Review: Born to Bite (Argeneau Vampires series novel #13) by Lynsay Sands
In this 13th novel in the Argeneau vampire series, Ms. Sands wraps up the story of Nicholas from book 12 while introducing us to long-awaited-absentee-father Armand Argeneau (who has been referred to throughout the series) and solving the mystery of Armand’s three dead wives. This book is true to the series, so if you normally enjoy the Argeneau books, you’ll probably enjoy this one too… just don’t go out of your way to read it.
- Title: Born to Bite
- Series: Argeneau Vampires – book #13
- Author: Lynsay Sands
- Prominent characters: Armand Argeneau, Eshe
- Recommended reader age: 15+
- Sexual content level: Light to Moderate
Armand Argeneau has lost his last three wives, and a pregnant daughter-in-law, to suspicious circumstances. Either someone seriously has it in for his lady loves, or Mr. Argeneau is playing a very nasty game. Now, Armand’s son Nicholas’ life is on the line and unless the killer is found, Nick faces execution for the murder of an innocent mortal woman, which he was framed for 50 years ago. Armand’s brother Lucian, one of the oldest immortals and a member of the ruling North American council, sends one of his Enforcers, Eshe, to investigate.
This series, overall, is light and fun. A good way to describe it might be “quaint, with a little priss” (the males are generally at least a couple hundred years old, so they’re old fashioned, and one of the author’s favorite words seems to be “peer” as in “she peered from beneath her spectacles”). Some books are better than others though, and this one was sort of middle-of-the-road for me.
The “universe rules” for this series is fairly unique. The closest well-known example I can compare it to is Twilight, except the “vampires” are technically still human… super-humans actually. They descend from Atlanteans, where they used their advanced technology to create nanites that, when injected into the bloodstream, healed a person of all injuries before deactivating and passing out of the system. An unforeseen side effect of the nanites was immortality. Instead of deactivating when they’d healed the damage they were programmed for, the nanites stayed in the system and kept the host bodies at peak conditioning, healing even the effects of old age. Anyone exposed to the nanites becomes permanently infected, including children of infected people. The result is a race of “immortals” who all appear to be in their mid to late twenties and are in peak physical condition. The cost of this perfection is blood – they have to drink several pints of blood each day to feed the nanites and keep them from eating their own internal organs for food. Over time, they’ve evolved to possess more tools to help them hunt and feed the nanites… hence, the typical extra strength, superior vision and hearing, mind reading, and retractible fangs.
Something else unique to this world (at least as far as I know), is the concept of “life mates”. Immortals can read the minds of most mortals and even some other immortals, particularly those that are younger or weaker. However, rarely, the nanites in a host will identify an ideal partner for that person, and the paired immortals will be unable to read each others minds. It leads to spectacular sex, which they pass out from for the first several months, shared dreams, and a fairytale-like relationship. This actually makes for some interesting stories when one of the pair is a normal mortal who knows nothing about these Atlantean “vampires”, but when both partners are already immortal and know the deal, it’s a little boring. Armand and Eshe realize they are life mates, and just fall in together without any conflict, doubts, or other hurdles that make a story interesting. There’s drama in the plot of course, since someone is trying to kill them both, but the relationship itself falls a little flat. I’ve found that throughout this series as well – the books I enjoy the most are the ones where one of the pair is mortal.
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I’m still trying to find some other author or series this is similar enough to. So far, no luck in the paranormal romance field, but Johanna Lindsey’s Malory novels are similar in the bodice-ripper category… similar humor (in the good Argeneau books – the bad ones are just bad) and familial ties. The “vampire” part of the story sometimes plays a big part, and sometimes impacts it very little so that some of the novels are excellent and a really great read and some of them (like this one) are just kind of meh.
From the author’s website, a perspective on life (this is a long one):
I feel like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland… “I’m late, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” Speaking of Alice in Wonderland (it’s on my mind now since the one with Johnny Depp recently came out) this quote by the Red Queen is relevant here too. “It takes all the running you can do, to stay in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” Gosh! Just typing that made me tired. So… my first thought to this quote was, what about changing direction instead?
Here’s a great example of this. My sister Jackie (Yes, she has the same name as Vincent’s lifemate…<g>) recently took golf lessons. Now she has taken golf lessons before and has always been frustrated as no one really seemed to be able to help her improve her game. During her first lesson, the golf pro had her take a few test shots to show her form and swing and before he could say boo, she said “I know what you’re going to say. You’re going to tell me to slow down my swing. But I’ll tell you right now that advice has never helped me. I’ve tried and tried and tried but when I slow down my swing, I get worse.” The golf pro paused and said “To make you slow down your swing would be pointless as it goes against who you are. You are the type of person that is normally late because you take on too many responsibilities. You walk, talk and drive fast so why would it be any different with your golf swing? You have a strong, fast swing (more like a man’s swing) because you want that ball to go somewhere now, not later. That’s who you are. Now all we need to work on is to make sure it goes in the right direction, consistently.” And with that, her game has improved substantially. The point here is that all these ‘pros’ kept giving her the same bad advice (you’re a woman thus you should be swinging slower… daintier) and never thought outside that box. We can try as hard as we can but if our approach is wrong then all that effort is pointless. In the end we may need to change direction to get it right.
Born to bite…
The motorcycle roared into the diner parking lot, spitting up gravel, then eased to a halt beside Armand’s pickup. He had a moment to get a closer view of the array of lights on the machine before the engine fell silent and the rider disembarked. The woman was tall, at least six feet, and she appeared to be all lean muscle in the black leather she wore. She also moved with the predatory grace of a panther.
“She looks like she was born to ride,” Armand murmured, his eyes devouring her.
“More like born to bite,” Lucian muttered.
Armand glanced curiously to his brother. ”Why so annoyed?”
Lucian’s mouth twisted with irritation, but he admitted, “I told her to make herself less conspicuous.”
If you have never read any books in this series and want some background on the characters and story line, then I highly recommend you either skip the first one (A Quick Bite), or read books 2-8 or so first, then come back for #1. The writing for A Quick Bite is abysmal, and I nearly put it down before I was halfway through. The author has some annoying writing habits, like using a descriptor too often or continually using the same slang noun ad nauseum instead of switching it up and keeping the dialogue fresh. If I were friends with Ms. Sands, I’d buy her a Thesaurus for Christmas.
Here’s something fun to end with…
The title of this book, Born to Bite, is a play on the famous biker phrase “born to ride” and the personality of the heroine. Eshe is a leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding, kick-butt Enforcer who (supposedly) has spunk and character. I say ‘supposedly’ because she starts out with more spunk than she ends up with, and her personality seems to get lost in the overall story arc, but the intention was a fun and creative one. =)
|3.0 fangs: BITE IT… if you are just looking for something entertaining to read.|
Eh, whatever. Read it or don’t – this one won’t change your life nor make you feel like you wasted too much of it.