Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen Series, #2) by Rebecca Maizel

Stolen Nights (Vampire Queen Series, #2)

Author: Rebecca Maizel

Purchase on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: Lenah Beaudonte should be dead. But having sacrificed herself to save another, she finds herself awakening with strange powers that are neither vampire nor human—and a new enemy on her trail. In her vampire life, Lenah had thought that being human was all she ever wanted; but the human heart suffers pain, heartbreak and loss. 

With her new powers growing and the dark force of the Nex after her soul, Lenah faces a choice: between the mortal love of gorgeous Justin, whose passion fed her human soul, and taking a different path to become the mistress of her own destiny, wherever that may lead.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Warning: There will be spoilers and ranting!

Side Note: This book was provided to me by the publisher through Netgalley but did not sway my opinion in any way.

Review: Reading the first book in the Vampire Queen Series was bearable, barely, but I was able to get through the book without actually skipping any pages. My hopes were pretty nonexistent when it came to reading the sequel but a tiny, itty bitty part of me hoped the author had somehow, miraculously managed to improve not only the execution of the novel but the STORY. I mean there was no way the book could have been worse than its predecessor . . . I was VERY wrong.

I’m not going to bother summing up the plot as I usually do seeing as how there was NO PLOT! Until the third half of this overly long book, did a plot actually form and anything of real substance actually happen.

Lenah in Infinite Days was one of the most self-fish, self-centered, and shallow characters I have ever had the misfortune of reading. She never improves, never has any real growth or maturity to her character. Everything is STILL about her, what she wants, what she feels, what she needs, how awesome she was as a vampire. She’s STILL playing the victim even though her decisions are the reason she (and so many around her) suffer and die.
Hmm, I guess I will have to give you a bit of a backstory since I’m about to start a tangent of epic proportions.

Rhode returns (Seriously, who didn’t see this one coming? If you read Infinite Days and you’ve read more than three Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy books, this so-called twist in the story isn’t the least bit surprising). Upon Rhode’s return, Lenah declares her undying love for him . . . right there . . . in front of her CURRENT boyfriend Justin. The Aeris, powerful supernatural creatures who control the elements (I still have NO IDEA what they are exactly because that is not adequately explained), inform Lenah that she, along with Rhode, have broken the scared code, the one that talks about not being able to use the ritual to bring back dead lovers. Since they have broken this code, Lenah and Rhode have two options (although, for some reason Lenah is the one who gets to make the decision, without consulting Rhode but let’s face it, why would she care about anyone else’s opinion but her own?): she can either return back to her life before she ever met Rhode and was turned into a vampire and Rhode will return to his life, which means Justin and the others will remember nothing of them, or both her and Rhode can stay in the present but can never be together. Lenah, of course, decides she can’t live without Rhode so agrees to keep them in the present.

For the remainder of the book, the “story” proceeds with Lenah constantly whining, bemoaning, and daydreaming about being with Rhode and the pain it causes her not to be with him. She stays in a relationship with Justin. Declaring to still love him, and at least she can be happy with him, except all she does when she’s with Justin is think and daydream about Rhode. She uses Justin yet again to make herself feel better.

With her lack of attention to what matters, she doesn’t even notice when Justin’s mind is taken over by a pendant that the evil vampire Odette gives to him (Quick FYI: Odette is evil vampire. She’s crazy as hells on wheels and wants to have all the power Lenah use to have as a vampire queen. She forms her own coven and wants to kill Lenah for the ritual, although, WHY she wanted the ritual is NEVER explained). Justin gets turned into a vampire later in the book and tries to kill Lenah for the ritual since Odette wants it. At that point, I had to stop reading and just laugh. There was nothing else to do but laugh at the utter ridiculousness of it all. Not enough of an insult that Justin was used by Lenah but then the author turns him into a vampire?? The poor kid has watched people die in front of his eyes, lost people he cares about and has been used by the girl he loves over and over again, then he’s changed into vampire against his will. What was done with his character was just sad.

Rhode could have been a great character. He had such potential to be but Lenah ruins him as she does with EVERYTHING. He sacrificed himself for Lenah because he really did love her. He hadn’t known about the consequences of the ritual—he would always be tittered to her because they are soulmates—and hadn’t known he’d stay alive. He stayed out of her life for a year so she could be human and enjoy her life freely. But Lenah won’t stop marching around him, tempting him to kiss her, throwing back at him the love they shared. She just keeps torturing him with it because she wants him and doesn’t care if it’s hard for him. The constant flashbacks and dreams and Lenah being able to have the magical ability somehow (for this was never explained as so many other elements in this series) to see inside Rhode’s head, just made Rhode’s character come off too tormented, too melo-dramatic, too cliché. But it wasn’t Rhode’s fault. His character was told from Lenah’s perspective, not his own, so he got stuck with the short end of that straw.

A scene that just exasperated me about this book happened right in the first chapter. Lenah is out for a walk with Justin when she senses a vampire nearby. She hides out with Justin in some trees and watches as Kate Pierson, a FRIEND of Lenah’s, is being attacked by a vampire (who later turns out to be Odette). Justin wants to jump in and help her but Lenah stops him, telling him there’s no use because they aren’t strong enough. BUT later on in the “story”, when Lenah, with the newly human-made Vicken, wants to follow Odette and try to take her down, Lenah agrees! Why would Lenah go back to track the very same vampire with Vicken that she prevented Justin from fighting off to protect Kate, when Vicken is just as human as she is??! Lenah also said that a vampire can smell flesh in an instant and track a person even a mile away so, how was hiding out behind a bush with Vicken supposed to stop Odette from finding them??

There was nothing in this book I liked. Not a single element or moment or even bit of dialogue. The barely there storyline aside, all of the characters are underdeveloped, lack depth and dimension. There are just pages and pages of repetition, excessive amount of details that could have been lessened or did not even matter, and the obvious being stated to the reader. Perhaps if the book had been narrated by Rhode or even Vicken instead, the pain of reading this series could have been lessened. I liked their characters but they weren’t enough to save this series.

The only way I would stick with this series is on pain of death, but even then, I think I’d prefer the guillotine than enduring anymore of Lenah’s narration.

About the Author: Rebecca Maizel received her B.S. from Boston University and has masters degrees from RIC and VCFA. She teaches literature in her home state of RI. She talks to her Bichon Frise George like he’s a real person.

Where to Find the Author

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