Lightning sears a scene against the eye. Trapped between reality and death, every scrap of life is fighting for existence. To stop fighting is to die. Some precious moments of peace can be stolen from small pockets of calm. Life can take a breath and wonder at the harsh beauty, but only for a moment, then struggle resumes. And others watch…
One man is the drop of chaos that can spell success or failure. Born from a vampiric race of slaves, genetically moulded to provide comfort for their masters, he alone decides to be truly free. Irreverent humour and a fierce need to know ‘why’, war within him and entire worlds will change as he fights his shackles.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Original
Vampires have overtaken common lore. Well, vampires and zombies (not sure which I would be more freaked by during a chance encounter....each in their own way...). Just take a look at the recent popularity of shows and books dedicated to each. But what if the vampires have more of a story than we realize....and what if they are from another dimension? Overall, I give this book a 3 out of 5, and here is why....... THE GOOD Given that vampire stuff has been done, and done and done and done, it can be hard to find anything truly original in the area of vampire lore. Fainges, however, has here fashioned something truly original. Here we have a vampire who bleeds purple (kind of made me think of Vulcans and their green blood), loves passionately, defends vehemently, and Survives stubbornly. Born under a shroud of conspiracy and secrecy, this vampire is determined to wrest his will out of life and not be used as a pawn. If only he knew the true manipulation happening behind the scenes.... Fainges has here tended the character development of a very interesting vampire caught in very interesting circumstances. We learn that he is from a planet that literally wrests itself to pieces and rebuilds constantly, uses the 'old power' (read: magic), is kind of related to a woman who was bred as a weapon against the "Enemy", and fights to control the vampire beast within who threatens to gain control and turn him into a "fear eater" (one who feeds on prey's fear...and loses control). Doesn't that sound intriguing? It is. 🙂 I enjoyed the story here. Vampires from alternate dimensions? People used as pawns? Science fiction presented in a way that is new and intriguing? I definitely was hooked on the story and characters and found myself constantly reading away far past the time I intended to lay the book down. Characters are interesting, unique, distinct, have fairly clear motivations (well, most of them) and EACH HAVE THEIR OWN CLEAR VOICE!! YAY!! (okay, I'm over excited, but this is one of my sticking points as a reader, so there). Settings are just as interesting. Not only does Fainges have the vampires on Earth, but also in their own planet...as well as on a few others. The plot is engaging, writing style is accessible, all in all a fairly nice read. Oh, and did I forget to mention that there are some really interesting philosophical/ethical questions raised in much the same kind of way as they appear in Star Trek: The Next Generation? ("Nora, your geek is showing...") The Bugly (bad/ugly) Now, I'm gonna be super nitpicky here. Keep in mind that I do enjoy this story and this book. Just... --While the plot is intensely original and interesting, it jumps around a bit and almost feels as fragmented in places as the constantly shifting soil of planet on which the vampires originate. Transitions from various settings and time periods are rather unclear, and at times it was hard for me to figure out where/when the vampires were located. Things did not flow real well. --There were enough grammatical errors to distract me while reading. Seriously, my editing fingers were itching. 😛 --More more more....I wanted more! While we are given lots about the characters and their motivations, it often felt as there was a back story that we needed in order to truly understand just what in the heck was going on. Why was this vampire bred specifically? Just who is the Enemy? Huh what why? Now, keep in mind that I've always been the pesky one constantly asking "why" about everything (I've driven a few employers and friends to distraction by doing so), but this made me ask "why" constantly. Argh. Rather than feeling like the first book in the series that this work is, it felt like a second book that was depending on the first book to fill in some gaps. --On that kind of note, how things work in this universe did not make sense to me in some places....just how could certain beings watch other beings? How did things work? You can find more cool stuff on my blog: onlygodwritestrees.blogspot.com
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Destiny Sets by Karen Fainges is a well crafted story. I was quickly absorbed from the start wondering why there was so much heaviness surrounding Melinski and a sense of mystery with a poem on Earth - It didn't take long for characters to be introduced in a very graceful way never rushed into the pages without some reasoning even ever so briefly. I liked the description of Lisa's dance troupe with a mixture of sensuality around clothes and scents. Tony was just awesome to say the least. An amazing man yet, gifted with a remarkable simplicity. There was an aura of mystery around him keeping me from putting down this book. I liked his keen sense of observation. His silence. His tenderness. His abilities or maybe perception. For instance, how he interacted with Professor Swan and Lisa - making it more than purely interesting. When I got to Head and Politic; I had to re-read it a few times. Not quite understanding. I will leave it up to you to decipher what those two words really mean. The dialogue is great. Words were written to be read with an ease. The flow was certainly there au rendez-vous of the story forming a formidable blend. I do recommend this book and please, I hope to meet you all on the Orient Express some day soon! Sounds like there could be more stories to be had - All aboard! Adriana LG
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy with a very human heart
This is a ripping yarn, full of sizzling sex scenes and heaps of heart. The book starts a series about the world of Shayton and the survival of its people, a race of vampire shape-shifting aliens. Interactions between Shaytonians and humans on Earth, especially the males, are full of wit and insight. A page-turner, like a cross between Feist and Pratchett, but with a lot more sex! A particularly good sequence featuring vampires on the Orient Express!
A Poem as Lovely as a Tree
The Head of the Shaytonian Council sat idly on the pitted rock fence that visually separated the City from the Wilderness. Listening to the hoarse cries of the eagles swooping down to an uncovered prey, she wished she was free to be out there with them. But who was she trying to fool? She had her Duty, as did every Shaytonian, and that was to ensure the City survived. And that meant endless hours in Council, dealing with all and sundry, the thousand little details that meant she must submerge her own desires to the point she did not even remember the time she had a name of her own. Of course, she could feel the barely controlled power of the force field that was the real reason they were no longer dying in droves. It held back the constant tremors and tidal waves caused by the writhing of their world. Channeling the energy of every citizen of the City into the shield had been a move of desperation at the time, but now, it was a part of their life, as normal as breathing. It meant they were all linked, that the Council could literally read every thought, note every change and use it to balance out the shield. So as one of those in charge of the power, why was she so worried about using it?
Grimacing, she admitted the truth that many had forgotten but that she never could. The link that kept the City safe also smacked of slavery, the very thing they had thought they had escaped in this world. It was time to change the system, and this time…she hoped it worked. Sighing and settling against the rough bark of a tree that sheltered on the safe side of the wall, she felt the faint trace of someone approaching. A sniff told her it was Melinski, probably sent to call her back to the Council for some new crisis. Melinski surprised her by instead settling on to the wall next to her.
“So, it is time to summon the wayward waif back to the fold.”
The Head shook her head, at first thinking Melinski was referring to herself. The seriousness of her friend’s face told a different story. With a soft snort she replied, “It is amazing that someone I know cannot get through my mental shields can read me so well.”
Melinski shrugged, “It is hardly a difficult thing to do in this case. I know you have been holding session times down and that always means you have something exciting to tell us. That was the most likely possibility.”
The sour look on Melinski’s face showed how thrilled she was with the possibility and Head could not blame her. After all, the last few attempts were all so successful, ending with the King driven mad and his daughter exiled to Earth. And for Melinski, there was a personal side. The exiled daughter that would need to return for the plan to begin, had been raised by Melinski. Closer to the child than her mother would have ever been, Melinski was now the exile’s friend. And this would hurt them both, all over again.
“Well, it needs to happen soon,” Head said lightly. She did not need to explain that thought to Melinski. They had been joined in fighting the Council member that represented those that been chosen to follow Battle as their life task. Battle was pushing hard for a new Head of Council and if that happened…Head shuddered. Not liking her own control over the shield and not liking the idea of Battle having that full control, was on a whole different level. They had to start the plan to save Shayton before Battle could wrench control away.
Melinski’s question broke into her thoughts, “So who is to tell Lisa?”
Head shrugged, that part of the decision at least was an easy one. The exiled princess held no love for the Council, but she would obey…eventually. “I will probably send Marcus. He is her brother and not part of the Council, which should reduce the friction of the command, and strong enough to fend her off if she objects.”
“And the male we will need to impregnate her? Will Marcus provide that function as well?”
Head shook her head, “No, we need a human.”
“A human! Why?”
It was rare Melinski showed her reactions that obviously. Head realised she had misjudged just how concerned Melinski was. Head thought for a moment how to phrase this next part. Melinski would need to be behind her plans one hundred percent if they were to succeed. “There is a poem on Earth, one I think you know. In it is a line, ‘I think I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree.'”
Melinski nodded, “Joyce Kilmer, I met him once at Columbia. A very simple man. I liked him.”
Head nodded, glad her friend had accepted her short side track. “It is that humanity we need. I have searched for others like Kilmer, well read but still simplistic, not naïve, but still filled with wonder. And I believe I have found him, but I wish to be sure. Lisa is about to travel to America, yes?” Melinski gestured agreement with a flick of her fingers. “Her current favourite lover is starting to age, she will be looking for another. We must vet this possible male and ensure he is suitable before she does that. That way, they will seem to be together naturally. I have ensured members of his family have visited Lisa’s dance troupe and they enjoyed her performance. I am sure it will not be too difficult to arrange for them to meet. A suggestion in his mind to visit her hunting grounds perhaps.”
Melinski, “It is possible. I can implant a dream in his mind easily enough.”
“Good, now all that remains is to meet the young man myself.” Melinski obviously thought there was a great deal more to do than that, but she held her tongue. Head continued, “I believe it is time for me to revisit my beloved Orient Express. You, my dear friend, may deliver him the invitation to join me.”
Melinski snorted, “Oh may I?” Nodding she agreed, “Very well, I will make the arrangements today.” With that she left. Head watched her go for a short moment and then turned back to the Wilderness. It was starting, and Fates knew where it would end. She only hoped, this time, that it would not hurt Lisa too badly. Still, Earth had been reasonably kind to her. Head wondered idly what Lisa was doing now.