Midnight Rising

Lara Adrian
April 2008, Vampire Romance
Dell, $6.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0440244447
Part of a series

Grade: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Midnight Rising is the fourth installment of the Adrianís Midnight Breed series. The plot immediately drew me in and I liked its thoroughly tortured hero, Rio. Because the action is light, the hero and heroine - and their relationship - got the attention they deserved. Although not all great, this was a fun read overall.

After an evil Ancient rises in the Bohemian mountains, the Order left Rio behind to seal up the cave where the creature has hibernated for centuries. Were humans to stumble across the cave - with its alien language and hibernation chamber - they might learn about the alien-vampire-human hybrids that live among them. Rio was not the best candidate for this mission. A year earlier he was severely wounded in an explosion, which left extensive physical and emotional scars. He plans to seal himself inside the cave to end his miserable existence, but blackouts caused by his head trauma, starvation, and a bit of insanity all delay him. Months after he is left behind, a human does indeed enter the cave. Whatís worse, she is a reporter for a tabloid and returns to snap some pictures before Rio can take care of business.

Dylan Alexander is experiencing Europe for her mother, who wasnít able to make the trip due to cancer. While hiking through the mountains, she encounters the spirit of a beautiful woman, who leads her to a cave asking her to ďsave him.Ē While she doesnít know what the spirit means, sheís had such encounters before and willingly enough enters the cave. When she finds a tomb and interesting markings on the wall, she is thrilled to have a great story for her boss, who had threatened to fire her for taking an unexpected vacation. She doesnít realize that the vagrant she captures in her pictures is not simply a homeless man - or that her life will soon turn upside down.

Rio is quite put out that his plans have been interrupted, but he must chase down Dylan and neutralize the whole picture situation before he continues with his plan. He seals the cave - as he should have done months before - and tracks the woman to Prague. When he realizes that she has already sent her boss a rough draft of her story, along with pictures, the situation becomes dire and he takes Dylan into his custody. He then learns that Dylan carries the special birthmark which means sheís a Breedmate. This causes him to finally admit that he canít handle his debacle by himself, which unfortunately means having to tell his fellow Order members that he screwed up, big time.

Dylan is brought along to Order headquarters and treated with much more deference now that Rio knows what she is. When he explains about the Breed and how she fits in, she doesnít believe him at first, despite her profession. But it soon becomes very apparent that he is telling the truth. She soften towards him as she realizes what he went through. It is quite believable - and sweet to watch - that he is not a monster after all. Rio doesnít at first believe that she could ever care for such a scarred and broken man, but he finds his reason for living in her. I love stories with a tortured character who truly needs another to be whole and thatís what this story delivers. However, I thought his change to big softie came too abruptly and included a couple of ultra-cheesy moments that didnít mesh with the overall tone of the story.

I also really had some problems with the Breed world. It bothered me that only the males are vampires, with the enormous powers that come with that, while the women are their human broodmares. While the Breedmates (oh, that word!) do each have one supernatural ability, they donít get to turn into vampires; they simply give birth to them. Once a female is identified as a Breedmate, they are brought into these cultish communities (if that is their choice) and protected until they find a mate. It also struck me as odd that the males can put humans in trances and play with their memories, but they seriously hunt humans for food. Instead of attacking humans and later wiping their memories, why couldnít they put them in a trance and make the whole process less terrifying? They might only be able to do that when touching, which could have been mentioned in a prior book, but still. While all this was a bit icky to me, it wasnít a deal-breaker.

This was a fast, interesting story that pulled me in right from the beginning. Iím now quite curious about what happened in the previous installment, and there are lots of hunky boys who clearly have books coming up. While the book has issues, my overall experience was positive and I would recommend Midnight Rising for vampire lovers.

-- Andi Davis

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