Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Review: Beautiful Danger by Michele Hauf

I started to read this book while I was on vacation, but it takes place in Paris, and I was in London at the time, so I decided to wait until I returned home and wished I was somewhere like Paris.  Paris is one of my favorite cities, so any book set there already has points in its favor.  Add in a kickass heroine and a mentally unstable vampire and yeah, it's ranking high on my list.

I liked this book so much.  Beautiful Danger is all the things I want a vampire novel to be – dirty, sexy, bloody, with emotionally conflicted characters, and lots of danger.  I’ve loved vampires for as long as I can remember, and as a teenager, devoured every vampire story I could find.  But now, for me, it seems to be a struggle to find vampire books that I really like.  Seems like vampires have gotten a little too normal, too safe and too often seem like just regular guys who happen to be vampires.  Not the case with this story. 

Domingos LaRoque is messed up.  He’s suffering from extreme UV sickness and struggling to cling to his sanity, forever in a battle against the voices in his head, or worse the screeching cats that refuse to be quiet.  All this is the result of being tortured by werewolves and forced to participate in their brutal blood games.  In order to survive he had to kill other creatures, most likely other innocent creatures, who were also being held prisoner – all for no reason other than to provide entertainment for the werewolves.  And to make the situation worse, he was never especially happy about being a vampire, having been turned against his will only five years earlier.  He’s bitter and he’s not quite sane.  But there’s something about Lark that gives him a sense of peace, and maybe a glimmer of hope.

Lark is a knight of the Order of the Stake.  Her job is to hunt vampires and she’s very good at her job.  She’s supposed to kill Domingos.  But then he saves her life when some werewolves attack, and they make a deal.  She’ll let him live for 24 hours, that’s all.  However, during that time, she begins to see him as more than just a deadly, bloodsucker.  She sees him as a person, a damaged person, suffering from demons similar to her own.

She became a knight to avenge her husband’s death.  Her goal was to kill a vampire for every day they held him prisoner, then she’d move on with her life.  But then she begins to question whether all the killing she is doing is really helping her.  Domingos never takes innocent victims, he’s specifically going after the wolves who tortured him, and he saved her life, knowing she planned to kill him. 

These two characters have both suffered so much in the past.  As strange as it seems, this vampire and vampire hunter need each other.  They have an understanding of the pain they’ve each been through.  I very much enjoyed reading about how they began to gradually set aside the baggage from their past in order to finally reach some sort of peace in which they could focus on their present lives, and maybe even a future. 

I was slightly hesitant to read this book, because the last few Harlequin Nocturnes I’ve read have seemed very tame and kind of boring.  I was afraid that was standard for that line of books.  But this was hot, very hot and all kinds of steamy.  Nothing at all tame about this book.  Lots of messy, dangerous sex, complete with teeth, the way vampire sex should be.  

Along with the romance, there’s quite a bit of action, several fight scenes.  I loved that Lark was such a badass knight.  Sure, Domingos helped her out in the beginning, but she probably could have held her own.  She saves Domingos as often as he saves her.  Nothing weak about this character with regard to her fighting abilities. 

Overall, I really liked this book and will be recommending it anyone who enjoys vampire stories. 

I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley. 

No comments: