Raphael (Vampires in America, #1) by D.B. Reynolds
Series: Vampires in America #1
Publisher: Imajinn Books
Publication Date: April 15, 2009
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Malibu, California-home to rock-and-roll gods and movie stars, the beautiful, the rich . . . and vampires.
Powerful and charismatic, Raphael is a Vampire Lord, one of the few who hold the power of life and death over every vampire in existence. Thousands call him Master and have pledged absolute loyalty on their very lives. But when, in a brazen and deadly daylight attack, a gang of human killers kidnaps the one female vampire he'd give his life for, Raphael turns to a human investigator to find his enemies before it's too late.
Cynthia Leighton is smart, tough and sexy, a private investigator and former cop who's tired of spying on cheating spouses and digging out old bank accounts. When Raphael asks for her help in tracking down the kidnappers, Cyn's happy to accept. But she soon realizes her greatest danger comes not from the humans, but from Raphael himself.
Battling Russian mobsters and treacherous vampires, and betrayed by those they trusted, Cyn and Raphael find themselves fighting for their lives while caught up in a passion of blood and violence that is destined to destroy them both.
For our Summer Reading Challenge, Casee, Rowena and I chose 5 books for the others to read. We tried to choose books we thought the others would enjoy, though they may not have chosen to read them on their own. Or I did, anyway. I don’t know what Casee was thinking. I did’t care for Raphael at all. Why Casee thought I’d enjoy it is beyond me. 1) It features vampires, which I hate. 2) It ends in a cliffhanger, which I hate. 3) Did I mention the vampires? Ugh.
Raphael is the Vampire Lord of the United States. Though thousands have pledged their loyalty to him, he’s still betrayed and the one who means more to him than anyone else in kidnapped. Since humans helped with the kidnapping, Raphael engages of the services of PI Cynthia Leighton. She’s a former LAPD officer who once saved a vampire. Since then she’s often given cases they need help solving. This one is more dangerous than most, but Cyn is up for the challenge. Or so she thinks. Until she realizes she’s majorly attracted to Raphael. Since nothing good can come of that, she determines to focus on the case and nothing else. The problem? Raphael is attracted to her, too. And he doesn’t want to ignore what’s between them.
Here’s the thing. Cyn was an idiot. Right from the beginning she made questionable choices, ignored her instincts and threw common sense right out the window. Multiple times throughout the book she does and says things that make no sense, put herself or others in danger, or are, in general, ridiculous. I didn’t understand her motivations or her thought process, which made it really hard to connect with her. There’s literally a point in the book where she’s like (and I’m paraphrasing here): “This is a really bad idea. I shouldn’t do this. It’s not safe and none of the things are adding up. But eh..I’m just going to do it anyway. It’ll probably be fine.” Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t fine.
Also? This book features one of my biggest pet peeves in Romantic Suspense. Now, before I go on I want to say that I’m more forgiving of PNR than straight RS, because we’re dealing with fantasy elements, you know? Vampires don’t really exist, so of course I can’t hold the actions of the characters to the same standards I would a straight contemporary. But either way, the MCs having sex in the middle of a dangerous situation? Totally kills it for me. In this case, they’re in the middle of a shootout in a warehouse. Raphael partially rips a dude’s arm off. While he’s crawling around on the floor in the actual room, they start having sex. Right there. In front of dude half missing an arm. With dead bodies littered throughout. WTAF?!?! No. Just no.
Added to that, the writing is pretty choppy. So many times they’d be talking about something and then, mid-paragraph, switch gears. It made for an awkward reading experience. I didn’t understand why Raphael wanted her, or why he acted the way he did with her. His reactions seemed so out of context.
To add insult to injury, the book ended on a cliffhanger. Between the choppy writing, ridiculous actions of both the hero and heroine and the cliffhanger, this was a complete chore to get through. I love Casee like whoa, but this was a major fail.
1 out of 5