Rises the Night
First of all, let’s call this series what it is: Regency Buffy. Now, if you’re as intrigued as I was when reading the review of last year’s The Rest Falls Away, the very good news is that what we have here isn’t a rip-off of that great television show, but instead something that takes the best of it – in other words, many of the things we loved about the Buffster – and sets it in the most popular historical time period. And, fellow readers, it works. Very well, indeed.
In every generation ( I couldn’t resist), there is a female descendent of the Gardella family who is the most powerful of the venators, Regency Buffy-speak for vampire hunters. In the first book, young noblewoman Victoria learns the startling truth about the existence of vampires and, even more incredibly, about her own heritage from her Aunt Eustacia, a powerful venator herself. By the end of the first book, Victoria is well on her way to becoming…well, Regency Buffy.
As the second book opens, Victoria (and I will avoid some details here for fear of spoiling the first book) accidentally stakes a human (a la Faith) and vows to give up actively hunting so she can spend the time she needs concentrating on her training until she is truly worthy. Roughly a year passes and Victoria is soon enough drawn into a mystery surrounding a society rooted in the ancient past that has long endured as human supporters of the vampires. This society’s vampire groupies allow the undead to feed from them for sexual pleasure and even bring them victims.
But, to the dismay of Victoria and her fellow venators, the society’s assistance to the evil vampires, regrettably for the future of humankind, goes even deeper when our ever-resourceful vampire hunter learns of a plot to activate a magical obelisk that would mean disaster for all life on earth.
I know I’m being a little sketchy on the plot outline front, but I don’t want to provide any further details because I hope readers will read the first book as well as this one. Quite honestly, though this entry can be followed easily enough on its own, I think there’s a very good chance you’ll enjoy this book a bit more if you take the time to first read the prequel.
Colleen Gleason has done something cool here: She’s created a real, full-blooded (sorry) heroine and given her an entertaining and intriguing cast of secondary characters with whom to interact. Her mythology, to take things even further into positive territory, is easily digested and not unnecessarily complicated as so many are today. And, suffice it to say that there are two potential heroes for Victoria, both of whom are mysterious, sexy, and completely three-dimensional. In sagas like these I pretty much always pick a hero I’m pulling for by this point in the story, but right now, fellow readers, I could go either way.
As for Victoria herself, though she is young in years just like our modern day Buffy, she wears the mantle of vampire hunter with great authority. Still, she also always feels real. Victoria is, in the simplest terms, a young woman of her time and place graced – or cursed – with powerful talents and a unique heritage. It is a testament to the author’s skills that this seeming contradiction works so very well.
For the record, while I very much enjoyed The Rest Falls Away, I think the author really hits her stride with this one. If you’re looking for an intelligent, new spin on the vampire genre, Rises the Night and its prequel fit the bill perfectly. As for me, I’m in. Oh, baby, am I in!