Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review: Honor at Stake by Declan Finn.

I have a confession to make. I somewhat enjoyed Twilight. Well, not the actual prose, or the female lead I kept wanting to strangle, or the male lead who, having lived for over 100 years has emotional maturity of a 15-year-old. What intrigued me was the idea that vampires can choose to not be monsters. The thought of a vampire patriarch of hanging a cross in his living room and dedicating his life to helping humans was quite appealing since themes of free will and redemption are some of my favorites in literature.

Enter Declan Finn, who takes these same themes and actually employs them WELL. I'm not just referring to the excitement of action scenes--from this author, action awesomeness is to be expected. I'm talking about taking the time to establish the world of the story, to tie it both to historical background and to other vampire fiction and create something both new and respectful of what has come before. And then, of course, there are the characters, both the female and male lead who somehow manage to be entirely over-the-top and relatable at the same time. (It actually proves my long-held belief that characters don't need to be "regular people" to have a connection with the reader. They just need to be complete and believable within their world.)

It is an unapologetically "Catholic" story, in that crosses and rosaries are not just anti-vampire tools or hip decorations. They mean something, and they're used in different ways, always for a reason. As a non-Christian, I respect that because it all adds depth to the story and, again, makes both the world and the characters seem more real. 

There are a few twists along the way, which I will not give out, except to say that, if you think you know where this book goes, based either on the synopsis or on whatever pages show up in the Preview on Amazon, you're probably wrong. This is probably where I should make a reference to this book being a ride with more bumps and misdirections than NYC roads, but you'd probably need to be a New Yorker to get it, so I won't. All I'll say is, if you feel over-saturated with cookie cutter vampire romance stories that leave you unsatisfied, check this one out. You'll thank me later.