Book: The Vampire Voss
Author: Colleen Gleason
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Be sure to check out Colleen Gleason's webpage.
Individual conflicts take precedence in Colleen Gleason’s debut book The Vampire Voss, the first in a new Regency vampire trilogy about the Draculia-an ancient race of vampires descended from Vlad Dracul, who have sworn allegiance to Lucifer and in turn carry the mark of the covenant. It is their internal discord, the inescapable warring between the lure of The Mark, and the last remaining vestiges of their humanity that is the true lure in Gleason’s plot.
In Voss, Gleason introduces a moderate swathe of characters early on, setting the stage of not only the first book, but those that will follow in its wake. We get an introduction to two swoonworthy vamps: Voss Arden, Viscount Dewhurst, and brooding Dimitri, the Earl of Corvindale. Later on, we meet Narcise Moldavi, who has inexplicably disappeared with vampire hunter Chas Woodmore.
Gleason has portrayed Voss as an enigmatic character, who traffics in information much in the way that Lord Akeldama does in Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. He exploits it, he barters it, and if needed, he uses it for blackmail. Information has and will always be his ace. When he returns from the Colonies, he has an objective in mind. That is to track down which of Chas Woodmore’s sisters possesses the legacy of Sight and exploit that tidbit of information as best as he can.
With Woodmore missing, his sisters Angelica, Maia, and Sonia have all become the wards of the Earl of Corvindale, a vampir. That liaison places them directly in the bulls-eye of Cezar Moldavi, the leader of a faction of vampir who have a blood feud with the Earl of Corvindale. Even more difficult, there is no love lost between Voss and Dimitri, preventing him from even getting close to the Woodmore sisters. Voss must ferret out which sister is gifted, and utilize that information before Moldavi becomes hot on the trail.
But Voss never envisions getting entangled with one of Chas’s sisters, least of all Angelica Woodmore, and forced to flee with her in tow to escape Moldavi’s minions. He wants to deflower her, exploit her power, and drink her down. At times even he cannot discern if it his exclusive desire, or the Mark inducing him. If readers had any illusions of The Vampire Voss being a historical paranormal, where the hero sweeps the heroine up in his arms, black cape swirling in the wind, then they are mistaken. Gleason has woven Voss darkly, with a multitude of conflicts that fester within him. He is the “ungentleman-like” gentleman, the self-indulgent wastrel who keeps his heart, and his vulnerabilities well protected. And the Mark has very real power over his actions. Those traits makes him all the more dangerous, interesting, lavish…and very sexy.
There is a moment…a critical moment where Gleason toys with us, where we almost led to believe that Voss will cross the line even further than he has already by taking Angelica’s blood by force. How far will he go? In that infinitesimal moment, readers grasp Gleason’s characterization of Voss…not as a fop, or a Byron-esque character, but a killer ruled by the persuasion of the Mark. At that moment he is everything Lucifer intended when Voss accepted that unholy covenant over a century before. It’s a heart-stopping moment. Knowing this about Voss evokes dizziness, like gulping down a dram of whisky too fast. His leashed violence is an intoxicating lure and readers will plunge on despite the rocky terrain of the pacing and dialogue, just to see what exactly he will do. Will he succumb?
The Vampire Voss was deeply seductive, darkly thrilling, and I found that Gleason kept me jumping trying to ascertain Voss’s motives, his actions, and what would happen next. The concepts of the Asthenia are brilliant, the Mark, the way that Voss drops Lucifer’s name and calls him “Luce” intrigued me enough to wonder if dear Luce would make an appearance in Gleason’s next books-especially after what happens at the end to Voss. My eyes are also on Dimitri who has fought the lure of the Mark, has deprived himself for decades…all that dark seething under the guise of a gentlemanly Lord…
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)