Midnight Awakening

Lara Adrian
2007, Vampire Romance
Dell, $6.99, 400 pages, Amazon ASIN 0553589393
Part of a series

Grade: B
Sensuality: Hot

I donít know what went wrong with the first two books in Lara Adrianís Breed series. I gave a good attempt to read them, but found myself liking them as little as my fellow AAR reviewers and giving up. I called myself every type of crazy for choosing Midnight Awakening to review, thinking I was in for 400 pages of bad storytelling. Needless to say by my grade above, I was wrong.

Elise Chase is woman with a tortured past. Her breedmate (vampire husband) died five years earlier and her teenage son just a few months ago. She made a vow to her son to seek vengeance on those who were responsible. So now sheís living outside the confines of the protective vampire community she grew up in - hunting down rogue vampires and their minions. Sheís also slowly going crazy due to the gift she has of picking up peopleís thoughts.

Tegan met Elise back on the night her son was killed. The cold-hearted vampire showed a surprising level of compassion that night and Elise has never forgotten it. Fate brings them together again after Elise picks off a minion and Tegan steps in to help her. She doesnít want this man's help, though, and isnít afraid to tell him. Tegan doesnít want to help her either, for the attraction that she stirs in him is completely unwanted. He has a rep as a cold-blooded warrior and he would like to keep it that way, thank you very much.

But Elise stumbles onto a mysterious book that the leader of the rogues, Marek, is desperate to get his hands on. The "why" is beyond Elise and the Order (the good guy vampires for those who are new to Ms. Adrianís works), but they plan to find out. Again Tegan and Elise are thrown together as they travel to Berlin to seek out some answers.

So what makes Elise and Tegan different from every other kick-ass heroine and cold hearted hero out there? Not much really, except that they do it so well you forget that youíve read this same scenario a thousand times over. Their love is a paranormal other side of the tracks story with Elise coming from a noble family and Tegan part of the outcast Order. What stood out for me was the similarity in each of their situations despite the differing backgrounds. Each lost a loved one - which irrevocably changed them - And both have walled themselves up to the point where no one is allowed in. More importantly, though, each redeems the other instead of having one good soul save the darkened one. It was fascinating to watch these two defrost their hearts at the same time.

There must be something said about Tegan. Wow, the dude can pull off being a complete jerk, but in a way that keeps Elise away and keeps her safe at the same time. Itís one of the better characterizations Iíve seen of men trying to scare off women by being a prick. Would I feel this way if I hadn't read both the previous books? I donít know. Having met Tegan in Midnight Awakening and seeing all his cold, loner moments from books past, I can forgive him his missteps. He is also downright sexy, which doesnít hurt either.

Elise is a slightly different story. She is kick-ass all the way and she really had me feeling for her and the troubles with her psychic ability. That was one of the more intriguing plot points, but it was brushed under the rug for a while. I do understand the resolution, yet it seemed too easy.

There has been talk about the similarities of Lara Adrianís Breed series and a certain other series that revolves around a group of warrior vampires fighting evil. I do see the similarities, but I also see how Ms. Adrian is making it her own. Her worldbuilding is quite intriguing and I am totally into the new twist she presented in this latest book. I hope her next is up to par with Midnight Awakening because Iíd like to see where the author takes it.

-- Lisa Gardineer

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