The Rest Falls Away
When I write that this is a Regency-set vampire novel, there are probably readers out there who will assume that the book is nothing more than a gimmick to draw in the hordes of Regency and vampire fans out there. Somehow I don’t think so since The Rest Falls Away is not a light, Regency-vamp romp by any stretch. For starters, even though it is published by a romance publisher and has some strongly romantic elements, this book reads more like straight fiction than a true romance. In addition, this novel has enough dark, angsty touches to it that I was utterly wrung out by the end. It is also so good that I couldn’t wait to get online to see when the next in the series will come out (June 2007 for the curious).
Victoria Gardella Grantworth prepares for her debut in London with no thought of a calling other than that of finding a suitable husband. However, on the eve of her coming out, she learns that she has been called to carry the stake of the Gardella family. If she chooses to accept her calling, then Victoria will join a small band of vampire slayers who have kept humanity safe for hundreds of years – and like the modern-day Buffy, she can tell no one her secret.
As a member of the Gardella family and a vampire slayer, Victoria is torn between the glittering world of the ton and its parties, and the darker underworld where she must hunt her prey. Victoria finds herself wanting to respond to the attentions of the charming Marquess of Rockley, but she is unable to tell him of her fight against the vampires surrounding them all. In addition to the Marquess of Rockley, Victoria and her family have caught the eye of Lilith, the powerful queen of the vampires, who is currently hunting in London.
One of the great strengths of this book is its heroine. Victoria is sensible for the most part, and much of the story deals with her growth and development as she loses some of her naivete and develops her skills as a vampire hunter. Her intelligence and her struggle to balance her courtship with Rockley and her fight against Lilith make for interesting reading. After reading so many hero-centered novels, it is refreshing to lose myself in a book with a strong and interesting heroine for a change.
The experience is enhanced by the fact that Victoria is also surrounding by strong and interesting people. From her great-aunt and mentor, Eustacia, to her fellow vampire slayer, Maximilian, and the charming Marquess of Rockley, Victoria lives out her tale accompanied by characters who are more than the usual flat secondary characters. While there were a few slow spots in this book, most of it is quite the page-turner.
My only major frustration with this book came as I neared the end and it was obvious that, while this book had a great plot, it also seems to function at least in part as the set-up for the rest of the series. It does that job well and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next Gardella book, but I do wish that this one had more of a stand alone story to it.
If you are looking for some interesting vampire fiction, this is a good book to pick up. It’s not a romance in the generally accepted sense and probably not for the faint of heart, but the writing is wonderful and the characters really stand out vividly. Colleen Gleason is a great addition to the Signet Eclipse line and I hope to see many more books from her.