Review of Bella Forrest’s A Shade of Vampire

 I Won a signed copy of Bella Forrest‘s A Shade of Vampire from Layers of Thought. I included both the new and old cover just to be awkward. 

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Description from Goodreads:

On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. 

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.
An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Review (with mild spoilers):

If Edward Cullen had ever been forced to rule a hidden enclave of vampires he would definitely be named Derek Novak. No doubt about it. A Shade of Vampire is a quick little YA read that Twilight fans will love. The problem is that I’m really not a Twilight fan. So in order to give this book a fair chance I tried imagining how I would have reacted to it if I was still an angsty teenage girl. Certainly Sofia is described as a smart, slightly quirky, wall flower. I can relate to that. She’s secretly crushing on her popular best friend, who I THINK she lives with. I guess I can relate to that too. (Though the whole living situation was never very clear. Apparently she was abandoned, but I never could grasp the details. Maybe I’m wrong.) I had to wonder a little bit about the whole high school clique thing though. I mean if he’s popular and she isn’t how are they best friends? I don’t really remember cliques being so accepting of such social transgressions. In the end I decided that I can relate to Sofia’s life prior to the vampires, but not after. Once she is taken to the Blood Shade I could do nothing but shake my head.

Derek wakes from a protracted sleep and INSTANTLY falls for little ‘ol Sofia. What does he fall in love with? Well, I don’t want to give anything away, but it isn’t anything the other girls don’t have too. So, really the question still stands. Sofia, in turn, is either exceptionally susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome or has no sense of self-preservation, because she is feeling Derek in return. She is falling in love with his kindness, which, honestly, feels misplaced. Really there is a whole undercurrent of incongruous innocence in this book. It’s in small things, like the keeping of harems and constant references to playing with their beautiful slaves, or the leers Sofia is subjected to but the complete lack of follow through or sex of any kind. Example: the girls are all kidnapped when they are 17 because they mature and taste sweetest when they turn 18. Now, the whole blood letting/sex connection is pretty blatant, so the message is essentially that the girls will be ravished, but not until they conveniently (and coincidentally) come of legal age. Riiighhht. The novel is so sexually charged that this absence is conspicuous. I realise that as a YA novel it shouldn’t really have any, so maybe the suggestion needed to be pulled back a little. 

I have a guess about where the story will go from here and I’d be willing to read a sequel to see if I’m right or not. With the exception of the constant and annoying one sentence paragraphs (I was always told a minimum of 3 BTW) it reads fairly smoothly. (Though to be fair Derek’s dialogue is a little too smooth for someone who’s been asleep for 400 years. But since I wouldn’t really want to slog through the old English I’m more than happy to let that pass.) It was also interesting to be able to see both sides of Sofia and Derek’s interactions. Sometimes their actions held different meanings for the two of them, but were still meaningful to both. I thought that was very cleverly played. All in all I thought it was OK, but I’m well aware that there will be those who love this sort of story and they will, no doubt, really enjoy it.

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