First of all, I love that these vampires get back to the more traditional mythology – they’re bad, murders, monsters, and do not sparkle or suffer from emo angst. The darkness of this book really was my favorite aspect, and the suspense and danger is done really well so that I stayed intrigued and tense as I was reading. The story has a good collection of characters, both vampire and human, and the backstory for how the vampires came into existence is pretty cool without dominating the story set in modern day.
“The Dark Proposal” really is the perfect title for this story, as the main character of Claire has to weigh the decision of accepting or rejecting what her vampire boyfriend Daniel has offered/demanded. Very quickly I came to interpret this story as one about abusive relationships (vampiric or no), and you could almost take out the vampire element and it would still be just as disturbing. The way Daniel manipulates, controls, and threatens Claire was enraging and deeply disturbing, and on top of that he’s a blood-thirsty (literally) killer. And it’s equally disturbing how Claire kind of goes numb and just goes with it, as sadly happens in many abusive relationships. Although she has friends and family and coworkers who love her and are supportive and want her to get out, she doesn’t. Of course, because of the vampire factor, she CAN’T. The danger is far more potent than an average abusive relationship, but it’s interesting because the way Claire hides this is again like a typical abusive situation – she claims she hurt herself accidentally, she says he was just upset, that she was making it up, etc. etc. Their relationship in this abusive sense was very realistic, I thought, and it’s what kept me reading and hoping for a good outcome.
The biggest problem I had with the story was Claire, however. She just doesn’t seem that bright, even though she begins as this driven, educated, ambitious young woman. And how does one forget that the people you’re in danger from can read minds? It was incredibly frustrating the way she swung between being furious and defiant to then being submissive and wondering if it was all okay after all. She’s angry and sick at the idea of murder, but then soon after that she’s okay because Daniel buys her pretty things. She’s kind of a mess as a character. While I really wanted her to be okay, I also was annoyed with her. This is only the first part in the story, however, so hopefully she will grow into a fully likeable character down the road.
The editing in the first few pages made me wince, but it did get better and I didn’t notice it as much once I got into the parts of the story that pull you along. Then towards the end I caught several more, but again the goofs weren’t so distracting that they made me stop reading.
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