Raphael (Vampires in America #1) – A new PNR series I can really get into!
I am first and foremost an Urban Fantasy fan, so while I read PNR series on occasion they don’t really grip me. Heck, I’m only through book 2 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series myself after starting that series months ago, though I do plan to read them all eventually. That said, D.B. Reynolds has done a great job at keeping me engaged all throughout. I have read these books back to back, so I will write a review per day for each one. Not since the Fever series have I been motivated to read this many books all together. Though, I read that whole series in 6 days so it’s still distinguished for me. But I digress…
Raphael is the the first book in the Vampire Empire series, taking us to present day Malibu, California. The title character, Raphael, is the Vampire Lord of his territory with legions of loyal vampire and human underlings, but the strength of this loyalty is tested after a female vampire who’s dear to him is abducted. Since this happens during the day (while vampires sleeps), humans are the likely culprits, so he needs to recruit a human to solve this mystery.
Cue Cynthia Leighton, a successful P.I. and former cop who takes the job on to give herself a good challenge. But she may have bitten off more than she can chew (pun intended?) as she agrees to work for Raphael, who is proving himself to be irresistible for all of the wrong reasons. Begrudgingly she has to work with him to find his special vampire, and that’s where things get dangerous…and complicated.
The story deserves a better cover than this. It’s not the worst cover, but the quality doesn’t really correlate with the writing, which is on a greater level. I loved that this book drew me in pretty easily. It’s not too heavy on the magic and world building which may have helped, but the mystery aspect was still pretty interesting as well as the author’s personal take on vampire lore. I liked that the heroine was smart, even though Raphael becomes a growing weakness for her over time. I thought the characters were introduced nicely and I could see signs of personalities that will only develop as the series continues.
Thankfully, a number of books are already out because this one ends on a slight cliffhanger. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting from other reviews, but you definitely become motivated to want to pick up the next book. Raphael and Cyn have great chemistry and it’s only strengthened through the author allowing it to build within the plot. It keeps things a little more organic than what you find in the everyday run-of-the-mill PNR title. That said, I still have a problem with centuries old vampires falling for human women who aren’t that extraordinary. I have a hard time believing that Raphael never came across a independent, smart, and capable woman like Cyn before. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to continue reading the novels.
I think this series is a really good blend of everything, making it a great middle-ground for PNR/UF fans.