Wednesday, April 9

Review: Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

aka Amy’s and Kristie’s Surprise Review – muahahaha!


He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle's deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night--or this man--is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed--a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind--and the unwitting humans existing alongside them--from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.

Here, in the arms of the Breed's formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all...
Here's the dealio - I've been feeling bad about not pulling my share around here lately (work has been kicking my ass since I got back from my trip) and I decided to do a super sneaky review (i.e. I didn't tell Nath - LOL) with Kristie, blogger and Crusader extraordinaire. Woot! So we chose Lara Adrian's Kiss of Midnight as we both had it in our TBR Pile. As we were reading, Kristie and I noticed here it is - our review!

Spoilers ahead matey, ye've been warned!

Ames: I see so many similarities between JR Ward and Lara Adrian but I think Lara Adrian comes out on top. Her vampires aren't gangsta wannabes. *g*

Kristie: I see a lot of similarities to JR Ward too. But I also think Lara Adrian comes out on top too. We don't have that silly gangsta thing going, the names are much better and I think the world building is better done. The relationship between the vampires doesn't have the same kind of hokey dialogue as JR Wards books. As well, I don't think the heroine is as wimpy as JR Wards. There seems to be a more equal distribution of power between the hero and the heroine for the most part.

I also thought the fact that they were descended from aliens rather interesting.

Ames: I thought the fact that they were descended from aliens was interesting too, except I got the creepiest visual to go with that thought. LOL You ever see that Stargate movie with James Spade? That's the alien image I'm channeling right now. *shudder*

And I agree 100% about the heroine - she was strong. You know what else I liked? The fact that both Lucan and Gabby were afraid of turning out like their parents. Lucan was afraid of turning Rogue and Gabrielle was afraid of going crazy like her mom.

AND the fact that there were some couples already in the picture. Like Gabby wasn't the first woman in the compound like Beth is for Ward's vhampires. hehe

What I didn't like - was how long Lucan fought his feelings for Gabby. It's understandable up to a point - I would have liked to see them together as a bonded couple for a few more pages. :P

Kristie: I agree. It was fairly obvious to me that he was so on the edge because that's what he needed - to find his mate. He never really seemed to clue into that.

Another thing that annoyed me slightly was how long he waited before telling her who she was and the way the Breedmates (and she could have come with a different term there I think - too similar to brood mares for me *g*) fit into their world.

"AND the fact that there were some couples already in the picture. "

I liked that too. It's a good way to explain the bond between vampires and their mates. I hope she doesn't plan on getting rid of any of the 'wives' in this series the way Ward got rid of Wellsie - that's one of the big reasons I haven't read further in the Brotherhood series. There's nothing wrong with keeping some happy couples around.
Yet at the same time we got to see what happened when a wife did go against the Breeds. Hopefully that will be the only incident.

I wasn't sure when I first started reading it though if I'd end up liking this one. The jury was out for a while. I didn't like the way Lucan used his mind control over Gabrielle. And he was pretty cold. Until I got used to that, it was touch and go. But once Gabrielle realized what he was doing and started fighting his control, the book started getting better for me. I ended up liking it quite a bit and I'm glad I already have the next one in the series - Kiss of Crimson. I've seen these compared more favourably and less favourably to the Brotherhood series. I like them better (sorry to all those JR Ward fans)

I'm still squicked out though by the fact that they need to drink blood in order to survive, but the fact that they aren't really dead and can be killed helps somewhat.

Ames: Yeah, Breedmates does sound like broodmare. LOL

Ok, I liked this book right from the get go. Yeah Lucan annoyed me a little, but he was yummy enough that I didn't stay annoyed for long. And his mind control didn't really bother me because I felt like it wasn't overt. Like I said before, Gabby is strong, and that includes mentally (i.e. her mental shields).

I have the next book in the series too. And I know the third book got favourable reviews in blogland. So woot for me for having it in my pile already. :P I might even "allow" myself to get the 4th book. Haha (side note: I had pre-ordered Midnight Rising before the list, so I got it as a surprise in the mail the other day. end side note)

Oooh, what did you think of the twist at the end, who the Master Rogue guy was? I see major angst in the future. LOL

Kristie: Well *gulp* I, ah, kind of looked at the end before I got there so it wasn't a surprise at the end. But it was a surprise when I did read it. I can see much angst happening over the next few books. But having brought up the bad guys - I think Lara Adrian's bad guys are way better written than Wards. I've read that quite a few readers just skip over the Lesser parts, but the Rogues and Minions in this series are pretty well written.
How did you think they compared to the Lessers?

What did you think of Lucan being afraid of being so close to the edge - so close to turning rogue himself. I liked the scene where he locked himself away in the dark and Gabrielle came looking for him and took care of him.

Ames: *gasp* How could you?! LOL Just kidding.

But yes, the Rogues were a whole lot better than the Lessers. I mean, I was one of those readers that skipped the Lesser parts. But I read about the Rogues. And it's interesting, with Marek - what Lucan believed about him, but he came back. And I think that's interesting. Like they could create a Rogue Rehabilitation. haha!

When Lucan savaged the Minion that tried to shoot Gabby - I knew he was 2/3 of the way over the edge into becoming a Rogue. I was like "Ok woah, dude has had waaay too much blood." But Gabby was so brave for sticking with him while he was going through a really terrible hunger pang. I also felt that was kind of dumb of her, following him in the dark. But I guess that just shows her trust in Lucan, she knew no matter how bad he got, he wouldn't hurt her. And I think he needed to see that belief she had in him, because of what happened to his parents. He loved her that much, although he didn't realize it at the time.

And a big bonus, it was nice and steamy. :P You know me. hehe

Kristie: That part was pretty gruesome wasn’t it? I thought she was pretty brave too – and she did see the difference between him and the Rogues.

One other thing I liked was that the women could leave the compound – they chose not to very often – but they seemed to do so if they wanted to.

And to answer your earlier question – no I never did see the movie Stargate – only a few episodes of the series with Richard Dean Anderson. He’s aged well *g*

Ames: So final grade? It would be a good solid B for me. I’m definitely going to keep reading this series. You?

Kristie: As for how I rated it – I grade my books on a 1 to 5 scale. I gave it a 4. I thought it was going to be lower – a lot lower – but once I got past the parts that were giving me issues, it really took off for me. And steamy is always good isn’t it? I like steamy. OK – I don’t watch Grey’s so I don’t care about Dr. McSteamy – but in books I like steamy.
And since like you, I already have Kiss of Crimson TBR – yep *g* I’ll be reading at least one more. And I’ve read a few places that the later ones get even better!


Holly said...

You know, I haven't read these yet, though I hear wonderful things about them. Soon, I promise. :)

Brie said...

Not a fan of this series. I tried the first one, didn't like it. Tried again after all of the raving about Midnight Awakening, and still, no.

Glad you two enjoyed it though!

Ana said...

I have read so many mixed reviews about this series, but your review made me want to read it anyway! I will give it a go.....

Bridget Locke said...

I agree 100% in the fact that this series is much better than the JR Ward books. It's so weird reading them though because the similarities are very striking. I can't remember who wrote what first though. :P

I have to say the 3rd one is the best so far. I've read all 4 and each one is different. There's a few twists & turns that I honestly didn't see coming. Of course, I'm usually not focusing on stuff like that.

And I also appreciate the world building so much more. The thing that always gripes me about the JR Ward books is that she constantly changes things. No real consistency, which sucks. :( Glad y'all liked it! :)

nath said...

hey girls! This was such a nice surprise! Although Ames, I know you've been busy :)

I have the first 2 in my TBR pile I think... LOL, I guess I'll be reading the first one soon :D thing is, I don't like the BDB much... wonder if I'll like this one better :P

sula said...

like brie, I heard raves about this series and how it was supposed to be better than BDB. So I tried it and...nope. Not even close. Actually, it feels like a shallow rip-off of Ward. And yes, Ward got there first, so...shrug. While the writing was fine technically and all of the elements are there (plot, character, angsty men, et al), they don't work for me. As for the 'strong' heroines, they aren't even vampires but relegated to the role of breedmate. um, ick?

lol. That said, different strokes for different folks and it's great to find a book that you like. And you both wrote a very good review. so yay! :)

Katie(babs) said...

You girls gave some interesting comparisons to Ward. I wonder what Lara and JR think. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could ask one of them?
*hint hint*

Didn't the movie Stargate have the guy who played a woman in The Crying Game?

Steamy always works for me :)

Jill D. said...

Nice review ladies! I agree with you about Adrian having better bad guys and stronger world building, but I think the romance could have been stronger. The sex was steamy but there wasn't enough of an emotional pull for me. (I am more emotionally attached to the characters in Ward's series.) I recently read the third book (Tegan's story) and was very disappointed in his development. Adrian could have done a lot more with him than she did. I wanted to really feel his pain and see him change and grow, but it just fell flat for me. I loved Elise though. So go figure, to each his own, right?

MaryKate said...

Great review, Ladies. My major complaint about Ward's series, is the thing that I think Adrian does best -- and that's stick to her mythology. She has a well crafted, clear mythology, and she sticks to it. Like Ward, sure, bad things happen. But there's no all powerful deity to come by, kill some birds, and fix it. I'm just sayin'.

I do read both series, and with this last book, Adrian surpassed Ward as my favorite vampire romance author (except Colleen Gleason, but her books are historical). Book Four was the test for me. Book Four for Ward was where I felt like the train went off the tracks, and I thought Adrian did a good job with her fourth, and she did have relatively high stakes, as the hero of the story has been pretty tortured through the first three books.

I'm happy that other readers enjoy the series too. Although I get why those who really love the Ward series might not enjoy Adrian's. I think they both have their strengths, but IMO, Adrian's has the slight edge.

ames said...

Holly-I can't wait for your opinion. :P

Brie-I admit, all the raving over Midnight Awakening really had me curious. Have you read JR Wards books?

Ana-Good stuff! I'm like that too with mixed reviews about stuff - I'll wait for that one last review to tip the balance either way. The funny thing is, I haven't seen bad reviews for this series.

Bridget-Excellent point about the world building. And Ward's series did hit bookstores first.

Nath-I hope you like this series too. :P But I guess it depends on what you didn't like about the BDB, maybe that's where this series is similar. Know what I mean? LOL

Sula-LOL @ your um, ick? comment. I actually never thought of women not being able to be vampires. I guess because from this first heroine, I can see that although women are breedmates, they are still portrayed as strong, whereas Ward's heroines aren't so much. There's more balance, imo. :P

Katie-Hmm...I think Kristie should ask, as she hobnobs with more authors than I do. :P

I've never seen the Crying Game either-but it's not showing up on James' IMDB page.

Jill-Interesting, very interesting. I admit to being emotionally attached to certain characters of Ward's (JOHN!! LOL) but that's after how many books? So it would be interesting if we could have a discussion once I'm caught up with this series. :P

ames said...

MaryKate-Good stuff! I don't think I've come across a review for Midnight Rising yet, so I'm really glad you liked it.

Holly said...

And yes, Ward got there first, so...shrug.

I haven't read this series yet, but the same could be said for Ward and Kenyon. I know I can't be the only person to notice the similarities between the two and to find Ward lacking.

Also, MaryKate makes an excellent point that also applies to Kenyon. Both she and Ward lost themselves to their world. Instead of sticking to the rules for the world's they created, they just disregarded them. If this series has better world building and better bad guys, I'm all about it.

Sarai said...

Great review it hit on all the points. I like how the women are strong and not wimpy and seeing how I don't like BDB or whatever it's called I can't compare there but I do like this first book a lot! Can't wait to sink into book 2 (which I thought I had read turns out I read book 3 instead) so anywho.

MaryKate said...

ames - Jane just reviewed Midnight Rising a couple of days ago at Dear Author. She had issues with it. I think it worked better for me. But I don't have captivity story issues, -- which I think bothered Jane much more than me.

What can I say? Stockholm Syndrome works for me. :wink:

Brie said...

Ames, Yes I've read Ward. At this point I like her writing better than Adrian's. I have yet to be sucked into one of Adrian's books the way I have been with Ward's.

But maybe there will come a time when I will be... Who knows?

I do agree that Ward's world building is very flimsy and there are no definite rules, but I can't help but be attached to her heroes.

Christine said...

Great review Ames & Kristie! I really enjoy these duo reviews!

I read both Ward's BDB and Adrian's Midnight Breeds, and while the series do have a lot in common (i.e. the small, private band of vampire warriors trying to save their race), I have no problem reading and enjoying both. And I think the further into the series you read, the more different the worlds and stories become. (And just as an FYI, Adrian developed and pitched her series to her agent before DARK LOVER hit the shelves, and with Ward's support and encouragement... I know this because Adrian responded to a reader's comment in her yahoo group. Very professionally and not the least bit defensive, I might add.)

I have to agree with MaryKate and Jill... and maybe others who said so here as well... Adrian is proving to be much more consistent with her world building, her mythology, and her character development. As far as I'm concerned, she hasn't strayed once, and if anything, new conflicts and plot twists and are developing within the overall series arc that make sense with the world and rules she established since book one. That's really important to me when reading a series.

I, too, really admire the females in Adrian's series. They're definitely strong, independent and fully developed characters. They also have skills and gifts that can be used to help breeds, breedmates, and humans, AND I think their gifts will be crucial to helping the Order's mission by the time the series is over.

I've read MIDNIGHT RISING and really liked it. :)

Kristie (J) said...

The romance may have been less in this one then in JR Wards - BUT - I think the world building was better and the balance between hero/heroine more even. I can see some readers preferring Ward and some preferring Adrian. I think it depends what you want out of the book. Ward does pull you in more emotion-wise emotionally - at least comparing book one of each series, but I think the writing is stronger in this one.
Interestingly enough - I gave Dark Lover a higher grade - but I'm looking forward more to Kiss of Crimson then I did Lover Eternal. I know - it makes no sense does it?

Bridget Locke said...

I like both writers, but have to admit to being more of an Adrian fan than a Ward fan. Aw well, I'm all over the place with what I like, so that's not all that surprising. :D

Christine said...

Kristie, as someone who really loves both these authors, I DO understand what you mean. Ward's first three books are serious crack. :)

Kyahgirl said...

Great review you guys. I just read this book yesterday! It wasn't in my TBR but I stumbled across it in the library sale pile. I have heard so much raving about the 3rd and 4th books in the series that I thought I'd pick this one up. (I have an OCDish aversion to starting in the middle of a series....MUST start at the beginning).

Anyway, I liked the book. It had the feel of Wards books for sure. It felt about as believable to me as the first in that series too. I still like the brotherhood but I think that Ward might be getting herself painted into a corner with her world building. It has made the series deteriorate IMO.

My main peeve with this book is that if Lucan is such an old vampire he should really have a few more clues about the bonding/bloodlust upheaval that he's suffering. That just struck me as weak. Other than that I liked both the protagonists and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Adrian is a new author for me so I'm glad I found this one.