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Monday, March 26, 2012

"Twilight Forever Rising" by Lena Meydan (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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OVERVIEW: Darel Ericson of the Dahanavar clan is a rarity among his vampire brethren: he's an empath, strong enough to occasionally read thought as well as emotion. For centuries, his power has given the Dahanavar a significant advantage against the machinations of the other vampire families, an advantage which makes Darel both a powerful tool and a highly visible target.

Fortunately for Darel, it is more useful for the heads of the other clans to maintain the centuries-long peace between the houses than to remove him. But, the cunning and violent head of the House of Nachterret is tired of the truce, and of hiding his presence in the world. The Nachterret would like nothing more than have free reign over the helpless human cattle upon which they feed.

Darel, and the human woman he loves, become central to the Nachterret's scheme to plunge the Houses into all-out war. Darel is ultimately forced to face the question: is one young woman's life too high a price to pay for peace

FORMAT: Twilight Forever Rising is a paranormal/urban fantasy. There are elements of mystery, drama, and a little adventure mixed in. Twilight Forever Rising stands at 400 pages and the English translation was published by TOR on September 28, 2010.

ANALYSIS: I finished Twilight Forever Rising over a year ago, and kept meaning to review it but forgot. A year later, here I am sitting here and what should pop into my head; yup, you guessed it Twilight Forever Rising.

Don’t let the term “Twilight” fool you, there are no sparkling vampires or sappy overly angsty love story here. If you want that, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Twilight Forever Rising follows the life and times of several vampire houses, and the politics that goes along with these houses. The best way to describe it is a mob-like mentality, but with vampires in the year 2000. In addition to the political wheeling’s and dealings of the house, readers are treated to an inside look at the struggles and lives of what it would be like to be a vampire in the year 2000.

Each of the vampire houses or clans have some type of unique ability or magical attribute that sets them apart. Some can read minds, others are “fighters”, and others are artistic. There are good houses, and bad houses, but no matter how it is viewed all the houses believe they are superior to humans; it’s just a matter of who is better fit to rule over the humans.

The story revolves around the main character, Darel Ericson, who is an empath at the center of the vampire house war. Darel falls in love with a human, Loraine, and quickly drags her into the midst of the vampire house war, and so our story starts.

Vampires are a topic that I think most readers can agree has been over-done in the past few years. While Twilight Forever Rising doesn’t offer a completely new take on vampires, it does present a thrilling, captivating story that is beautifully written. Not in the sense that it’s flow-y or flowery, but it works. It’s quick, short chapters that keeps flowing along with ease.

All of the characters, even the most trivial characters, seemed to be fleshed-out and developed. The vampires love and hate, they fight and socialize, they strategize and plot against other houses and humans. All of which I found absolutely fascinating.

If the background and history of the vampire houses/clans seems confusing, it is best to just plow through, because it really does all fall into place later in the book. In fact, I didn’t even notice that I was bogged with information because it just worked later in the book.

The story is fairly slow to start out. A lot of time is spent describing the vampire houses, dropping hints on how the vampire society is structured, and such. The combination of what could feel as information over-load and the sluggish start might turn away some readers, but the book picks up about one-fourth of the way through, and after that it’s smooth sailing. It just grabbed my attention and never let go.

There are a few, and I mean very few, parts of the novel that seem to have lost its meaning and context due to the translation of the novel from its original Russian. However, it is nothing that can’t be overlooked as it only came up a handful of times, and will probably not be noticed by many readers.

While I absolutely loved the whole book, and can’t get enough of it, there is one thing that keeps bugging me. The book just ends. I mean literally it just kind stopped, leaving me with what feels like a billions questions that I want answered. It was just as if the book got to the part it built up to, and it ended. There are more stories in the series, and I really hope that someone out there brings the rest of the series to the US.

Twilight Forever Rising is a wonderful book, despite its faults. I think it should have gotten more attention, and maybe the attention would lead to another story. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, but not way out there, or just looking to try an urban fantasy that isn’t the standard sassy heroine this is the book for you



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