REVIEW: Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian, copyright March 2008, published by Dell. Midnight Rising is the fourth book in Ms. Adrian’s Midnight Breed vampire series set in Boston, New York. Midnight Rising is available in paperback and ebook at your favorite retailer.
The vampire nation has been living secretly among humankind since the middle ages. It is a fractured society that has been at war for several centuries. The Breed are a set of hybrid warriors who fight to protect the vampire nation by eliminating Rogue vampires, who represent the bloodlust madness and instability of their kind. It is a minority view but one that is believed by the Order in that a peaceful existence between humans is necessary for the survival of their culture. Breed warriors of the Order are led by Lucan ,who is one of the longest living vampires around. It is a brotherhood of warriors sworn to protect their way of life by any means necessary.
Breeds and their kind live apart from human society; they live in the Darkhaven community. The Enforcement agency that polices the vampire community, do not care for the Order or their methods in meting out Breed law or justice. There is the social structure and customs of this otherworldly community that plays a significant role in this series such as the blood bond. Blood bonds are unbreakable and are sacred between mated couples. There is the generational hierarchy within the vampire culture that is also significant where power and politics come into play. Each Breed warrior is borne with a special gift (or curse) and have dermaglyphs that mark their skin and acts as a barometer for mood and emotion. Weaknesses are few but deadly: sunlight is to be avoided and decapitation is one sure way to kill their kind.
Women who are Breedmates are born with a distinguishable birthmark along with a special otherworldly gift that makes them “different” as well. Once recognized as a Breedmate, the women are given the choice to live among the Breed or return to civilian life with no memory of this otherworldly community. Breedmates are rare and are treated as such. The benefits of being a Breedmate are many but importantly, they are given a bit of immortality from Breed blood and can have Breed children.
The events of the last book concluded with the leader of the Rogues removed and the Order discovering that the Ancient line is not dead. A journal intercepted by the Order several months ago revealed the location of a cave that held a hibernation chamber for the Ancient, hidden in the Czech mountains. The Ancient was apart of the off-planet alien race that raped humankind with their bloodlust and created the first generation of Breeds. The war between them ended with the Ancient line dead or so they thought. The Order, after learning about this hibernation chamber, got there too late, as the tomb is now empty and the Ancient now gone, by persons unknown. In order to hide evidence of this, Rio volunteered to stay behind and seal the cave. That was five months ago. The story picks up with a reporter finding the cave and threatening exposure of the Breed community to the world at large.
Wallowing in self-pity and suffering from black-outs for the last five months, Rio’s plan to destroy the cave and it’s contents gets complicated when Dylan Alexander discovers the cave with him inside it. Rio’s been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or something like it for the past year. Certain events, sounds, or situations triggers his memories and disables him. A year ago, his now dead Breedmate, Eva, betrayed him and the Order. A warehouse explosion resulted in Rio getting a serious head injury that scarred half his face. Rio’s been contemplating suicide but found that he couldn’t do it. He’s been starving himself and going half-mad; he refuses to feed for fear of killing his human hosts.
Dylan Alexander is on a European hiking trip with her mother’s friends when she discovers the cave. Her mother could not make the trip because she is dying of cancer. Her mother’s friends ask Dylan to join them in her place and she does. Dylan’s decision to go on this unplanned trip costs her. She needs a story to impress her boss if she’s to keep her job, thus making part of this trip research. After discovering the cave, Dylan doesn’t realize that she has become a complication and a target for containment. All she sees is a breakthrough, headline story to jump start her career.
Rio takes on the assignment of finding Dylan since it was his screw up. He berates himself and questions his skill as a warrior for letting this complication arise. He tracks down and abducts Dylan and discovers she’s a Breedmate. The two of them go to Berlin and then back to Boston where they develop much of their relationship. In the end, it all comes down to Dylan deciding if she wants to be apart of the Breed community or remain a civilian. The only anchor to the human world she has is her mother.
The other thread where the Ancient has been reawakened and the problems that will cause to the vampire society as well as to humankind? That continues to be an ongoing thread. As for the villain in this part of the story, he remained mostly hidden throughout much of the story. There are a couple of scenes where we get his POV and learn what trouble he plans to reap on the Order. Eventually, the villain jumps from behind a false mask at the end of the story to surprise the reader (only it didn’t work for me since I guessed who he was). There were just too many red flags pointing him out.
The one thing that stands out so far for me in this series is the consistently strong, independent minded heroines and the world building. Dylan and Rio are a well matched pair just like Elise and Tegan. Dylan is a likable character who can take care of herself. I didn’t much care for the romance. Apart from the main story arc, it is the weakest part of the plot.
What made this mated relationship problematic for me was that Rio was pretty damaged and his hatred of Eva was still raw. I just find it hard to believe that he could let go of his bitterness toward one woman who betrayed him, turn right around, and fall in love with another woman in a matter of days. You can’t create a hero this broken emotionally and physically and expect the reader to believe that he would fall in love this quickly. I just didn’t buy their HEA. But to be fair, most romances these days are quickies but the romance in here just didn’t work for me.
Overall, I think I liked Midnight Awakening more for the action and the tighter plotting. Midnight Rising’s plot was pretty thin. Just like the third book, Midnight Rising had a great beginning, yawn inducing middle and a great ending with a hot yet weak romance. There is nothing unique about this world. I found a lot of the plot predictable with a storyline that offers very little in the way of surprises. I liked Rio and Dylan and the other hybrid warriors but must they always be armed to the teeth? It’s nice that they have safe houses all over the country that they can run to for emergencies and that they employ a computer genius with connections all over the world; but it does get to be a bit too over the top and prompts much eye-rolling from this reader. Fun read with some weak spots. My grade, B-.
[tags]Lara Adrian, Midnight Breed series, Vampires[/tags]