The fifth book in Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series has just recently been published, which means there are a number of reviews floating around the blogsphere. They have all been very positive, both of the book itself and the series as a whole. It does seem to be a consistent comment that the first book is the weakest in the series, but that doesn't mean much to me. If I want to read a series, I have to start at the beginning. Wanting a bit of a break from slogging through the snow in In the Bleak Midwinter, I decided to give Kiss of Midnight a try. Hooray for the ease of buying ebooks as I had it shortly after making the decision.
This is the start of another vampire paranormal romance series. It has a its similarities to other such series, but such is probably inevitable in such a glutted field. Adrian's vampires are descended from a group of crash-landed aliens who found that the only way they could survive on their new home was to drink human blood (actually, the premise works well and isn't as hokey as it sounds). Over time, some vampires succumbed to bloodlust (including the original Ancients) and an order was formed to protect the general population from the Rogues. All vampires born (they are a separate species rather than creatures that are turned by other vampires) are male and they can only breed with certain human females that have the right genetic type to allow reproduction.
Gabrielle Maxwell is a photographer who is gaining recognition in her field. After a particularly successful exhibition, she and some friends visit a night club. Gabrielle is uncomfortable there and leaves early; as she steps outside she witnesses six rogue vampires killing a human, although she thinks she has seen some kind of gang murder. The police refuse to believe her, despite grainy photos on her cell phone, and send her home. Shortly afterwards, a man shows up at her doorstep, claiming to be a police detective. He is, in fact, Lucan Thorne, a first generation vampire (ie, his father was one of the original Ancients) and leader of the Order that fights the Rogues. They are quickly attracted to each other and Lucan is startled to discover that Gabrielle is a Breedmate. While he has never had any intention of taking a mate himself, he finds himself unhappy with the idea of Gabrielle mating with some other vampire.
The story progresses relatively predictably from there as Gabrielle and Lucan fight their attraction to each other, Gabrielle eventually finds out Lucan is lying to her, and then learns about the Breed and her place in Breed society. The story also encompasses the start of a new war between Rogues and the Order and introduces the vampire who is leading the Rogues. For all that, it is nicely written and a good introduction to a new series. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it. The romance between Gabrielle and Lucan is nicely written, as is the way they do actually talk to each other about at least some of the important things. Neither of them was hugely three-dimensional, but they weren't cardboard cut-outs either. There's a lot of concepts to introduce in the book and Adrian avoids info-dumping and weaves them into the story pretty well. We also meet the other warriors who will, clearly, have their own books and I am interested enough in all of them to keep following the series.
I finished Kiss of Midnight fairly late last night and when I got to the end I just closed the PDA and went to sleep. I think if I had rated it then, I would have given it 8/10 as I really did enjoy the reading experience. However, by the time I got to listing my end date and rating on Library Thing today, I found myself feeling that 7/10 was really a more appropriate grade simply because, while a good read, I didn't find Kiss of Midnight to be a hugely memorable book. It's already fading now, but I'm left with a good feeling all the same and, remembering what was said about this being the weakest book in the series, I'm rather looking forward to reading the next one. But it will be when I want a light break between other books (or when the random number generator picks it) rather than because I desperately need to read it right now.
Kiss of Midnight
Midnight Breed, Book 1