Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter is the first in a series called the Royal House of Shadows. With each of four planned (so far) installments being written by a different author, I struggle with how I feel about this start to this series. I am thinking skipping it and reading some of the author’s better stuff is time better spent.
This is another series in the PNR category, so by default its has to be to some extent a good distraction from real life. But, the epilogue sets out a plot that is a little confusing – being repelled from a place but driven to return to get vengeance too…? And the role of the time pieces, and the curse of the other kingdom’s royalty and the fact that in that kingdom time doesn’t work the same. It’s all a little confusing.
As much as the characters are likable, this follows the formula of the PNR from start to finish. So, it’s nothing super unique or different. I like Showalter’s other stuff, so I was looking forward to this. But her other stuff, especially the Lords of the Underworld seemed a little easier to read. The flashes here – some of which seemed to be flashbacks and some were just flashes elsewhere, I think – interrupted the flow of the story and the narration. They were clunky and more then once I had to wonder whether the flash was into the past or not and what that meant for where/when our 2 main characters were. How Nicolai got access again to his magic was never really clear, how Jane ends up in Delfina (that magical kingdom in his dimension) wasn’t really clear, and what exactly the Blood Sorcerer stuff was relevant wasn’t really clear either – it felt over planned, over plotted. A little like too many cooks in the kitchen… and I wonder if the input of all 4 authors is why this happened.
Having read a few (and I mean a few, I shy away from series with different authors for each installment) other series like this, I have yet to find one that doesn’t fail in the same ways. There are too many ideas and the resolution is usually pretty messy since the tone often changes book to book.
Like 99% of the books in this genre, the two characters meet and instantly fall in lust. Her because he’s beautiful and him because he sees something in her others don’t. Then they have some sort of adventure which causes them to need to spend lots of time together and they have sex and then decided they can’t be without each other. If it’s the end of the series we (might) get most of the issues tied up and if not, we are strung along to the next installment. Here, same thing. Showalter’s writing wasn’t as smooth and enjoyable as usual, but it wasn’t bad. I think she may have been burdened by a set of ideas that need to be complicated to account for each of a number of authors’ style to complete the series. Not having read any of the authors who are tagged with books 2-4, I am not sure what to think about what comes next. Because it was such a quick little read, it wasn’t a bad escape. But there are better choices, written by others and written by Showalter. Not to mention, this is only about a 2 on the steaminess scale. I think catching up on the Lords is time better spent.