10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.5 stars - Great courtship but the leads lose the spotlight leaving the ending a bit flat.,
This review is from: Damien (The Nightwalkers, Book 4) (Mass Market Paperback)
We have had glimpses of mysterious and powerful vampire Prince Damien in previous Nightwalker books. This time it is Damien's turn to break eons old vampire taboos as he finds himself captivated by Lycanthrope Princess Syreena and they fall prey to the irresistible pull between Nightwalker mates even as further pieces of the prophecy come into play. When Syreena is captured by the powerful/insane demoness Ruth, who continues her quest for power and vengeance, Damien comes to the rescue. Damien defies fundamental vampire beliefs to bite a bleeding out and dying Syreena so that he can administer a second bite with a coagulating agent to seal her wounds. Accepting that the forbidden taste of Nightwalker blood may mean his own death, Damien instead undergoes a transformation leading to some profound personal changes in Damien. It is an emotional awakening for Damien which also wins him cool new powers and some insights into the love that vampires are supposed to be incapable of feeling. But while the initial stages of Damiens's courtship are easy since Syreena too feels the draw that seems to make their joining inevitable, the decision for Syreena is a difficult one -- as a royal lycanthrope any physical joining forms a permanent soul-connection and given what she knows of vamps Syreena has to trust in Damien staying committed for their potentially eternal lifetimes when vamps are not known to form long term attachments.
I loved the first third of the book. Author Jacquelyn Frank did a great job of creating a vampire race with a very different feel - capricious, self-interested, seeking pleasure or anything to keep them from a boredom which can become so severe that the vamps drift off and hibernate for a hundred years. And I really loved Vampire Prince Damien. The way Damien was portrayed gave him the feel of an ancient being who had the benefit of centuries worth of knowledge and experiences and who, in having survived so much, had somehow cultivated coping skills for keeping himself entertained in a vampire detached way so that he no longer succumbs to the debilitating vampire boredom. But of course when he crosses paths with Syreena, boredom is no longer an issue. I also loved the courtship between Damien and Syreena, which starts out to be so natural and intriguing to Damien, but ends up bringing him a soul deep torment when it appears that Syreena may deny what is between them.
The middle third of the book was interesting from a series point of view with revelations and politics to set a direction in the overall series plot though it was quite `talky' and Frank's conversions are a bit stilted compared to the rest of her lovely prose and well done character inner dialog. But the book's last third which was... heck I really don't know what that was. I guess it was somewhat a shift in the focus to a more secondary character vampiress Jasmine, Damien's 'second' and longtime platonic companion. Other than some jealous power plays creating a situation that gave Syreena a chance for some payback, this shift really moved Damien and Syreena out of the spotlight. Since Damien is first most a romance, ending the book with a prophecy for Jasmine and making our last glimpses of Syreena and Damien at a distance through the eyes of a detached and less than sympathetic Jasmine left the ending a bit flat. So while I loved beginning, and thought the middle was pretty good, the ending is what sticks with you and in this case the ending was only just okay and left me disconnected from the characters so that it dropped my rating down a whole notch. Still I enjoy the series (Jacob and Elijah were my favorites), and with the introduction of a new Nightwalker race, a bigger role for the reclusive Mistrals and the hints for Jasmine's future it looks likely that that Frank has plans for more books beyond the upcoming Noah (Nightwalkers, Book 5).