by Katie MacAlister
Publisher Signet / Penguin (September 4, 2012)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages & E-Book Formats
Personal property of blogger, no remuneration exchanged and all opinions herein are my own except as noted.
Time isn’t always on a vampire’s side…
Iolanthe Tennyson has had a very bad year—due in part to the very bad men in her life. So, she’s accepted her cousin’s invitation to spend the summer in Austria indulging in her photography hobby. There, rumors of a haunted forest draw Iolanthe into the dark woods—and into the eighteenth century…
Nikola Czerny is a cursed man, forced by his half-brothers to live forever as a Dark One. But his miserable existence takes an intriguing turn when a strange, babbling woman is thrown in his path. Iolanthe claims to know Nikola’s daughter—three hundred years in the future. She also knows what fate—in the form of his murderous half-brothers—has in store for him. If only she knew the consequences of changing the past to save one good, impossibly sexy vampire… KatieMacAlister.com
Reading A TALE OF TWO VAMPIRES was such a relief. In my opinion, Katie has really saved this series after floundering wildly with chaotic action, scattered dialogue and a need for too much suspension of disbelief. Also, aside from the title there is no pretense of basing the story on Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
I enjoyed this book and devoured it in the course of one day (the release day). It’s still a light-hearted comic fantasy series with nicely written sex scenes, but I think we’ve seen the back side of the chaos I found in the past few entries in the series. Katie’s writing of dialogue, action and characters is clear, the story is different and exciting with the addition of a mystical “swirly thing” that transports the heroine, Iolanthe (“Io” please, never “Yolanda”) to 1703 and back. I enjoyed how her characters fall into their romantic attachment.
I was intrigued with Nikola’s casual acceptance of his condition as a “Dark One” and his lack of information about it. There’s an organization called the Moravian Council, but without Google there’s no instant information upload so he has not availed himself of the council as he should have. Nikola is an enchanting, appealing character I half wanted to bite myself. Iolanthe is a much more real, mature and intelligent character than the past few rounds of Katie’s heroines. There was some suspense and I found the climax unpredictable although the ending was not unexpected. Katie leaves a door open for the couple to reappear in future entries in the series. And she ties up a few of the story lines I did not like.
I liked how both characters accepted their predicaments after a period of questioning with evidence supporting the insupportable. I also like that Katie doesn’t try to explain the time travel event with science, and how she has Iolanthe use Star Trek to explain why it’s bad to mess with the time-space continuum. Iolanthe’s use of the vernacular and shock with the “technology” of the 18th century shows how much we depend on our time and place for our language and attitudes.
While I expressed disappointment last May with the direction in which the the series was headed and what I felt were ridiculous plot lines and characters, I can say that I am happy with the changes I see here and the direction this book has given the series. The disappointment I had expressed was my own opinion of course and and completely based in my own taste and perceptions; I am not making any claims of basing my critic in some high-falutin’ intellectual concept.
My pleasure in this book in the series is, of course, also based in my own opinion and what I enjoy reading. I liked this book because it was fun and sexy without asking me to suspend disbelief to a ridiculous degree with likeable characters and situations which, while fantastic, still land in the realm of how people placed in these situations would behave. The family situation is unusual, to say the least.
I recommend A TALE OF TWO VAMPIRES if you like light, paranormal romantic comedy with a bit of sex, and an unconventional family situation.
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by Katie Macalister
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