“You used to captivate me by your resonating light… Now, I'm bound by the life you left behind. Your face, it haunts my once pleasant dreams. Your voice, it chases away all the sanity in me... I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone...too much that time cannot erase.” ~ Evanescence, 'My Immortal'
Adrien Gilbert, from 'Blood and Rain' by Shira Anthony, has been trained from birth to be distrustful of vampires. In spite of a truce between hunters and vampires, Adrien finds it hard to put old feelings aside, that is, until he meets Nicholas Lambert. Nicholas causes Adrien to doubt some of his preconceived notions, since Nicholas is so different from what he expects. Adrien's assignment seems simple, although somewhat unconventional. Adrien is to be Nicholas's bodyguard while traveling to meet his intended. When strong emotional and sexual feelings develop between Adrien and Nicholas, it puts them in a seemingly impossible situation, one which can only lead to heartbreak.
Adrien has sworn allegiance to a group called the hunters. Although Adrien trains like others born into the hunter group, he never expects to use his abilities. He always considered his brother, François, to be stronger, the more proficient of the two, and the one who would carry on the hunter legacy. When his brother is killed, Adrien takes up his brother's mantle and has to give up the idea of a simple life as a farmer. As Adrien travels, he learns more skills necessary to his calling; and he is shocked to realize that many of the beliefs he's had are not valid. Also, all things are not as they seem; this underlying current of deceit and lust for power insinuates itself into Adrien's life with dangerous consequences. As time goes on, it becomes consistently harder to distinguish the truth from the lies. Adrien's notions are further challenged when he meets and quickly comes to admire Nicholas Lambert, a vampire born to a very ancient and powerful family.
Nicholas is a beautiful, intelligent, and powerful vampire who has been raised in a somewhat sheltered environment. Although exquisitely trained, Nicholas has never traveled too far from home. He is too important to the family, considered to be the crown prince of the Lambert clan. Nicholas agrees to an arranged marriage in hopes of bringing a lasting peace between two warring vampire families. He's surprised to learn that Adrien, a hunter, will be his bodyguard during the journey. As powerful as Adrien is, he still has a lot to learn, not just about other vampires and hunters, but about his untapped abilities. Nicholas sees Adrien's vast potential and takes it upon himself to show Adrien what he's up against, while helping him develop to a level where he's a match for almost anyone; hunter or vampire.
The first section of the book shows Adrien's mental and emotional state and almost broke my heart with its intensity. Shira has captured Adrien's sadness and longing in an exquisitely excruciating, almost tangible fashion. Many of the ideas about vampires in this series are unique departures from the norm. Shira shows their power, blood lust, cunning, and attractive appearance, yet she also portrays them as men and women, capable of reproducing, with deep emotions and loyalties. Vampires have always been shown as charming and cunning, but Shira's vampires have a finesse and a depth of feeling which I've seldom seen. I couldn't help but admire and actually like them. If you enjoy a lyrical writing style with a different brand of vampires, as well as conspiracies, intrigue, angst, and passionate, star-crossed lovers, then you may love this book. Thanks, Shira. It looks like it's going to be a rough, but gratifying ride. I can't wait to see how the series develops.