PUBLISHER: Rutherford Literary Group
RELEASE DATE: 14th Oct 2010
FORMAT: Paperback, 421 pages
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
“We vampires are focused and tend to shape our own realities.” My name is Katrina Rawlings, and I am a vampire. I declare that with neither pride nor ego. I am simply nature’s most dangerous predator. On occasion, it’s a very valuable quality. It helped me protect Caleb Taylor one day when he was very young. But that single, traumatic day is behind him now; wiped from his memory, or so I hope. Caleb has finally matured into a rather striking young man, and believe me, I like what I see.
I’ll readily admit that there are issues for us to confront and overcome, though a sense of mutual commitment isn’t one of them. I’m feeling hopeful for our future together, in fact. But an adversary from my past has returned to haunt me, and she’s trying to get back at me through Caleb. That was her first… and last… mistake. I’ll protect my Caleb at all costs, and I’ll make her regret the day she was born. So, I suppose that I’m not just a vampire. I’m about to become someone’s worst nightmare. (Goodreads)
SUNRISE AT SUNSET by Jaz Primo is an urban fantasy novel featuring vampires, but is more strongly focused on the romance between the two main characters, Katrina and Caleb.
The book opens with a prologue that takes place in Caleb’s childhood, in which the naïve child unknowingly saves the life of vampire Katrina, who then wipes his memory of her. However, she is eternally grateful to him for showing her that there is still some good left in humanity, and watches over him as he grows. So far this seems fairly acceptable, as she sets him up with a college fund and fixes it so his mother secures a better paid job.
After this, the book starts to tread the line between creepy and stalkerish obsession. Katrina enrols in a night class of Caleb’s in his first semester as a history lecturer, and begins to pursue him as a lover. She watches over him intensely, even looking through his windows into his apartment in some instances. (Surely I can’t be the only one thinking it’s creepy to watch this child grow up and then stalk him?)
He fell asleep some time after 1 am, completely unaware of a lone figure peering in at him through the sheer curtains of his living room from the fire escape.
Caleb soon becomes infatuated with the mysterious Katrina, and even after she reveals her vampiric secret he is quick to come to terms with her true nature. However, it frustrated me that when she reveals herself to him, her age is never a concern to him. It almost becomes a comical guessing game for him throughout the book, but is never seen as an issue in their relationship, despite the fact she is hundreds of years older than him.
Throughout the majority of the book, this romance is the only plotline going on, as little else is actually explored. The other plotline involves Alondra Vargas, a past vampire acquaintance of Katrina’s who is out to settle a century-old vendetta by taking Caleb. However, this plotline is wrapped up in the middle of the book when Katrina calls on the help of vampire friends, Alton and Paige.
I won’t mention this plotline too much considering the romance takes up most of the book, as I have a lot to say about this so-called ‘romance’. When Alondra appears on the scene, Katrina takes Caleb back to her house and places him under house arrest, not allowing him to leave, have internet or phone access or even open a window. I could understand a certain degree of her protectiveness, as with Caleb being a human he is no match for a vampire opponent, but Katrina takes it to obsessive levels.
Her character may be strong and independent, but I just couldn’t connect with Katrina at all. She is obsessed with Caleb’s safety, but the way she treats him is painful to read, as it felt like domestic abuse with him not being allowed to do anything for himself. When she tells him that she’s a vampire she also gives him rules to follow, and one of these is that he must never ask to become a vampire himself. I found this to be further torture for Caleb, as Katrina is dating him whilst knowing that it will only be for a limited time frame. She even makes him take vitamin supplements to replenish his blood after she drinks from him, and giving him healthy water instead of coke.
Considering the way Katrina treats him, I ought to feel more sympathy for Caleb than I did, as his character is quite likable at the beginning, with his passion for history and learning. However, I started to lose respect for Caleb as a character when he didn’t put up much of a fight to Katrina’s house arrest or her rules. His father used to abuse him, and to me it felt like he’d walked straight from one abusive relationship into another without holding on to any of his self-respect.
Overall this book really wasn’t what I was expecting to read after seeing the blurb, as it was built up to be a gripping urban fantasy but was instead a twisted vampire-human romance. The author’s writing style was very long-winded, with the majority of chapters being over 30 pages long, and these started to drag as my reading went on. I also disliked the way Katrina constantly refers to Caleb as ‘my love’, as this is a particular pet hate of mine, especially when it was used repeatedly whenever she spoke to him. I think it’s safe to say that I have no desire to pick up the next book in this series.
I didn’t really enjoy this book as I felt that the plot was pretty non-existent, with the book focusing purely upon the relationship between Katrina and Caleb, and little else. This would have been bearable if I’d liked the couple, but their relationship doesn’t seem healthy as Katrina is far too possessive over her human mate and I didn’t enjoy reading about them.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
- Sunrise at Sunset
- A Bloody London Sunset
- Summit at Sunset
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