The five books that make up this series tell the story of Victoria Grantsworth who discovers she is part of a long-line of vampire slayers called Venators. In fact, she is the last in the direct line of the Gardellas, who serve as the leaders of the Venators. Each Venator wears a piercing that gives them abnormal strength and senses which aids greatly in the battle against the undead. Her great aunt begins Victoria's training and introduces her to other Venators who form this small army around the world. Max Pesaro and Sebastian Vioget are two men who play a huge part in Victoria's struggle against the vampires and also play on her emotions. Lillith is the most powerful vampire in the world, the daughter of Judas Iscariot; she also has an unhealthy obsession for Max. Here is my brief take of each book:
The Rest Falls Away I struggled with the first book. I found Victoria to be self-centered and pig-headed. In fact, that weren't a lot of characters I really liked. Sebastian comes across as a dirty old man, Max is dark and arrogant; and Lillith is just creepy. Well, creepy is fitting for a vampire but still. I just found the whole concept of vampires being created after Satan claims Judas Iscariot's soul to be too disturbing. I did like how Gleason creates an atmosphere of suspense and I liked the historical setting. Also, it was good to see the vampires cast as truly evil beings even though they seem to entice the unwary into their grasp by their hypnotic and sensual gaze. Rating: 3.25
Rises the Night The Venators convene in Rome to fight a horrible threat from a vampire hoping to become more powerful than Lillith. Victoria puts herself in danger because of her bull-headedness and pride. Max has his own agenda and hasn't shared his plans. We do learn that, far from being a dirty, old man, Sebastian is actually extremely attractive, especially to Victoria. In fact, the sex in this book lowers my rating. It was over the top. And Victoria is a bit of a sleaze. There is more staking of vampires which can get old after a while; but the main conflict was very gripping and I was completely taken by surprise by some of the outcomes. Rating: 3
The Bleeding Dusk I almost didn't continue with this series because the first two books didn't appeal that much to me. I'm glad I kept on with it, because this book captured my attention. Maybe it's because Sebastian and Max became more real to me and I started to understand their motives. Victoria is also starting to grow up and act more like the leader she needs to be. I found the introduction of demons, Satan's other army and mortal enemies of the vampires, to be a bit silly but at least the fighting changes. You don't kill demons by staking them. I was able to recognize the sex scenes earlier and skip them so I wasn't bothered with that. Whatever, I enjoyed this book and was eager to follow the action in the next installment.
The Twilight Burns The vampires are becoming cagier, creating more problems for Victoria, Max and Sebastian. There were some surprises in this book and interesting developments with Victoria. Again, I liked this book and was quite engrossed. Rating: 4
As Shadows Fall If this is the last book in the series, there are a lot of unanswered questions. What really happens to Sebastian? What about the potion recipe that was given to Lillith? What is the future of the Venators? I don't like unanswered questions, so I'm hoping for a sequel. By this time, Max and Sebastian have grown on me, Victoria, maybe a bit. I really like her maid though. Great comic relief amidst all the fangs and stakes. Rating: 3.75
Overall, I would recommend the series, especially if you like vampire romance books. I don't love romance novels and probably would have liked these books better with a little less romance and more intrigue. Except I got to where I enjoyed Sebestian's flirting with Victoria. It's just her response to him that struck an odd note with me.
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