Dinner With a Vampire (The Dark Heroine #1) by Abigail Gibbs
Paperback, 549 pages
Expected publication 25th October 2012 by Harper Voyager
One moment can change your life forever…
For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape… no matter how hard Violet tries.
Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.
Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price…
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My thanks go to Harper for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Despite all of the apparent hype surrounding new author Abigail Gibbs and her rise to success, before I was asked to review this book, I'd never heard of her. As a fifteen year old, Gibbs wrote her story on Wattpad and rose to fame with tens of millions of views and a sturdy fan base, but somehow I missed out! When this book was brought to my attention and I was told the facts, I had great expectations and so of course I had to try it out!
When I first started The Dark Heroine, I wasn't initially sucked in by it - I didn't feel very excited by it and it all seemed a little 'random' to me. I like to have reasoning for the actions in a book and it felt as though the story was jumping in at the deep end with vampires suddenly arriving unnoticed in the middle of London. As the book progressed, things did unfold and I found myself enjoying it more. Though the writing isn't perfect, it was enjoyable for the most part. The story became more logical, slightly more complex and interesting as it went on. I wasn't bored reading this book and I did keep wanting to pick it back up, which definitely wasn't a bad thing! The book was compelling and the plot was interesting, with depth towards the end that I wasn't expecting and which made me eager to read the next instalment.
Though I did enjoy it for the most part, there were some issues that I had with this book. One thing that struck me when I picked up the book was that it had 'The sexiest romance you'll read all year' stamped on the front. What with the publication of so many paranormal, supernatural romances for teens and the absolute truckload of erotica books that are being published for adults this year, that is definitely a title to live up to! There were certainly some steamy moments in this book, but I don't think that they'll be for everyone - mainly due to the romance between our two main characters, Violet and Kaspar.
Now I didn't really want to compare this book to another, but it's hard not to - the romance in this book really reminded me of the romance in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Though this book is certainly different (it is written for teenagers and for paranormal fans after all!) there is what I would imagine will be a very controversial romance that is explored. Violet is technically taken prisoner by Kaspar, yet starts a relationship with him, initially in a way that could be seen as against her own will - there is something quite manipulative about Kaspar (and the Varn family in general) and I was just not entirely comfortable with the relationship as it developed. There are so many quite twisted things that happen during Violet's stay at the Varn residence and I find it difficult to think that she'd actually be able to handle such a serious relationship or be able to mindfully make serious decisions. I think that the writing surrounding the relationship was perhaps the weakest part of the book.
As a character, Violet wasn't the best protagonist I've read about, though she is not the worst either. I did initially warm to her as she seemed to have quite firm ideas and opinions, which I admire. However, although perhaps somewhat intentional or necessary for the story, she dramatically weakened throughout the book and disappointingly, I felt that she turned into a Mary-Sue. Violet seemed to completely let go of her strong opinions and submitted to the Varn's wishes.
Kaspar, the main character in the Varn family was interesting - he was definitely a more complex character with a deep history. Though not entirely likeable, he was fascinating to read about, as was the history of the whole Varn family. The Varns, to me, are what real vampires should be like and I couldn't get enough of them - they were strong and powerful, dangerous and intoxicating.
Regardless of some my reservations, I did find The Dark Heroine: Dinner With a Vampire to be very compelling reading. As aforementioned, I found the book hard to put down - it was a page turner as the story moved at a good pace with a lot of revelations. I found the plot and the Prophecy of the Heroines to be enthralling and I will be sure to try and get my hands on a copy of the next book in this series as I honestly believe that it will only become more interesting. Overall, this was a book that I'd recommend for slightly more mature teens and those who are able to enjoy books without looking into them too deeply. I can definitely see this becoming an extremely popular published book.