ARC Review: Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows #1) by Gena Showalter
Mysteriously transported to another realm, where vampires and ogres and witches are more than just fairy tale, Jane finds herself face to face with the caged and enslaved vampire Nicolai. Nicolai, his memory erased and his body forced to do the bidding of his repulsive mistresses, knows he has somehow called Jane from her world to help him escape and is his only hope. Nicolai is driven to seek out and take vengeance on the sorcerer who has taken over the kingdom, but not why or even who this Blood Sorcerer is to him. Together, Jane and Nicolai must overcome much more than missing memories and travel between their worlds if they hope to survive and carry out Nicolai’s mission of retribution.
- Title: Lord of the Vampires
- Series: Royal House of Shadows – book #1
- Author: Gena Showalter
- Prominent Characters: Nicolai, Jane
- Recommended reader age: 16+
- Sexual content level: moderate, somewhat explicit
This story is paranormal romance, almost-high fantasy, with a scientific bend. What do people call science when they don’t understand it? Magic. I love that Jane, a scientist, accepts that there are things we don’t understand (“magic”) and isn’t intimidated by them. She doesn’t feel the need to find some scientific explanation (although she does let her mind wander in that direction) or ignore things she doesn’t understand as some kind of coincidence or trick of the mind; she simply says “Oh it’s magic. Okay. What kind?” Jane’s thoughtful ramblings are some of the best parts about her character and the story overall. They inject both humor and logic (two of my favorite things), and resemble my own thought processes so much it’s eerie… and cool!
The magical abilities used by the various characters is inventive, and the array of powers they use is pretty impressive without being boring or clique. Some of them happen with little-to-no explanation, and it takes a few pages to understand what’s happening, but we’re seeing things from the character’s perspective and if they don’t know, we don’t know… so while it makes sense and is creatively appealing, it’s still a bit jarring.
The bond between Nicolai and Jane forms wicked fast… almost too fast… but is believable and powerful. Even with memory loss, these two feel like they were meant to be – a bonded pair who doesn’t yet know they’re fated to be together. Their sexy time is super steamy and Nicolai is oh-so-dominating. He’s also talkative at times, which can come off really cheesy, but Ms. Showalter really makes it work. There aren’t many sex scenes, but when they happen, they’re damn hot!
Nicolai is alpha. Extremely alpha. I loved it! Jane’s no pushover, but she’s also not overly stubborn (which, honestly, is a relief – do we really need so many terminally stubborn heroines?) and she fits Nicolai’s personality perfectly. She challenges him with her incessant thinking, she grounds him with their emotional ties, and she supports him in his need for vengeance and retribution. She doesn’t shy away from violence, nor does she stay to fight when she knows she won’t win. She’s just smart. I think her name is rather plain, but other than that, I really like this heroine! Nicolai wants to train Jane, so she can defend herself if he isn’t around. Not “stay with me, Jane, so I can protect you” or “run away, Jane, you can’t beat them” but “let me teach you how to KICK ASS, Jane!” Um, yes please? Good on you, Nic!
You know you’ve got it bad…
“So, you wield some type of magic?” she said. “All right. I can roll with the idea of a magical vampire. But really, a lot of people assume science is magic, so are we talking about planar, natural, runic, divine or metaphysical, because I can-“
“Jane.” She was a babbler. He found the trait… charming. Charming? Truly? The need to taste her must be clouding his judgement.
*Shudder* Ew? Seriously.
If Wicked Witch of the West had slept with Hannibal Lecter, and the two of them had a baby, that child’s name would be Leila.
A solo, a verse, a chorus, a freaking gospel choir of…
“Well, in my world, vampires are considered a myth. In books and movies, you guys always burst into flames – or glitter – when you step into sunlight.”
On the healing power of Nicolai’s vampire blood…
“It was better than Vicodin.”
“A painkiller from my world.”
“A killer of pain. Did you love him?” The words were growled.
“A burst of unexpected humor gave her strength. “No. In fact, he was hard to shake. He, uh, stalked me, that kind of thing. I had to pretend he didn’t exist.”
Extreme Jogging, Jungle Edition, is serious business…
“Nicolai,” Jane panted. “I’m used to jogging, but this is like Extreme Jogging, Jungle Edition, and I don’t know how much longer I can keep up. Can we rest?”
How to speak Alpha Vampire 101…
“I’ll take that to mean delightful female.”
If you liked Lord of the Vampires of the Royal House of Shadows series…
If you enjoyed Lord of the Vampires for its magical world, fast pacing, compelling characters, and steamy chemistry between the main couple, you might also enjoy the Feral Warrior series (starting with Passion Untamed) by Pamela Palmer. The world of the Ferals is full of magic, intrigue, betrayal, and fierce passion. Keep your eye out for the GraveTells ARC review of the 6th book in the series, Ecstasy Untamed, releasing on October 18th.
If you enjoyed Lord of the Vampires for its good vs. evil story and the alpha nature of the hero, you might like the Black Dagger Brotherhood (starting with Dark Lover) by J.R. Ward. The BDB series has less magic and a grittier, more contemporary feel, but the men are large-and-in-charge and the women are smart and resourceful. It also, like the Royal House of Shadows, has an over-arcing storyline between the individual books.
Lord of the Vampires is adventurous, steamy, quirky, and fulfilling. It has fast pacing and is an enjoyable, quick read. I had trouble putting this down to do anything productive and sped through it in two days. Seriously, I think my husband is starting to get annoyed… *grin*
I like Nicolai. I like Jane. I like them as a couple and I like them individually. The world itself is vibrant and creative, and a nice fantasy escape that ties nicely into our modern, current day, “real world”. That magic and science are allowed to co-exist and be used by the characters seamlessly and interchangeably shows that Ms. Showalter (and her fellow author world-builders) is secure in her own creativity and beliefs, and not afraid to use what works best for the overall story. This book is a “must-read”!
Lord of the Vampires is the first of four books in the Royal House of Shadows series from Harlequin Nocturne, a brand new series that is a collaborative effort between 4 PNR/UF authors: Gena Showalter, Jill Monroe, Jessica Andersen, and Nalini Singh. GraveTells will be reviewing all four, so subscribe or check back often to make sure you get the down-low before these books hit the shelves! Below is the schedule for the Royal House of Shadows releases, with links to the GraveTells reviews…
|August 30||September 20||October 18||November 15|
Rating: Lord of the Vampires
Buy Lord of the Vampires: Amazon
http://members.genashowalter.com/ (Gena Showalter”s website)
http://paranormalromanceblog.com/royalhouseofshadows/ (Royal House of Shadows series website)
http://www.pamelapalmer.net/ (Pamela Palmer, author of the Feral Warrior series, website)
http://www.jrward.com/bdb/ (Black Dagger Brotherhood series website)