I’ve had the pleasure of being in contact with the author Tessa Dawn on Twitter–we got along pretty well and it was clear I needed to read her books. I chose the first one–Blood Destiny, the night it became available on the Nook. (Gotta love having a book in an instant.)
According to Amazon’s Product Detail:
He was a lethal vampire bound by an ancient curse.
She was an agent of homeland security, investigating a dangerous cult.
Theirs was a Blood Destiny about to unfold…
Descended from the progeny of Celestial Gods and humans, Nathaniel Silivasi is handsome, seductive, and powerful beyond measure: a lethal vampire. Belonging to an ancient civilization that sacrificed its females to the verge of extinction, he is also cursed. Like all the sons of Jadon, he is incapable of producing female offspring and is required to sacrifice a first born son as atonement for the sins of his forefathers. While he belongs to a modern civilization, he is bound by primeval law.
When Jocelyn Levi stumbles upon Nathaniel’s pristine mountain valley, she is not prepared for the collision of worlds she is about to encounter. As an agent of the homeland security department, ICE, the beautiful, defiant female has an agenda of her own: to stop the ritualistic slaughter of innocent young women by a human trafficking ring. Little does she know that the evil she seeks is unlike anything she has ever witnessed. She has entered a world of warriors, code, and mystery, where the predators are divided only by degrees of light and shadow, and the dark, handsome stranger who has come to her aid is the most dangerous of all.
The synopsis is not saying that last line lightly. Nathaniel–leading man–is as scary as he is hot. Equal amounts of animal and man. Makes for a fun read.
Style: I want to address this portion of the book first because it was such a crucial part of the story. Dawn’s style is immaculate. How so? It’s absolutely scrubbed of dialectical nuances; it’s filled with simple rhythms that have a spot of wit to brighten the dark harmony that pervades every single page. It’s positively unique and all hers in every way. It was extremely refreshing and I loved it. Her use of language, including dialogue, is nothing, if not classical—so much so that in the prologue, I started to doubt whether it was my kind of read. I love the personality of recent Urban Fantasy. I drool over kick-ass heroines that get knocked into next week and still have a smart quip on their tongue. But that wasn’t what Dawn was going for—and in the end, I was more than grateful.
The premise kept me going. The first chapter dragged me in. And the rest of the book kept me flipping. Her choice of arrangement of words can be formal and starch—a little off-putting, but these moments are rare, few and far between. Those moments disappear beneath her style. Yes, it’s that impactful.
Character: It’s clear that Dawn has respect for her characters. She treats them all as intelligent beings capable of making terrible and magnificent decisions—and they do. It’s a powerful cast of characters from the heroes to the villains. Now, when I say powerful, I mean ripping trees out of the ground, causing tornadoes, earthquake-masters. I like a good fight scene. I had a lot of, “omg” moments. That kind of powerful character.
In many Urban Fantasy novels, the characters typically roll with the punches (whether they’re facing demons, witches or vampires). Jocelyn—our leading lady—is devastated by the things that happen around her and to her. And so was I.
Plot: I’m not a big fan of prologues. I find most of them unnecessary. But the information in the prologue did enhance the story, so this is one of the few times where I agree the its inclusion. The introduction is stellar. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Every new discovery kept me turning the page (or flipping the screen really).
I feared the straight forward. After all: Jocelyn has no choice in the matters that befall her. It’s her destiny. I was pleasantly, shockingly, repeatedly surprised. There were complications that made me cringe, sub-plots that made me pause.
I never put a book down. I set this aside at one pount. It’s that effective.
There was an epilogue (about which I feel the exact opposite of how I do with prologues). Give me closure, leave me wanting more time in your world—that’s exactly what Dawn did.
Setting: I knew before I read the “about the author” section that Dawn was a fan of nature. Her settings are more than enough evidence. Lush valleys, infernal caverns, flourishing forests that spill off the screen and uncurl in the bed. Manors that twisted with nature like vines up a trellis. I mean, she put you there. But I typically prefer a little less detail. I find myself scanning when I hear too much about a room. A personal preference. It doesn’t change the fact that I know this world like I know mine. I could walk into Marquis’s (also a main character; brother of our leading man; super hottie brooding guy) house at any point.
I’m sure I’ve made myself clear but just in case you wanted to skip to the good part: Dawn draws a scene of absolute war with the same “holy sh!t” factor that she uses in a love scene. With detail, with passion, with absolute honesty.
And it’s hot. I give it an A. An awesome A. 90, to be exact.
Add-in/SN: I forgot to mention one thing. Because I read Blood Destiny on the Nook, I was missing the italics that signified the mind-speak that happened in the book between characters. However, due to the tactfully placed dialogue tags, I never had trouble understanding who was speaking. The lack of italics didn’t take away from the book at all.
Find Ms. Dawn’s website here: http://www.tessadawn.com/
Follow her here: http://twitter.com/#!/tessadawnbooks
And for quick access, purchase your copy of Blood Destiny here: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Destiny-Tessa-Dawn/dp/1936185210