Once Burned: a Night Prince Novel, by Jeaniene Frost
I will forgive the wonky Photoshop on that cover because guess what! That guy actually looks like the main character is described! Awesome, right?
Also awesome: that guy that you’re looking at up there? He’s Vlad Tepesh. Aka Vlad the Impaler. AKA DRACULA. THAT GUY IS DRACULA!!!!! Depending on how much you like Dracula stories or how many times you’ve read The Historian even though it’s not that great or how much you dig Gary Oldman swanning around as the Foxy Prince Vlad with the Blue Glasses (among other Draculas) in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you will be either fucking psyched about this book or you will immediately know that this is not the book for you.
Targeted advertising works, because as soon as this book was released I saw ads for it on just about every website I visited, and it only took three or four views before I caved and bought this book. I was fucking psyched.
Jeaniene Frost is a great paranormal romance writer, and I was delighted to see that this new series will also be a part of her Night Huntress universe. I was also pleased that the heroine, Leila, was an ass-kicking take-no-shit supergirl, in the same vein as our beloved Cat. The hero, Vlad, has shown up a few times in the Night Huntress series, and has always been a delightful side character and he is an EXCELLENT romantic lead. But like I said, either the Dracula bit works for you or it doesn’t.
Leila has a spooky power over electricity and also some psychic abilities, which brings her to Vlad, and together they have to solve a mystery and find a guy who wants to kill Vlad, which doesn’t really narrow it down too much when about 50% of the vampire world wants to off him for one reason or another. Most of the book takes place in VLAD’S CASTLE, and if you’re like me, you’re freaking out a bit because OHMYGOD CASTLES, HOW COOL. The romance is fierce and exciting from the minute Vlad and Leila meet, and even though it shares some of the imbalances that the Cat/Bones relationship did, it works decently well. Most of the time. At least 60% of the time.
One complaint: this is obviously the first book in the series, and it feels like Frost cut it off in the middle of the story. I KNOOWWWWW that that’s the point of a series, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Like many of the Night Huntress books, this does not feel like a complete story. The ending felt very, very rushed to me, and while I’ll pick up the next book in the series, this one went out with a fizzle rather than a Dracula-sized clap of thunder or rushing mist or chase to beat the sunrise.
Recommended for: come on. For Dracula fans. For Jeaniene Frost fans. For people who don’t like their vampires to sparkle.