Tomorrow on my site will be a special visit by author Sara Reinke who will be here doing an interview and giveaway for her new novella Dark Passages (Book #4 in the Brethren series). In anticipation of that I was given the opportunity to read the first book in the series Dark Thirst. Below are my thoughts.....
As the grandson of a rich and powerful horse breeder/whiskey producer Brandon Noble's life should have been ideal, but a childhood attack that left him deaf and mute turned him into a family embarrassment. To a family like his, vampires who choose to feed off humans and treat them like cattle, weakness is abhorrent and not a moment goes by where they don't mentally and physically show him their disdain. Brandon finally has enough and finds shelter with his former tutor and his cop sister who are both human. Brandon's loved Angelina Jones since he was a teenager and he's now hoping she'll see him as a man since he can't control his feelings for her any longer. But with his vicious family searching for him no one is safe, especially Lina. Will the strength of their love be enough to keep him safe from his family or will the happiness he's finally found be ripped away?
As a disabled person I'm always on the lookout for books with disabled characters, so when I was given the opportunity to read this I definitely wanted to do so. This is a very emotional book where Brandon's disability is accurately portrayed and seamlessly incorporated into the storyline. He reads lips and carries a notepad with him at all times to convey his words. He's also able to speak with his mind to those who allow it. Brandon's an amazingly strong young man who's been mentally and physically tortured by those in his family who are frightened by the abilities they see blossoming in him as he gets older. He's never been allowed off the farm and his desire to go to college is met with even more brutality. I'm amazed and surprised that he had the courage to leave and I couldn't stop cheering when he left the life he knew behind.
The Noble clan can be seen as a cult because of the arranged marriages with young girls who have little education and their separatism from the outside world. The women are relegated to the household with the men making all the decisions. The have bloodletting ceremonies for entertainment and as a rite of passage and use the workers on their farm as prey. It's an intriguing world the author has created and adds an extra dimension to the characters by their responses to this lifestyle. Many relish it with some questioning the rules. Seeing what happens to the people in this oppressive community as the series progresses has me wanting to run out for the next book immediately.
Lina is a strong-willed woman who's very capable of protecting herself. She and Brandon connect immediately and their communication flows naturally. At times you forget Brandon's deaf and mute since it's not dwelled on. Lina is the older woman and the issue of their age difference is touched on, but in a very subtle and realistic way. Any obstacles to their relationship are mostly from the outside. Their bond, though quickly formed, is very strong. Their romantic interludes are sexy and highly romantic due to their communication being visual.
The action in this story gets more intense as the story progresses. Brandon's family are vicious hunters and much blood is spilled during their search for him. The fight scenes are action-packed and emotional since it's family fighting family. Seeing Brandon deal with his family in this situation made me hurt for him even more.
There's some very intriguing secondary characters that I can't wait to see more of. They were intrical to the storyline and their backgrounds are a mystery that I'd love to solve. One of those characters I'm dying to see more of is Rene Morin, Lina's former police partner who lost a leg in the line of duty and who just so happens to be a member of the Brethren. His disability and its aftermath are realistically portrayed and learning about his family tree and its separation from the farm's community is a story I'm dying to read. Luckily, Rene's story is the follow-up to this and is next on my reading list. The fact that this book does end with a bit of a cliffhanger adds to my excitement for the next release.
This is a wonderfully written story where the hero and heroine let nothing stand in the way of their love. The action and romance are perfectly balanced and the strength of Brandon and Lina's relationship is very believable. Disabilities are accurately portrayed and easily incorporated in to the storyline and are not seen as a weakness by the reader. I very much appreciate Ms. Reinke's handling of this issue and how her heroes are still heroic even with their disabilities. I highly recommend this not only to those who are fans of the vampire genre, but to those who like seeing characters not normally seen in the world of romance.
My rating for this is an A.
*I was given this book by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.