Kiss of Midnight
I am not a huge fan of vampire romances but I have read a few that I really liked. After reading Kiss of Midnight, I realize I prefer vampire-lite to vampire-dark. In vampire-lite the vampire hero sips from necks while inducing pleasure – he doesn’t kill his victims and his role with humans is one of protection. In vampire-dark, which Kiss of Midnight definitely is, the hero is a beast with few redeeming qualities.
Gabrielle Maxwell’s mother died ranting about vampires. Despite the wounds on her neck, everyone thought she was crazy, but in fact she had been attacked by a Rogue vampire and rescued by a Breed warrior. The warrior sent her on her way without making much of an effort to find her and erase her memory, as he was supposed to do. Gabrielle’s mother’s life turned out to be a short trip from abandoning her daughter in a garbage bin to the loony bin and ultimately suicide. After this cheery prologue, the story opens 27 years later with Gabrielle witnessing a Rogue vampire murder and feeding. She is rescued by a handsome Breed warrior vampire. If you don’t figure out quickly that her rescuer and her mom’s was the same guy, namely Lucan Thorne, you should go to back and retake Romance 101.
Lucan quickly realizes that there is a Rogue uprising led by a mysterious leader and that Gabrielle is in great danger, even if the cops don’t believe her tales of man-eating men roaming Boston’s streets. Lucan is the leader of a band of vampire warriors known as The Breed and their sole purpose in life is to defeat Rogue vampires that threaten both the Breed and humans. All other vampires live in protected reservations, from which they venture to nibble on the human population without causing death.
Lucan is determined to protect Gabrielle, but he goes about it in a very strange way. Here is a woman threatened and he sends her a mind-meld message to leave her doors unlocked so he can come in and have oral sex with her, then leave her thinking it was a dream. The only reason he doesn’t take her completely is that he finds a birthmark on Gabrielle that identifies her as a “Breedmate.” If he takes her and shares blood they are bound for eternity. Now, we all know this is what will happen, but the author takes a very long time and much angst getting to that point.
Lucan is a very busy guy. Besides trying to protect Gabrielle, fighting with the other members of the warriors group and the Rogues, he is also fighting an addiction to blood. known as blood lust, an affliction which also plagued his father and brothers.
Much of the book’s action plot was telegraphed and I knew who the “evil master” was from the first mention of him early in the story. The story just meanders along from an exciting beginning with a dead middle and then lots of action in the last twenty pages. Worse, the denouement involved Gabrielle engaged in multiple TSTL actions. Then too, so very many groups and characters weigh down the middle of the story. Between the Rogues, Minions (humans whose will has been drained, so they are essentially robots), the Breed Warriors and their Breedmates, I didn’t care what happened to Gabrielle and Lucan.
For me though, the biggest problem was Lucan. I like heroes to be heroic and Lucan falls far short in that department. Lucan’s faults stem from his chosen method of survival: he self-righteously hunts down drug dealers and other petty criminals and functions as cop, judge, jury, and executioner. But it’s his manner of killing them that created a major ick factor. At one point Gabrielle finds Lucan munching on a Minion and was totally grossed out. Me too, especially since he was at that point completely out of control and in danger of succumbing to a permanent blood lust. It is hard to enjoy a book when I find the hero’s actions disgusting.
Kiss of Midnight disappointed me on many levels. Several of the other Breed warriors are interesting and hopefully they will prove more likable than Lucan and their heroines more intelligent then Gabrielle, but I’m afraid that I won’t be sticking around to find out.