Fiend by Jemiah Jefferson

(Voice of Blood, #3)

In nineteenth-century Italy, young Orfeo Ricari teeters on the brink of adulthood. His new tutor instructs him in literature and poetry during the day and guides him in the world of sensual pleasure at night. But a journey to Paris will teach young Orfeo much more. For in Paris he will become a vampire. Told in his own words, this is the story of the life, death, rebirth and education of a vampire. No one else could properly describe the shadowy existence, the endless hunger, the heightened senses or the amazing power of the undead. No one else could recount the passing of the years and the slow realization of what it means to grasp immortality, to live on innocent blood, to be a Fiend...

The back of the book lists a review snippet. For the sake of my review, I'd like to quote it here:

Comparisons to Anne Rice are inevitable, but Jefferson's writing is simultaneously tougher and more elegant. - Willamette Week

Well, folks, that about sums it up a lot of right there. Jefferson creates a world that's all too familiar. Finding similarities with Rice work? You aren't kidding! Even the writing style is a bit reminiscent of Lestat Land; everything from the birth of a vampire, to the angst of one, to the streets of Paris and changes of modern age.

However, I don't dismiss a book simply because its been done before. After all, sometimes when its done again by someone else, its done better! Is that the case here? Not even touching that one. Haven't read enough of Rice to compare, and wouldn't be fair to. Lets just say that if you enjoy those types of vampires, you probably wouldn't be disappointed looking here.

Like many life stories, this one goes through the motions of telling a back life. Some of it is interesting and some of it had me wanting to speed through it. That's one of the risks of these types. As a result of this tale the pace lagged a bit at times, making up for it at other moments. I enjoyed some of the moments but not much action took place. Here and there something occurred but nothing HUGE. For future reference, I like, want, love HUGE action somewhere in there. A big surprise maybe?? Perhaps a gigantic tragedy? The nearest this came was the death of a main character it was strongly dramatic more of that would have earned this book a higher rating, I think.

The characters were interesting and not poorly written, but some lacked substance. I'm used to more conscientious, morally righteous characters than Orfeo. Strangely enough, one minute he preached on treating others well and not killing, while on the other hand he didn't blink an eye to doing the deed, hearing of someone else doing it (or planning to), or react to tragedy. It seems like the act of killing someone who loved and trusted him was dismissed in his mind because he was doing it to gain someone he wanted? Odd logic there.

How the character of Daniel would turn out was predictable. Frankly his character was downright nasty and not enjoyable I would have enjoyed seeing him get the wrong end of the stick. I certainly couldn't see the main characters attraction to him, that's for sure. And of course there was also the strange subplot with his sister at the beginning?

This isn't the case with all the characters, thankfully. I actually loved Gabriel and Chicot. If they had been around more and stayed, this book may have left me in more pleasant spirits. But even with them there are flaws to be found. Their personalities clicked with me, but they were oh-so-familiar! As a clear summary, the beginning started off a little slow with a strange tutor relationship, the middle picked up and kept me more enthused, the ending was starting to irritate me with one of the characters, and the very last pages were too abrupt. Why the sudden change? Seemed like there should have been more of a lead up there. As a final slap in the face, the last paragraph left me a bit confused on who the author was referring to.

A saving grace is Jefferson's writing style. Her words flow beautifully across the pages; she has the knack of the written word and picks the right ones to express the right emotions. When things are supposed to be delightful, they are. Dark? They are. Gross? They are. Depressing? They are. The atmosphere in one scene with Maria being at her most depressed stages was haunting and carried forth through the rest of the story.

Overall, this book is readable. I didn't want to set it down once I got into it, but it took me a few tries to stay tuned. The writing style is complimentary to this type of tale, but this stories already been told before. The ending held a minor let down, let justice hadn't been done, but there were some saving scenes that held the books head above water. Its filled with sex but many of the scenes could have been made more erotic.

My advice? Read it if you're in the mood for some new vampire blood, but don't put too much stake in it capturing your heart.

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