The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason
published by Mira in March 2011
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Regency Draculia #1
Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule—a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls—the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral…until Angelica.
Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger—for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him—to protect her.
Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica…but this vampire never backs down from a fight.
Kailana: Colleen Gleason, the author of this book, is an example of how much blogging works. If it wasn’t for her presence in the blogging world, I probably would never have read her. She is shelved in the romance section, which I never visit, and even if I did I hardly ever see her on the shelf. I think I did buy one of her books at the store, though, because I seem to remember mentioning in a post how I snuck into the romance section for it. Just reading and enjoying Gleason is a big deal, especially a few years ago. Now I do venture into the romance department a bit, but before I never would have at all. This book I found to be more of a romance than the Gardella series, though.
As someone that reads a lot of romance novels and spends time in the romance section, what do you think?
Ames: I agree that social media is definitely a good tool to reach out to new readers. And I’m glad it has you venturing into the romance section from time to time. It definitely worked in the reverse that I venture out more often to different sections as well, fantasy and young adult being the main ones.
In regards to Vampire Voss being more romance-y than the Gardella series, I agree. The set up of it is definitely more in line with the genre. Unfortunately, I found the romance aspect of The Vampire Voss to be weak.
Kailana: I wasn’t really all that interested in the romance. It was just sort of there and you knew it was probably going to play out a certain way. When I read the book I was more interested in seeing how the vampires were portrayed and to experience the time period. There was a lot that was worthwhile overall, but there were a few things that were a bit weak, too.
Why did you find the romance aspect weak?
Ames: I was more interested in the world building and the vampire stuff more too. The romance was weak in my opinion because I didn’t feel any chemistry. Why were these two characters so drawn to each other? We were just told they were. And Angelica was afraid of Voss for quite a bit of that time. I think that’s what bothered me too, how long she was kept in the dark about Voss.
Kailana: Yes, it was a strange romance. It was inevitable, but at the same time I was rather clueless why. I think it should have been explored in more detail or with more enlightenment. Instead, we knew who Voss really was for quite some time before Angelica was let in on the secret. I liked Voss, though, for whatever I thought about the romance. He was an interesting character. He played himself as a dark character, but he had a side to him that he attempted to keep hidden that was nicer. Angelica, too, was a good, strong female character. I never really had any major complaints with her. Her ability was strange, but not over the top. I am not so sure I would like to possess the same abilities, but that is just me.
What did you think of Angelica and Voss as characters?
Ames: I liked Voss. Yeah he was a 100+ year old vampire but he was open to change. I like how he wasn’t uber-perfect. An example of that is when the Mark overtook for a moment and he bit Angelica. There was a real dangerous aspect to him that way. Also, looking at his past, he realized he made some mistakes and he was looking for something different.
Angelica. I’m a bit torn on Angelica. But I think just in regards to her reaction to Voss. Every other way, she was strong and smart. When it came to Voss, not so much. Also, I feel like her ability was made a big deal out of at the beginning and then towards the last half of the book, it wasn’t as important. Like once Voss got what he wanted from her, her ability...and her to a certain degree, didn’t matter anymore.
That’s another thing. I had to remind myself about ⅔ of the way in WHY Voss was even interested in Angelica in the first place.
Kailana: Yes, Voss was admirable in wanting to change after all the years of living. I liked that about him, too. As to Angelica, I suppose I had forgotten that her ability all but erased itself from the book. It was mentioned a lot in the beginning, but then after a while it was just sort of hovering in the background. I think it would have been interesting if it had played a bigger role and it wasn’t just about the vampires abilities. Angelica and her sisters had interesting abilities that I would have enjoyed seeing more from.
What did you think of the secondary characters that played a part?
Ames: I thought a few of the secondary characters were frustrating beyond belief. I couldn’t stand Maia , Angelica’s sister and Chas, their brother. Chas doesn’t even show up until the last half of the book and that tells you something that I couldn’t stand him.
Maia I thought was irritatingly stubborn and tried to be bossy but was just annoying. I know she’s coming from a perspective of wanting more respect from the people around her, but I felt like she went about it the wrong way.
Chas. I felt like his storyline came in too late. All this other stuff is going on and then boom, Chas and his lover are introduced and they get a sex scene and it just seemed a bit out of place for me. I can see this couple getting their own book, but felt their introduction was in an awkward place. And what frustrated me with him was his secrets. He was trying to protect his sisters, but he’s been gone leading this other life and they’ve made do without him. He should have given them some credit and told them what was going on so they could have been better prepared.
Dimitri was an interesting character but I could see right away how his story was going to play out - and looking at the next book, I wasn’t wrong.
Kailana: Oh, yes, I couldn’t stand Maia either. I understand where she was coming from, but she drove me nuts. That’s why I am a bit worried about the next book. It’s a bit apparent that she will play a central role, so I am a bit worried about how things will go. And, yes, Chas... That’s a strange and undeveloped storyline. I feel like he should have been in the book before he was, but if he was then it probably wouldn’t have changed a lot of what happened and then Angelica and Voss might not have ended up together. So, I can understand why he wasn’t in it sooner, but he is a mystery at this point. He’s a Vampire Hunter in love with a Vampire. Obviously, there needs to be a bit more elaboration on why that happened. And, you are right. Normally he takes off and leaves his sisters with little to no supervision when anything possible could happen because of his work. He should give them more credit! They are obviously very able to take care of themselves, but they should have been made aware of the dangers that could present themselves.
Dimitri is interesting, but he also seems like a very stereotypical male figure from classic literature. I could see Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton in him easily, but the vampire version. I think Gleason was trying to make him seem more appealing by making him familiar, but then not at the same time. I am not sure if it will work, but I guess it is something to figure out in book two when he plays the central role.
So, what do you think of the book overall? Will you be reading book two?
Ames: Well I found the world-building and the Dracule culture Gleason created to be very interesting. But my enjoyment over that was detracted from by my frustration with some of the characters and the romance. If the romance was made to be more of a background thing with a focus on the other stuff - I would think about reading book 2. As it is, I think I’ll wait to see what others say about book 2 right now. Maia would be a difficult character for me to get over.
What about you, are you planning on reading the 2nd book?
Kailana: Probably, because I did find Dimtri intriguing, but I am not so sure I will enjoy Maia all that much... She sort of annoyed me and probably an entire novel with her in it would be exasperating. That being said, I want to see how the vampire culture storyline develops and I am actually sort of wondering what is the story with Chas and his vampire romance. I am not sure that there has been enough of an explanation of it all yet. I think for the next book I am more curious about the on-going story than the one that will be developed, but that can change. Voss was not very complicated, but there is obviously a story about Dimitri that is sort of hinted at and I want to know the details...
Ames: I do too. But I'm ok to wait.
This one gets a C- from me. It was ok, there was an interesting concept buried in there with some meh characters.
Kailana: I don’t really give grades, but I will say that I prefer the Gardella Chronicles better. Like you said, the concept is interesting, but the characters sort of brought the story down.
* This review is cross-posted at Kailana's blog.