Series: The Belladonna Agency #1
Author: Virna DePaul
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Bantam Dell
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Format: eARC via Netgalley
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD
Perfect for fans of J. R. Ward, Nalini Singh, and Lara Adrian, bestselling author Virna DePaul’s new series of paranormal romances introduces readers to a thrilling world where vampires secretly co-exist with humans, seduction rules the night, and the stakes are nothing less than life and undeath.
Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand.
Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden.
But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules.
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?
The story in a nutshell…
Ty Duncan is part of Belladonna, the agency tasked to take care of vampire issues or, in this case, catastrophic problems. They believe a private organization publicly known as a shelter and help group for immigrants is working with rogues, vampires who formerly worked for the FBI but who had turned against the agency. They need someone who can help them infiltrate or at least get close to the organization. And Belladonna found that someone in Ana Martin. Her ties to the said organization, it might be run by a close childhood friend, one who may or may not have information about Ana’s younger sister.
What worked for me?
This book really had wonderful parts, little gems sprinkled in places, like when a character perfectly describes the situation with all its nitty-gritty details in terms of tone and emotion. I love the somewhat layered conflicts that Ty had to overcome throughout the book: over how he sees himself, how he sees his life, and how he feels for Ana. Ana is a strong female character. She thinks for herself and does not let people run over her.
The premise of the book is what first drew me to this book, well aside from the fact that it was touted as perfect for fans of Nalini Singh. I love the idea of a specialized unit created to deal with whatever is happening to turned vampires. And in this regard, the author did a good job in keeping that overarching mystery intact but still able to deliver bits and pieces of answers in order to tie up this book in the end. And I want to know more about the world of Belladonna.
What didn’t work for me?
Sadly, this book is nowhere near the level of Nalini Singh’s stories. The world-building was just okay. It made me want to know more about this world the characters are living in, one part because it is a really intriguing set-up and on the other part because there weren’t enough details presented in the book.
I like Ty and Ana enough but not as much as I had been expecting to. Like I said earlier, there were those great character moments but I felt like there was still something lacking. I understand and accept how the two of them would be drawn toward each other but I didn’t feel that tug on my heart that tells me they are meant to stay together because the alternative would be unimaginable. I would have wanted to felt that way reading about their story.
I love how the author knows how to end a chapter. She hits you with the best shots but still follows through with the next chapter. I had no complaints about the pacing. I had only reservations in some parts because I had a hard time picturing how one event would have or would not have impacted on other events. Actions have consequences and there were just some actions by some of the characters that did not ring true to me in terms of following the trajectory I thought it would have. So I guess I had minor qualms about that.
My over-all take on it?
Ty’s and Ana’s story is still worth following and despite some of the minor shortfalls that I find with the book, it was still an enjoyable read. There was this one hint of a future storyline between one of the FBI agents, I think, and get this, the Vampire Queen. Their single scene together was a definite highlight for me. They’re not the ones featured in the next book but I hope they get their own story, I hope in the third book.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
About the Author:
Virna DePaul is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of steamy, suspenseful fiction. Whether it’s vampires, a Para-Ops team, hot cops or swoon-worthy identical twin brothers, her stories center around complex individuals willing to overcome incredible odds for love. Bedding The Wrong Brother is a #1 Bestselling Contemporary Romance, and is followed by Bedding The Bad Boy. Her PNR series with Random House launches on April 1, 2014 with Turned. She loves to hear from readers.
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