Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Julian Kane is back in town.
Once, as a girl of seventeen, beautiful, headstrong Portia Cabot saved the cursed life of the dashing vampire Julian Kane - who marked her forever, then left to go in search of his soul. He returns five years later to find the enchanting young girl he left behind grown into a bewitching woman with a woman's heart - and a woman's desires.
Portia quickly discovers that Julian's seductive and forbidden kiss can still make her crave the night . . . and his touch. But the Julian who has returned to London is not the vampire she remembers. His fruitless pursuit of his stolen mortality has reduced him to drunken debauchery. And a recent spate of murders makes Portia fear that the man she has always adored may truly be a monster.
Julian knows he must drive Portia away - but his passion and hunger for her grow more irresistible every time they touch. For years he has fought the temptation to embrace his dark gifts, never realizing that Portia's love may give him the most dangerous gift of all . . . a reason to live.
Whenever I read a Teresa Medeiros book, I'm not sure if I'm going to like it or not. She's a bit uneven. The first book of this duo, After Midnight was great, I really loved it. But, it's sequel, The Vampire Who Loved Me just didn't work for me. I suspected that might be the case since Julian is a vampire and I wasn't all that fond of him in the first book, and here he's the hero!
Here we follow younger sister Portia who still carries a torch for Julian, the vampire brother to Adrian, her brother-in-law. Portia cannot accept that he is as dissolute as he appears to be. She's been carrying a torch for him for five years. At the end of the last book, she is locked up in a crypt with him and we never find out what exactly happened - did he drink her blood? Did he deflower her? What actually happened between them when they were locked in together? We find out in this one, although not until close to the end.
Portia has grown up quite a bit since she was seventeen and had a colossal crush on Julian. She's become a beauty and has also learned a thing or two about becoming a vampire slayer. Julian has long since disappeared, yet Portia knows immediately when he's back in London and goes to him as soon as she can. He now has a reputation as a wastrel and just as he shows up in town again, young women in Whitechapel are found dead - by a vampire. Is Julian the killer? Portia wants to clear his name, but at the same time she's putting herself in danger. What if he tries to kill her? Would he?
I had a hard time with Portia, at first she comes across as a strong heroine, someone who can hold her own. But then she keeps doing all these stupid things that bothered me. Constantly putting herself in danger, leaving her windows open, walking alone looking for the killer in back alleyways, posing as a new vampire bride (as if!) After a while, she started to bug me. Julian. I'm afraid I never cottoned to him from the beginning.
The main gist of the story is Portia and Julian never stopped loving one another. Their moment in the crypt left an indelible impression on both of them. Yet because Julian loves her, he has stayed away from her because he is a vampire and has no soul. He realized it was hopeless for them. It turns out he has an old lover - another vampire who is old and powerful, though she is beautiful and dangerous. She is the one that owns Julian's soul. She's awful and is the real vampire who is going around killing unsuspecting women in the alleys. Plus, she hates Portia for she is jealous and knows Portia is the love of Julian's life. There's a real tug of war over Julian between the two of them. Frankly, I just rolled my eyes - what did they see in him - he did nothing for me! Somehow there must be a way to kill her, but at the same time, to do it in such a way that Julian can become a mortal again. Not easy.
Still with me?
Parts of the book weren't bad, I liked the part when Julian and Portia attend a vampire party where Julian leads Portia around by a golden collar and she has to pretend to be his vampire bride. Turns out Lord Byron is there - and he's a vampire too! Of course, the vampires all find out the truth and they have to make a run for it and hide. I was saddened and shocked afterwards when they find out that while they've been shacked up together in hiding, a certain beloved character had been kidnapped by Julian's vampire lover.
Overall, this turned out to be another vampire book I could have skipped. I just can't resist these historical vampire romances! Why do I keep doing this to myself? I think I'll try Medeiros' other romances - without vampires, maybe I'll like them more. I still haven't given up on her.