I do not remember how I found this series, I believe it was through Amazon and their “if you like this series, you’ll like this one” link. I have to say that is one of my favorite aspects of Amazon. I have read extensively the paranormal romance world, including a large subsection of vampire series. I was surprised that I never heard of D.B. Reynolds before a couple of months ago. But now that I have found it, it is on my automatic read list. This series is a definite read!
The basic world
The vampire world varies depending on vampire lore; it can range from a virus, loss of a soul (thus “Undead”), separate species, and alien genetics. D.B. Reynolds’ world uses the traditional format, a Master vampire drains the individual of blood and then they are turned.
This book’s lore reminds me of the vampire movie, Daybreakers (2009), which uses supply and demand logic to the dangers of vampirism. If vampires can only feed off of humans at some point the food runs out. Of course, Ms. Reynolds does not go directly into that extreme ending, but there is a population control in Vampires in America. In this lore, the vampire can only feed from humans, so there are no Vampire/Vampire HEA endings (as of book 4).
A vampire lord is rare, their power fed by their underlings, thus a Master who has weak underlings is weaker than a stronger one. The balance between that is, if you have powerful underlings, then there is risk of coup d’état. The key then is how you control your underlings and what type of individual you convert. In America (not just the United States), there are limited Masters that control their territories. There is no unauthorized creation of vampires (generally speaking) it is up to the Master to create more, thus population control. I can only assume that D.B. Reynolds will cover all of the territories by the time the series ends.
What is unique about this series is that the human world is aware of vampires. There is no concern about discovery, but rather the reader is drawn into the conflict of “racism” between the two. Vampires generally think they are better than humans and humans find vampires repulsive. The differences between the hero and heroine that are overcome are something that Ms. Reynolds does well.
One of my favorite aspects of this series is the information about vampire society culture. So often an author will cite “vampire” and not explain the world, which makes it one-dimensional. However, D.B. Reynolds takes the time to explain environment so that the depiction was so much more vibrant.
Another aspect that I enjoy about this series, which demonstrates forethought by the author, is how one book references a topic that is the major plot device of another. For example, we see that Raphael in book 1 is a “good” vampire Master, so book 2 illustrates what happens when you have a “bad” vampire Master. I love the skill in which Ms. Reynolds foreshadows in this series, which to me is a sign of good writing.
D.B. Reynolds just came out with book 5, Duncan (November 2011), so the series plot line continues to unfold. I do have one difference between this series and others that I have read: book 1 and 2 are basically one story between Raphael and Cyn. There is a definite ending in book 1, but you will want to immediately open the second book. I was not prepared for that and at 2am when I finished the first book was not the time to read, “to be continued”. So, I would advise having book 2 ready to go as you finish the first. I recommend this series greatly, it is one of my favorite vampire series.
The Books: Should be read in order
- Raphael (2009) Main Characters: Raphael and Cynthia Leighton (Cyn)
- Jabril (2009) Main Characters: Raphael and Cynthia Leighton (Cyn)
- Rajmund (2010) Main Characters: Rajmund Gregor and Sarah Stratton
- Sophia (2011) Main Characters: Colin Murphy and Sophia
- Duncan (2011) Main Characters: Duncan and Emma Duquet