"Ravenous," Sharon Ashwood

Pros: Great plot & characters; interesting world; unusual developments
Cons: None
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review copy courtesy of Penguin Group.

 

Just a few years ago, supernaturals came out of the closet. A Queen of the vampires is working as hard as she can to establish some sort of peace and legal protection for her kind. A series of murders threatens that fragile peace—murders that appear to have been carried out by a very old vampire.

Meanwhile, Holly, a witch who struggles to put together tuition money by banishing ghosts and “fixing” haunted houses, goes up against a house that’s more than it seems, one that nearly kills her and that seems to have demonic help. Her vampiric business partner, Alessandro, is watching out for her, but unfortunately he’s also falling in love with her. For vampires, desire and hunger are inextricably linked, and the more he wants her the more dangerous he becomes to her.

Just to complicate matters, the haunted house nearly killed Ben, Holly’s boyfriend, who’s no longer sure he wants to be around magic at all—including Holly’s kind of magic. Add in a handsome detective caught in the middle of a demon’s plots, a werewolf community, hungry ghouls, and a vengeful pretty-boy vampire, and there’s plenty of trouble coming Holly’s way!

 

The thing I liked best about Sharon Ashwood’s Ravenous was the characters. All of them had a little something unexpected to bring to the mix. The queen was ancient, deadly, and possessive, but she had other, more interesting motivations as well. The growing feelings between Alessandro and Holly were truly dangerous to her well-being because of vampire physiology—it wasn’t simply a “forbidden love.” The detective could have been an incredibly one-dimensional or simplistic character, but throughout the story, even as he fulfilled specific story roles, he held his own as a full character. The one werewolf in the story is definitely not what you’d expect, particularly in this day and age when they’re primarily used as an excuse to abuse the alpha male concept in some erotic romance novels. Holly’s grandmother, something of a retired witch herself, is a fantastic addition to the mix.

The only character I might have liked to see developed a little more would have been the demon, but at least there were some nifty hints at more about her as well.

The world is interesting (I look forward to seeing more of it!), the romance gorgeous, the sex sizzling. There’s plenty of action as well as bedroom scenes, and the main character is strong, believable and sexy.

In fact, I have only two, very minor complaints. One is that the whole idea of vampires being organized into “clans” feels really, really overused. The other is that there was one line in the book that left me with the unfortunate urge to giggle and say, “Pikachu, I Choose You!” (an unfortunate choice of wording on the author’s part). But those are tiny blemishes on an otherwise delightful read!

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