Friday 6 August 2010

CBR2 Book 72: "Eternal Kiss of Darkness" by Jeaniene Frost

Publisher: Avon
Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Date begun: August 3rd, 2010
Date finished: August 4th, 2010

Mencheres is an ancient Master Vampire, and "older than dirt". He is actually older than several of the pyramids, and while he once held amazing powers, like visions of the future, telekinesis and the ability to track people all over the globe, he now sees only darkness when he tries to see the future, and most of his powers seem to be fading. As he is millennia old, he is pretty much determined to meet his death soon.

Kira is a private detective, whose mentor taught her that her goal in life should be to "save one life". When walking home from a stakeout early one morning, she hears a commotion, and runs to see if she can help. She sees Mencheres being tortured by five ghouls, and they nearly kill her. Mencheres is touched that a human would risk her life to save a stranger, and saves her with his super powerful blood. Unfortunately, he is unable to use his vampire mesmerising powers on her afterwards to make her forget, she appears to be immune to them. While keeping Kira captive, worried that she will tell the police about the strange new supernatural world she has discovered, he grows more and more fascinated by her.

Kira, who is at first scared and confused by all the new things she is discovering, has always had very strong instincts, and fairly quickly starts trusting Mencheres, reasoning that he could just have killed her right away if he wanted to. He uses some of his blood to help her chronically ill sister, and when he lets her go, she is unable to forget him. This leads her to a vampire strip club where Mencheres' oldest enemy manages to set things up so that Kira will almost certainly be killed. Mencheres has no choice but to turn her into a vampire.

Mencheres' enemy soon has him framed for arson, multiple murders and worst of all from a vampire point of view - of leaking a video showing the existence of vampires on YouTube. Kira and Mencheres have to prove his innocence to the rather old-fashioned and extremely conservative council of Law Guardians, which is not easy considering his nemesis is a Law Guardian too. But Kira has had experience with dirty cops before, and refuses to let Mencheres sacrifice himself for her and die just because he's convinced his lack of visions is a sign he is nearing the end of his long existence.

While not as good as First Drop of Crimson, Eternal Kiss of Darkness was still a fairly entertaining read. Of all of Frost's novels, I would put it somewhere in the middle. There was a bit too much of Mencheres' self-pitying "I'm so ancient and some of my powers are gone and I may as well just curl up and die". Towards the beginning of the book, it also got a bit tedious that Kira was the only one for millennia who dared to interrupt him, or shush him, or generally stand up to him, just because she didn't realize how old, and rich and super powerful he was.

Kira was a very good heroine, though. Smart, strong, independent and no beating around the bush accepting her attraction, and later love for, Mencheres. Refusing to suffer his self-pity, and also being very understanding, but not overly judgemental when he tells her about the many terrible things he's done in his looong life as a vampire. She adores her sick sister, is kind to her dead-beat brother and adapts to a scary and fairly shitty situation in a very admirable way. She is absolutely what saved this book from being a bit long-winded in places.

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