Ellen Chauvet’s debut novel, When Darkness Falls: The First Vampire Redemption Story, tells the story of Lexie Miles who, after the murder of her best friend Emma by vampires, finds out she comes from a long tradition of vampire hunters. She becomes part of a secret society in France where she is groomed to help fight against the evil vampires that are threatening the world. But when she meets Etienne, a powerful and seductive ‘good’ vampire working with the society, she falls in love, jeopardizing her life and future as a vampire hunter.
Ms. Chauvet creates a world set in Paris and the French countryside with vivid details of the food, architecture and landscape. It’s a great backdrop for the story and Ms. Chauvet obviously knows the region well. As the story progresses, Lexie can’t help but fall in love with Etienne, but her being a vampire executioner, things only get complicated when Lexie's desire overcomes her rational thinking. And this is really the heart of the story; Lexie’s fantasy. I had to remind myself that this is an adult fantasy and Ms. Chauvet does not shy away from the more explicit encounters between Lexie and Etienne. Perhaps it can be described as Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Fifty Shades of Grey…
Ms. Chauvet also manages to keep the story at a brisk pace, and there is never a dull moment. I found myself wanting to know what happens next and the story provides a few unexpected twists and turns. Also there is a good amount of humour through out, mostly provided by Lexie and her Southern one liners such as ‘Thunder crap!’ or ‘Well butter my butt and call ma a biscuit’ and my personal favourite, ‘I’m as happy as a frog sitting on a lily pad catching flies!’ All in good fun. Much of the story is told through the character’s dialogue and at times seems ‘on the nose’; characters talking about what they are going to do next and then going off and doing it. But Ms. Chauvet handles it with such enthusiasm and energy that you can’t help but to hold her hand and go along with the ride.
There are also several themes at play here; Good versus Evil (obviously), women’s sexuality and the choices we all make regarding relationships. Lexie comes across as a strong and confident woman and then at times unsure and confused. There are moments when she succumbs to the powerful and seductive Etienne, and it becomes more about passion, lust and sex. Lexie has to deal with the impact of the choices she makes and I enjoyed how the story evolved from her choices, whether they were good or bad.
When Darkness Falls is outrageous, sexy and yes somewhat campy, but that is what is so damn fun about it. You can tell that Ms. Chauvet had a lot of fun writing this story and it shows. It’s infectious and it has stayed with me after the last page. A very enjoyable read and I eagerly look forward to the next installment!
Reviewed for Relentlessly Creative by screenwriter Kevin Mosley, author of feature films “Savage Island” and numerous others including his upcoming film “Puppet Killer,” a horror comedy to be released in 2017. Kevin resides in Vancouver, B.C. where he is an active member of the screenwriting community. You can learn more about Kevin on IMbd.com.
The heroine of When Darkness Falls, Lexie Miles, is a feisty spit and vinegar belle patrolling Paris dolling out her Southern witticisms like her karate kicks. She’s fun, hot and horny and is training to kick some serious vampire butt as a vampire executioner. While in one sense this is completely in line with other vampire series, Ellen Chauvet has done one or two things that haven’t been done in any other vampire novels, and most of it is about sex! She gets right down to it whether purring out her heroine’s lascivious thoughts or when a couple of characters are engaged in steamy sex. What I liked best is when she has crossed the sex scenes with the darker or violent side of things. It reminds me about what Truffaut said about Hitchcock, in this case, she does her murder scenes like love scenes and her love scenes like murder scenes. In the case of our heroine’s vampire love-interest, she keeps us guessing …does he or doesn’t he care? Is true love really true love, or just lust turned to bloodlust? This is a no holds barred sexy, fast-paced, action vampire romp. Vampire fans will be dying for the next one. Reviewed for Relentlessly Creative by Katherine Lake