The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire by Abigail Gibbs (book review).

This could very well be the first in a series of books about the dark heroines of the title, however, it’s not entirely clear from this book. There is a second novel mentioned on Amazon but it doesn’t really tell you much about it.

This novel seems to mostly be about a young human called Violet Lee learning about the presence of vampires in the world and how she fits into it all. She starts her adventure by being kidnapped from central London after having witnessed a mass blood-bath perpetrated by a gang of vampires. She takes part in some beautiful and some terrifying activities with her new vampire kidnappers and seems to be falling in love with at least one of them, the highly dangerous Kaspar Varn.

You can tell this was written by a young and inexperienced writer as the style doesn’t really settle down at any point. Sometimes you’re reading something very staccato and young feeling, then at other times it seems to try being thought-provoking and highly descriptive. This leaves the reader feeling a little dazed and confused throughout. There are also a lot of clunky feeling sentences that, given a little more work, could have been given a lot more flow. The number of grammatical errors I found were really shocking considering this has been through various reviewing phases already eg ‘… I shrunk back’ rather than ‘I shrank back’, ‘…several had sunken to the bottom…’ rather than several had sunk or even several sank to the bottom. They happened so often that they often distracted me from the story.

This was touted as being an adult vampire romance but when the female protagonist is only 17 going on 18 it really can’t be that adult. There are far more adult urban fantasy novels out there with love/lust stories involving actual adults! This could be more of a bridging novel for older teens wanting to move on from ‘Twilight’ onto something with a bit more bite (sorry) to it. It is good to see that the vampires in this story are little less glittery and soft than the ones in other teen vampire novels. They are much more realistic, if such a term can be used within urban fantasy. Although having just said that they do have one odd touch, that of having disco ball eyes. There every emotion seems to change their eye colour through from black to emerald to every colour in between, not something I enjoyed.

I found the ending to be really confusing with lots of new characters being introduced in the last fifty pages along with lots of new creatures and even new worlds all with little to no explanation. I can only hope that this is all explained in the next book, if there is one. A lot of the story was left hanging with the book coming to an abrupt stop which makes me want to read the next one, but only if there is some serious editing done to it.

To be fair, I did like Violet on occasion, she did have her funny side and some of the things she said were amusing. However, she often seemed to be very weak with very little want to have power over her life, she even seemed to enjoy being held captive most of the time, only trying to escape once or twice.

Overall, this is not a bad premise for a book but not one that deserved as much hype as this book has been given. It needed a great deal more editing and proofreading before it went to print in order to turn this from a clunky novel into a decent teen vampire romance. The amount of grammatical and just plain wrong word speed bumps Gibbs places in front of the reader ensures only the most dedicated will get to the end of this novel.

Sarah Bruch

(pub: Harper Voyager. 560 page paperback. Price: £ 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-000750-367-4)
check out websites: www.voyager-books.co.uk and www.harpercollins.co.uk


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