She's a mortal with dark powers...
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Once Burned was my most-anticipated release of 2012, second only to Iced: A Dani O'Malley Novel. And while it was, thankfully, not a disappointment, it wasn't as great as I'd hoped it'd be either.
I feel like this isn't the Vlad we've come to know and love from Night Huntress. This Vlad was almost a stranger to me, and if he's treated as a new character, his personality wasn't too bad. But if you keep in mind every witty comment he has imparted in the past along with his friendship with Cat and his sexy sense of humor, this Vlad seems almost like an imposter.
Nonetheless, I keep reminding myself that Once Burned is from Leila's POV and while we've seen the many facets of Vlad's personality before, she hasn't, and the book is naturally going to reflect that.
I have lukewarm feelings for Leila. I like that she didn't give in to Vlad all the time, but I was also a little miffed at first by how quickly Leila started admitting that she was falling for him. After dwelling on it a bit more though, I realized that if I'd been unable to touch anyone because of my powers for years, then suddenly I could do anything I wanted with one of the hottest men on the planet, then he took my virginity on top of all that, was occasionally sweet and gentle with me as well, I would begin to fall for him too.
Unlike the Night Huntress World books and more like the Night Huntress ones, Once Burned isn't all about romance. There's a perfect blend of action and intrigue thrown in the mix too. I think that, more than anything else, is what drastically increased my enjoyment of the book. I found the parts dealing with Leila's powers and her past thoroughly engrossing; the mystery about whoever was trying to kidnap Leila was also an interesting addition.
My feelings while reading this book ranged from joy to eagerness to boredom to anticipation to surprise. Most of all though, I was simply happy. Happy that this wasn't a complete let-down, that I found this book absorbing enough to finish in two days, that vampires still hold that sexy appeal they used to but seem to have lost recently with other paranormal creatures taking the limelight.
All in all, this was a good-enough beginning to what is hopefully going to become an epic series. It wasn't as dynamic as Halfway to the Grave, but it's still a far cry from being a total disappointment.
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