When you think of vampires, what is the first thing that you think? Possibly, you think of the TV show Angel, who is a tortured undead creature that struggles nightly with his evil thirst for blood. This is a theme that being a vampire is something bad and they feel depraved drinking blood is common in this genre.
One reason that I like the Midnight Breed series is that the vampires are born vampires, so no burden of human shame that a “turned” vampire might have. In the Midnight Breed Series, feeding is a natural concept and the shame comes from other aspects, like bloodlust.
What makes a vampire series good?
So, considering the possible variety of vampire lore, what do I really consider the best type of vampire?
The paranormal genre has a certain danger, much like any such super-hero genre, in making the uber-hero too powerful. For example, the reader needs to feel some pressure (not just sexy time tension) in the plotline or otherwise we get bored. If our hero has so many superpowers and no weaknesses then his super-human feats just leave us rolling our eyes.
In addition to having a weakness, a good vampire then is likely tortured by his immortality, the newness of long-life having fallen away centuries ago. One key then to a successful vampire series is incorporating this ennui into the male lead, but not so much that the vampire becomes a whiney-ass punk.
Finally, a good vampire series contains something about the creature that is external evidence of being non-human and is a reaction to our sassy female lead. Sometimes it might be their eyes dilating in an alien fashion, growling, fangs emerging, or like in this series the changing of color in their dermaglyphs.
What I dislike in vampire series is if an author portrays the vampire as this soulless, undead vampire (AKA Buffy’s Angel or Salem’s Lot). While we know the fathers of vampires are Polidori and Stoker, their creatures are not my favorite archetype of vampires. I loved the lore that Ms. Adrian uses in her world.
The back-story that we learn from the first book, Kiss of Midnight, is that the Breeds are the children of the Aliens who landed on Earth centuries ago. They came to Earth to pillage earth (plot develops throughout the Midnight Breed series and I do not want to spoil). They raped and plundered their way through villages, amoral creatures that do not care about inferior humans that they slaughtered. The stories of these vampires are to me what these Blade type vampires are like: unredeemable monsters that are more like animals than sentient beings. From Kiss of Midnight:
…was one of the Ancients, one of eight alien warriors who came from a distant, dark planet only to crash-land thousands of years ago on unforgiving, inhospitable Earth.
Once these Ancients violated the human females, they found some were genetically compatible and these breedmates thus produce a new first generation of male vampires called Breeds. These vampires became known as First Generations and were more powerful and closer than any other to the initial Ancients. Once these First Gens became adults, they battled against the Ancients and crushed them.
The basic world
The series is set in current time and we follow warriors of The Order, the few military grade Breed warriors who fight against Rogue vampires and keep both humans and civilian vampires safe. Rogues are those vampires (note that vampires are only males and breedmates are only female) that fall into bloodlust. Bloodlust in essences drives a vampire closer to the behaviors of the Ancients, leaving them violently feral. From Kiss of Midnight:
Bloodlust was as destructive for the Breed. The tipping point between the necessary assuaging of hunger and reckless overdose of blood was easily breached.
This internal struggle is what makes this vampire series unique and compelling. How these vampires balance their needs and wants regarding blood, rather than dismissing feeding as dangerous. One of the other distinctive aspects of the Breeds in this series are their dermaglyphs. Dermaglyphs are like tattoos, but based on genetics rather than ink. These glyphs are emotional barometers and are more elaborate the older (closer to First Gen) the vampire is. The glowing eyes and the glyphs are some of the sexiest things of these vampires. The uncontrollable physical reactions these males have for their mates is super sexy romantic.
Finally, what makes this series so long lasting is the variety of the Alpha males. We have the First Gen vampires who have that immortality ennui, and we have the younger vampires who struggle to adapt to their talents. It is not the same Alpha male book after book (AKA like Feehan’s Dark Series).
We have in this Midnight Breed series both external conflicts (Rogues/evil Vampires) as well as internal conflicts (Bloodlust) that drive the plot throughout the series. If you seek a series that has individual books (a single plotline for a set of hero/heroine) as well as an over-arching series plot, then this series is for you. I would consider this my second favorite vampire series (gotta keep J.R. Ward as my favorite). But Ms. Adrian is a very strong storywriter and this is a definite must-read series.
The Books: These should be read in order
- [Book 1] Kiss of Midnight (2007) Main Characters: Lucan Thorne and Gabrielle Maxwell
- [Book 2] Kiss of Crimson (2007) Main Characters: Dante and Tess Culver
- [Book 3] Midnight Awakening (2007) Main Characters: Tegan and Elise Chase
- [Book 4] Midnight Rising (2008) Main Characters: Rio Dylan Alexander
- [Book 5] Veil of Midnight (2009) Main Characters: Nikolai and Renata
- [Book 6] Ashes of Midnight (2009) Main Characters: Andreas and Claire
- [Book 7] Shades of Midnight (2010) Main Characters: Kade and Alex
- [Book 8] Taken by Midnight (2010) Main Characters: Brock and Jenna
- [Book 9] Deeper than Midnight (2011) Main Characters: Hunter and Corinne
- [Book 9.5] A Taste of Midnight (2011) Main Characters: Connor and Danika
- [Book 10] Darker After Midnight (2012) Main Characters: Chase and Tavia