Kiss of Crimson
Grade : D

I seem to be on a roll lately with books that can easily be summed up in one word. Derivative will do the job nicely for this one.

See if this sounds familiar: A group of extra large vampire warriors are engaged in a struggle against evil on an epic level. These extra large vampire warriors have a street-wise way about them, drive expensive cars, live in a lavish mansion, and wear lots of leather.

This book trods so many well-traveled paths that the only real dose of originality made me snort every single time I read it: “Suckhead” is the term the members of the Order (see, it’s like a Brotherhood, only different!) use when talking about vampires who’ve gone Rogue and can’t control their insatiable blood lust. And if that painfully pseudo-hip term just doesn’t sum up the qualities of this lesser book then I don’t know what does.

Kiss of Crimson is the second book in Lara Adrian’s series, following Kiss of Midnight. Blah, blah, blah, the war against the Rogues is escalating and vampire Dante somehow finds himself wounded in vet Tess Culver’s clinic. But, see, Tess isn’t any ordinary woman, she is a “breedmate” and I’ll bet you can’t guess in a million years what that means.

So, Dante drinks from Tess to heal himself, then makes her forget she ever knew him. Then they see each other again and Dante just can’t stop thinking about her because she’s a breedmate and all. But Dante is also busy looking for the distributor of a drug called Crimson that instantly turns good young vampires into bad young Rogues.

Tess is good, good, good! Make that good, good, good, good, good! She is such a good person, in fact, that she charges the sweet, old, arthritic lady just $20 to neuter her cat. Of course, she’s behind on her bills because she’s so good to the poor people even though she struck out on her own at a very young age and somehow still managed to get through college and vet school without making the acquaintance of those nice folks at Sallie Mae which would make it well nigh impossible to charge sweet, old, arthritic ladies $20 to neuter a cat, but I guess that’s because she’s really, really smart, too, since she turns 26 in the course of this novel. Now college takes four years, vet school another four, then you have to take into account the few years we are told she’s already been in practice…hmmmm, the math just doesn’t add up to me. Except that she’s so good, she must be really, really, really smart, too!

Dante is so generic that the word generic isn’t nearly generic enough to cover how completely generic he is.

Though this book draws upon all the many (many!) vampire books out there, it’s impossible not to make the screamingly obvious comparisons to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. But surface similaries aside – and, believe me, they are legion – there is a reason why the J.R. Ward (who really should learn to say no sometimes when asked to provide a cover quote) books are so popular and that reason is that J.R. Ward is an amazing writer. It isn’t about the extra large vampire warriors. It isn’t about the Paranormal Boys Club. It’s about great storytelling encompassing Big Themes (caps intended), as well as subtleties and nuances that don’t come within one mile of this book. It would be nice if publishers would buy a clue or two before putting something this formulaic out there in the marketplace.

Reviewed by Sandy Coleman

Grade: D

Book Type: Vampire Romance

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : May 15, 2007

Publication Date: 2007/06

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