. She’s strong underneath all the grief she’s living with at the moment, and I’m so glad that we get to see that.
Unfortunately, the book isn’t perfect. This is number 15 in the series, and I have read most of them. Still, the characters cross back and forth between the books, and it can be a bit hard if you aren’t up-to-date to remember how everything fits together. I think that the overarching plot of the series is getting to be a bit much for me, but that didn’t really affect the enjoyability of this particular story. That part of the plot was pretty easy to follow, even though it’s been a while since I’ve read some of the other books in the series. It just seems a bit…stale at times. And this particular phenomenon isn’t limited to this particular series – it’s a growing trend in serial paranormals that makes me sad. What ever happened to the one-shot paranormal? Why does everything have to have sequels? Many, many sequels? At some point, they just all blur together, especially when the same cast of characters are in all the different books, and keeping them all straight just seems like too much effort.
If you have read others in this series, it’s a good addition. If you’ve never read this series before, don’t start with this one – I’d say either pick up the first one – How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire – or one focused on the shapeshifters (Eat, Prey, Love is my favorite of those). Come back for How to Seduce a Vampire after you’ve learned a bit more about the series and the characters.