It’s not hard to imagine Buffy the Vampire Slayer while reading this inventive vampire tale. The girl on the cover even sort of looks like Buffy. But Emma, the vampire slayer in Violet Midnight, has skills that would put Buffy to shame. Known as a Hunter, Emma has been hunting and killing “Vamps” (as she refers to them) for the past two years, since she woke up from an accident with a tattoo on her wrist that glows whenever the creatures are near. Her most impressive talent is being able to “call” her weapons to her and have them magically appear in her hand at exactly the right moment, and then send them home when she’s finished slaying. But she’s also burdened with some physical characteristics that are a bit unusual. She never eats or sleeps, and her body temperature is a constantly chilly 74.7 degrees. Oh, and did I mention that she has violet eyes? For the past two years she’s been trying to keep her extra-curricular activities a secret from her best friend Ava, but is forced to perform “mind wipes” on occasion when Ava gets in the way of her hunting activities.
Jake is a college student working on his master’s degree when he meets Emma at a party, and the attraction between them is immediate. When Emma is forced outside to hunt down some Vamps, Jake follows her, and inadvertently gets caught up in the action. After the Vamps are dead, Jake asks Emma about her tattoo, then shows her his ink, an intricate design that covers his shoulder, a tattoo he also woke up with two years earlier. This shared history fuels their attraction, and before you know it, the two are locking lips and working to solve the mystery of Jake’s tattoo and the strange physical changes that he is experiencing. When Emma uncovers a prophecy that says a powerful family of vampires is about to threaten the existence of humans everywhere, the two must make some hard choices in order to keep the evil at bay.
I had a blast reading Violet Midnight! Rush’s variations on vampire mythology were original and entertaining. Her Vamps are not of the sparkly and hunky variety. They are more like animals than humans, and Emma often describes them as “chomping” on their victims. Rush’s Vamps, like Joss Whedon’s, explode in a shower of dust when staked, but in this book, humans who have been bitten and drained also turn to dust when they die – white dust. And I have to admit I’m a sucker (no pun intended!) for stories with magical tattoos. Rush gives some intriguing back story to the tattoos that Emma and Jake sport, and she does a great job describing their intricate designs and meanings.
The characters were well-drawn, especially the females. Emma is indeed a kick-ass Hunter with enough determination to take down every Vamp in town and then some. I loved the dialog between Emma and Jake. They fall for each other pretty quickly, but the road to happiness is still rocky, and their banter was refreshingly funny but tender-hearted. One of my favorite characters, I have to admit, is unfortunately dead. We get to know Emma’s previous love, Gabriel, who was killed by a Vamp, when he appears in ghostly form whenever Emma needs advice. I’m hoping maybe the author will consider writing a prequel someday so we can get to know Gabriel better (hint hint!)
The only story element that didn’t sit quite right with me was the “insta-love” between Emma and Jake. There was very little simmer and burn up to the moment when they feel compelled to kiss for the first time, and I think the romance would have been more believable if their relationship had progressed more slowly. But since this is the first book in a trilogy, you know there is much more in store for these characters, and I look forward to seeing the direction they take in future stories. If you’re looking for a romantic and action-packed story with more bad guys than you can hit with a crossbow, Violet Midnight will keep you up all night.
But wait! There’s more! I’m so excited to be involved in the Release Day Event for Violet Midnight on October 16! Come back for a giveaway of Violet Midnight and lots of other goodies!