Review: The Reluctant Vampire (The Argeneau Vampire series #15), by Lynsay Sands
Harper isn’t looking for a new life mate, having just lost his first one during her turn. Drina knows who her life mate is, but she’s not willing to scare him away with any rash announcements or behavior. They all have bigger problems anyway when someone starts attacking the vampires living in Port Henry. Who is the intended target? And has the dreaded no-fanger Leonius found them, or do they face a new threat?
***** This review is spoiler-free. =) Read on with confidence! *****
- Title: The Reluctant Vamire
- Series: The Argeneau Vampire series – book #15
- Author: Lynsay Sands
- Prominent Characters: Harper, Drina, Stephanie
- Recommended reader age: 17+
- Sexual content level: Moderate-to-heavy, somewhat explicit
The Argeneau Vampire series is one that runs hot and cold for me. Some of the books I really like a lot and would read again. One of them I dislike enough to give a rating of 1-Stake (which, to date, I’ve never done) and the rest I think are just so-so and only worth reading once. This book, The Reluctant Vampire, falls into that last category: I have no plans to read it again. However, the plot and characters did have their moments and at times it was amusing, tender, suspenseful, and shocking. I think if the setting had been different, I’d have been less conflicted about it…
Usually, I like to save my quotes for the ‘Memorable Quotes’ section below, but I think this one nicely sums up why I’m disliking this book, and the few that have come before it in the series. “I thought I lived in goddamned Mayberry with a bunch of Aunt Beas and Andies. Who knew Port Henry had so many homicidal nutcases running around?” The homicidal nutcases don’t bother me (because pretty much nothing in Lynsay Sands’ stories ever resembles a truly homicidal nutcase – they’re all too prissy), but the Mayberry-like town does. Aside from excessive use of the word “peer”, I rather enjoy some of the European and American Argeneau books, but all the ones that have been set in Port Henry have rubbed me wrong. I read about vampires to get lost in the exotic atmosphere and experience characters I wouldn’t normally meet in real life, but the sleepy little town of Port Henry really does resemble Mayberry. As much as I enjoyed The Andy Griffith Show when I was growing up (in a small town, mind you), I do NOT want to re-experience it as an adult, especially not in my get-away-in-an-imaginary-world free time!
Something else I’d like to point out to new readers of this series is the author’s over-use of the word “peer”. Do a word count on “peer” in The Reluctant Vampire. This term is used more than seventy times- that’s 7-0!! At least once in EVERY BOOK, all of the major characters (and most of the minors) “peer” at something. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think about big, bad, strong vampire men, one of the last things I envision them doing is curiously peering around corners and out of windows. They level stares, they glare, they gaze and take in… but they do not do dainty things like peer all over the damned place! UGH! This really drives me batty. After 15 books, I’ve come to associate the word “peer” with the Lynsay Sands stories, and I have to keep myself from rolling my eyes every time I see it. Seriously. *takes deep breath*
Ok, enough complaining about Ms. Sands’ writing quirks. *wink* On to the things I did enjoy! One of the common complaints about this series is that the later books have no driving, over-arcing plots to keep the reader invested. This most recent binge of stories in Port Henry has come off a little flat, but looks like it might be rebounding now with the elevation of the recent threat of Leonius, and of possible new developments with edantates (vampires without fangs). Stephanie, the immature young teenager who is viciously and forcibly turned in an earlier book, makes some definite progress in this story, and I was satisfied to see the direction Ms. Sands is taking it in. Assuming they get the hell out of Port Henry (which probably won’t happen until after Teddy’s book, the next in the series), the Argeneau series might be able to recover some of its momentum and flash. I reaaaally hope so.
As far as the chemistry between the primary couple, it’s intense and well-written. At first I worried about how Harper would progress throughout the story, but he turned out to be a great character, with patience, forethought, passion, and courage. Drina is also a satisfying character, with her fiery temper, do-anything attitude, and quirky misunderstanding of American wildlife and slang.
On horror movies…
And while Drina had dipped into enough male mortal minds to know that the majority of them seemed to think about sex every fifth or sixth heartbeat, she was quite sure even they wouldn’t think it clever or exciting to drag a female away from the safety of the herd to indulge in a quicky when dismembered bodies of friends or partygoers were falling all around them like a Canadian winter.
Ah, the exuberance of mortal teens!
“Man oh man, that was – Man!” he yelled, reaching them, his eyes round holes of shock and awe as he eyed Harper. He flew his hand through the air in an arc as if emulating the bottle’s trajectory.
“And you were like waaaaah.” Mouth open, he mimicked Harper diving for the bottle, and then shook his head, and said, “Man, you kick ass. That was freaking amazing!”
From Harper to Teddy (seriously, an elderly sherriff in the equivalent of Mayberry knows what “FM boots” are? I don’t buy it!)…
“You know about FMs?” Harper asked with surprise over Drina’s head.
If you like The Reluctant Vampire of The Argeneau Vampire series…
If you enjoyed The Reluctant Vampire and the Argeneau Vampire series for the behavior quirks of its main characters, you might also like The Southern Vampire Chronicles (Sookie Stackhouse) series by Charlaine Harris. Sookie has a tendency to be stuffy and prissy in her I’m-not-running-for-my-life morality moments, and there is a large cast of vampires to get to know.
If you like the Argeneau series for its large cast, you would probably also enjoy the Dark series by Christine Feehan. The stories start to feel somewhat similar after a while (like with the Argeneau series), but they do move around and allow the reader to experience different cultures and areas of the world, and the passion between characters is generally satisfying.
Another series, with a more traditional type of vampire (the romantic kind, not the dracula-horror kind!) is Midnight Breed by Lara Adrian. I recommend this series for lovers of the Argeneaus, because it has multiple stories dedicated to different couples, with many of them guest-starring in each others’ books, and a similar feel to the connection developed between the couples.
I Reluctantly give this book 4 Fangs. It was a close thing, mind you, considering how much I really dislike reading about Port Henry. If I’m going to have to suffer Mayberry personalities, at least give me the splendor of Europe or the excitement of a Romantic Times Convention. That said, this book was a fun read and it did make me laugh at times. It also has decent action scenes (but nothing really scintillating) and seems to be guiding the plot arc down a new, unexpected path.
If you are a fan of the Argeneau series, of course you should read this. If you are not currently a reader of the series, then I wouldn’t start with this one (and AVOID AVOID AVOID the very first one too!!! That’s my 1-Stake book). If you don’t care about series and just want a fun read, crack this book and sit down for a cozy read.
|4.0 fangs: BITE IT, but beware peering villains!
http://www.lynsaysands.net/ (The Argeneau Vampire series website)
http://www.charlaineharris.com/ (The Sookie Stackhouse series website)
http://www.christinefeehan.com/ (The Dark series website)
http://www.laraadrian.com/ (The Midnight Breed series website)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andy_Griffith_Show (The Andy Griffith Show <Mayberry> wiki page)
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