The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire
Ah, the joys of that first job – you are all fresh-faced and excited, you feel particularly mature in that new pantsuit you just got, and none of the vampires in your new office tried to bite your neck! Wait, is that not like your first job? Yeah, mine neither.
It’s a pretty good summary of Gigi’s first day, though! Gladiola Grace Scanlon is using the summer before her senior year of college to get an in with the vampire council – sorry, the World Council for the Equal Treatment of the Undead – by being one of the human programmers of their giant legacy project (think Ancestry.com, but looking up your great-great-great-grandniece). At barely 20, Gigi knows she’s landed a pretty sweet gig, complete with probably job offer, super-duper benefits, and a great line on her resume. Things start to go awry when the attack her (vampire) sister and (vampire) brother-in-law warn her about actually comes – after work, on her way to her car, and from the random guy she totally made out with that past Christmas.
The random guy happens to be Nikolai Dragomirov, the 500-year-old vampire in town at the request of the Council, and unfortunately seems to be cursed with amnesia regarding Gigi, their past meetings, and this newest attack (which ended in a stab wound to the thigh and silver spray to the face). And it’s hard to tell if the attacks are against Nik or Gigi. Basically, there’s a lot going on, more than a new job and new potential boyfriend would suggest.
First, the good – I love Ms. Harper’s snarky writing and quirky (and, again, snarky) heroines. Gigi is strong and feisty, at times surprisingly mature for her age and others like a teenager again, and able to fend for herself (and not just in terms of an education and career – her brother-in-law has made sure she can also fight off any potential attackers, since she is just a frail human.) At times the book was a little New Adult-y, but without the overbearing drama that seems to come hand-in-hand with that particular genre.
Nik was a little harder to pin down – since we get everything in first person from Gigi, we don’t get much of his story at all. We know he’s got supernatural powers (apparently most, if not all, vampires have some sort of additional supernatural juju in this series), we know he’s (probably) Russian, we know he’s 500 years old. That’s about it. I want to like him, but I don’t feel like we ever really got to know him. He is pretty romantic at times, though.
And oh boy are the sexy scenes sexy. While I wouldn’t say they really focus on emotions, they definitely focus on feeling things. They aren’t raunchy or over the top – everything is simple and straight-forward. And that was pretty hot. I would definitely welcome more scenes like those, instead of the tie-me-up, tie-me-down variety (we don’t need things to be complicated to be sexy.)
Now for the less than great – none of which were dealbreakers for me here, but may be for other readers out there. First off, I’m not a fan of constant pop culture references. Isn’t it enough to say she had a chocolate truffle? Do we have to specify Godiva? Or that her ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food? The references to The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones will definitely date this book in a few years – I prefer my books, even my contemporaries, to be able to stand the test of time.
We had a bit of the middle book syndrome going on as well – since this is a series, we get to see basically all the other series characters wander by at some point. They all seem to be fully fleshed people, which is great, but there are definitely references, and possibly in-jokes, that I just didn’t get. This seems to happen a lot with the middle books in a series – there is this assumption that the reader knows enough to follow along, and it’s just not always the case. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment, but I can definitely see how frustrating it could be for other readers.
I also found the romance aspect a little hit-or-miss. Gigi and Nik are just thrown together, and while they are definitely in lust, I wasn’t convinced they were in love. I think that there is definitely potential there, but it never quite reached the HEA I was hoping for. And the next book in the series happens before this one in the timeline, so it doesn’t look like I will be seeing the two of them together again soon.
The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire is not going to win “best of the 2015” for it’s depth and emotional impact. It’s not a “make you think” sort of book – but it’s not meant to be. It’s fun and fluffy, with enough of a mystery to push the plot along, and I really enjoyed it.