Once Burned (Night Prince #1)

Once Burned (Night Prince, #1)

She's a mortal with dark powers...
     After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...
He's the Prince of Night...
     Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

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.

3.75/5 stars

My Vlad:

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  1. For once I'm in complete agreement with your review. It's almost like I wrote it.
    The only part that jars my soul-sister symphony here is my liking for Leila versus your lukewarm feelings. I think I liked Leila/Frankie so much partly because her voice explored different aspects of her personality and was very different from Cat's.
    Though I like Cat a lot now (after rereading the series recently), she generally ended up annoying me with her insecurities and 'jump into the fire without a thought to consequences' approach to everything.
    Actually I hated that about Denise too (I just finished First drop of crimson). Through most of the book, she kept thinking, "oh but he's leaving me behind! That's unfair! Just because I'm human, he thinks I can't help!" Well she couldn't and it was supremely dumb of her to sulk because Spade wouldn't take her into situations where not only would she be in danger, but endanger the rest of them while they scrambled to protect the human in their midst. Yeeesh.
    SO. I liked Leila. Fresh voice for Frost. I do wish she'd stuck with Frankie for a name though, Leila doesn't seem to suit her.

  2. Though Leila does pull a similarly dumb stunt towards the end, when Vlad faces off with...the evil guy whose name I can't recall.
    She's still human and capable of dying. Why would she stand there while two immortals face off? Does she not realize that she's NO HELP and only a LIABILITY? No, of course she doesn't.
    But I suppose that's a general characteristic of all PNR heroines.
    Anyway, except for that one incident Leila shows remarkable presence of mind most of the time and I like her for that.
    And that's it. I'm done. Going away now...

  3. LOL! I'm glad we agree on something. I disliked Cat a lot at the beginning too, and have only recently come to like her. I thought Liela was a lot like Cat, actually, with how fast she fell for Vlad and all. And another thing we differ in is that I'm glad Forst changed her name. Frankenstein was really not the best nickname for a heroine.

    And I completely agree with you, it's so annoying when heroines try to act like the hero and go off on a tangent, trying to prove everyone wrong but endangering themselves and others instead.

    Aw, don't go away. Thanks for commenting, and I'm glad we're mostly on the same page here. ;)


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