On to the review!
Notice the fast turn-around time on this review, the first of Colleen Gleason's vampire series, entitled The Rest Falls Away. ;) For those of you not participating in the R.I.P. II challenge, or who have managed to overlook all of the other reviews, the series is based on the author's curiousity about what life for Buffy (from TV) would have been like if she lived in the Victorian era. I am quite torn about this book, actually. Perhaps all of the glowing reviews I read beforehand built up my expectations a little too much.
Here's the thing. I found it a very enjoyable fluff read. It had a lot of humour, like
Victoria considered the stake for a brief, delicious moment, then regretfully rested it on the table. She had four new polished ash stakes, each to be painted a different color so that they could complement her various gowns. Verbena had suggested ivory, pink, pale green, and blue, and was advocating further decoration using flowers, feathers, and beads. (84)Oh yes, because we all know how our vampire-killing weapons must coordinate with our outfits. ;) There are several comedic devices used throughout the book; one of the most fun was the chapter titles. I also thoroughly enjoyed the tea parties of the three matrons of society, particularly a certain one's progressively larger crusifixes! The characters were all fun to get to know; not what I'd call particularly deep, or *ahem* realistic, but fun. My favourite is Verbena, the ever-resourceful maid. She kind of reminds me of a nineteenth-century MacGyver, whose talents also include hairdressing. And I'm not gonna lie, there are some passages in the book that explain why it's kept under the 'Romance' section; two of the characters at least seem to qualify this series for the upcoming Swoonworthy Challenge. Take this introduction of a Marquess
Lady Gwendolyn had not exaggerated. Well-turned did not begin to describe the man who stood before her, raising her gloved hand to his lips. He stood as tall as any man in the room, his rich brown hair gleaming with strands of gold as he tipped his head to press a kiss to the back her hand. "If you have not yet greeted everyone, may I dare hope there might be a dance left on your card?" His voice matched his looks-clean, calm, smooth-but his eyes carried a different cadence. Something that made her feel very warm.Yummy!
But then, Gleason goes and pulls the rug out from under me. It's like you're happily enjoying cotton candy, eating it too quickly because you just can't help yourself, and and suddenly you take a bite and the cotton candy tastes like dill pickle. I am Very Unhappy about the turn one of the characters took. All of you who've read the book know exactly what I'm talking about. I don't feel as if Awful Things should happen in a fluff book; isn't there some unspoken rule about that?
My more serious hesitation as to this book is the writing style. I was frustrated by the author telling me things, instead of showing me them. For example,
"Just what did you think you were doing, Victoria?" he snapped, stalking toward her.So just in case I didn't pick up from the abruptness of the actual dialogue that this guy snapped, I'm told it. And just in case I didn't figure out that snapping means the guy's probably mad, I'm also told he's stalking. This is an especially easy trap for Gleason to fall into because she uses a rotating third-person point of view.
Despite these writing flaws, the book is a very enjoyable high-adventure romp, and for a first book, the heavy handedness is perhaps understandable. In summary: read this book if you're good with a heavy-adventure, somewhat-sexy piece of funny-for-all-the-right-reasons, plot driven fluff piece. Don't read this book if you only read Serious Literature, or expect extraordinary writing or deep character development.