The Blakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.
I was really excited about starting this series and I wasn’t disappointed. My Love Lies Bleeding (titled 'Hearts at Stake' in the US) may not be a literary classic but then I wasn’t expecting it to be. It’s a fun, well written vampire book with good characters and believable (so far) vamp lore.
The story is told from alternating points of view of Solange, only daughter of a large vampire family, and her best friend Lucy, daughter of human but sightly odd parents. At the start of the book Solange (who’s name bugged me slightly because I couldn’t pronounce it right in my head lol) is technically human as in this world, born-vampires don’t turn until their sixteenth birthday. For Solange, this is in a few days time so she’s starting to change, becoming more sensitive to the sun and so on (yes, in this series vamps can’t go out in the sun! ... except some of the really old ones who can survive but not really function). Lucy knows all about Solange and her family and ends up staying with them while her own parents are away from home. Lucy finds herself falling for Nicholas, one of Solange’s brothers, who she’d previously thought to be annoying - although it’s clear that it’s a ‘pulling the hair of the girl you like’ kind of situation between them which is cute. Out of the two girls, Lucy’s the one that I liked the most. She’s the fiesty, jump in without thinking kind of girl and in many ways the true heroine of the book. A quote from right at the start of the second book of the series actually sums Lucy up perfectly:
“If there was trouble, she always jumped right in feet first. If she hadn’t started it in the first place, of course.” - Logan DrakeSolange is actually a little bit blah in comparison, but I guess two kick-ass girls would be too much in a book and the contrast between them is what makes it work. And to be fair, she is about to turn into a vampire despite being a bit ‘urgh’ about blood. She’s physically weakening and she’s having to deal with the whole ‘treat to the vampire queen’ thing that comes with being the only known born female vampire.
The second ‘love interest’ in this book is Kieran, a Helios-Ra new recruit and therefore should-be-enemy of the Drake family. Helios-Ra members are essentially vampire hunters so a romance between Solange and Kieran isn’t exactly conventional. I’m looking forward to reading more about this in future books.
There’s lots of action and witty dialogue throughout the book which kept the pages turning quickly. I was a little confused at the start of the book as to who all the characters were; who was a vampire, who wasn’t and so on. In a way though I liked this because it meant there was no long boring explanation to get through. Things were explained as the story went. Solange’s brothers still remained a mystery though, being seven of them. Apart from Nicholas, we don’t get to know the rest of them all that much so sometimes it got a bit confusing. However, I’m sure as the series continues this will get less so.
Recommended for fans of vampire books with a bit of romance and plenty of action. More Buffy than Twilight.