Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
(Night Prince #1)
HarperCollins (June 2012)
Paperback, 352 pages
I’ve been excited about Once Burned since I read heard Jeaniene Frost was writing it about a year ago. Vlad is one of my favourite characters in the Night Huntress series. Yes that Vlad who became famous for impaling things, and he’s super hot too! I think I took extra pleasure from reading the book as I had read the Night Huntress books first, but it could easily be picked up as a standalone series. Although was a funny scene when Cat and Bones make a mini guest appearance. Leila’s description of them did make me chuckle, which was perhaps a bit of an in-joke for series fans.
“The three of them departed, leaving me with the vampiric versions of Ken and Barbie…”
Interestingly and unusually for a romance, the book is written in the first person. Not from the point of view of Vlad which I expected being as it is his series, but from the heroine Leila’s point of view. I say romance, but this is one of those books that kind of teeters on the bridge between urban fantasy and romance. So much so, it’s hard to classify it, with the exception of the cover which screams romance.
Leila is a great heroine. I kind of like my heroines to have overcome adversity in some shape or form and Leila has had a lot of adversity. Electrocuted when she was a child, Leila has been able to see the past, future and worst sins of the people she touches with her right hand ever since. Not only that, but anyone she touches gets electrocuted too. The accident also left her terribly scared. Hiding her abilities, she has been working in the circus, that is until a band of vampires discover what she can do.
When it turns out the vampires what Leila to help them track down and kill Vlad, well would you mess with one of the oldest, most powerful vampires from where the Dracula legend sprang from?
Once Burned is not light and fluffy, it’s gritty and action packed. Vlad is a dark character, tortured and by his words incapable of love. As well as predilection for impaling people! Ruthless and un-bendable, but at the same time this story is funny and Frost manages some cracking one-liners. The violence is not over-bearing and handled tactfully.
Leila is tough and brave. I was intrigued by her acrobatic background too. Her powers made her both formidable and vulnerable. I also found it refreshing that she was scarred and not traditionally beautiful. She and Vlad made a great pair, I liked the fact that Leila was unafraid to challenge Vlad, and their chemistry quite literally crackled. Added by Leila’s initial determination not to become Vlad’s lover and Vlad’s arrogance that they will, makes their relationship fun and hot.
“Yes. People frequently bore me, sometimes amuse me, most often irritate me, but rarely intrigue me. You do, which is why I’ll enjoy having you as a lover.” (Vlad)
The ending leaves a lot open, and definitely shows that this is the start of a series and not a single novel. Which means it doesn’t have that big red shiny bow you might be hoping for. But it also does have a nice conclusion and not a giant scary cliffhanger.
I loved this book, I have looked forward to Vlad’s book for so long and I was delighted to discover it reached my lofty expectations. I want to read book two now and not wait until 2013! If you have yet to pick up anything by Jeaniene Frost I would urge you to do so, she is one of may favourite authors and her writing it always witty and thrilling! But, I would start with the Cat and Bones novels first.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Once Burned
- Twice Tempted
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