Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

(2002-05-27)

Vampires are so overdone. They used to be the terror of night, that ghoulish creature that fed on human blood, frightening and horrendous in their novelty. Now vampires are romanticized; they are beautiful and seductive with pale skin, green eyes, and black hair- a combination bound to make any woman swoon and any reviewer sigh with bored irritation. And despite my most hopeful expectations, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's vampires played true to form, bringing out just about every cliché in the book.

Yet notwithstanding the formulaic vampires, "Midnight Predator" was a surprisingly fascinating and engrossing novel. Atwater-Rhodes's new novel confirmed that the thriller genre is still alive and teeming with suspenseful energy. The characters sizzled and sparkled, the plot moved faster than a speeding Ferrari, and the writing, though a bit generic, was intensely gripping.

After just fifteen pages, my mind was glued to the enthralling text; not always the best scenario when trying to study for exams. But "Midnight Predator" shoved all textbooks and worksheets aside, filling my head with Turquoise Draka's story.

Set in our ordinary human world, the novel plunges right into the plot, commencing with Turquoise, a vampire hunter, fighting Ravyn, another vampire hunter, for control of the elite unit Crimson of the vampire-fighting guild Bruja. After the fight ends in stalemate, to be resumed in one month, the girls are offered a very well-paid job: kill the vampiress Jeshickah. Of course, this is no easy task (it never is)- Jeshickah is within the vampire fortress Midnight, basically inaccessible to humans who are not slaves. Enlisting the aid of human-friendly vampire Nathaniel, Ravyn and Draka concoct a risky scheme to enter Midnight as apparent slaves and then proceed to kill Jeshickah in any feasible manner.

Posing as a slave arouses Turquoise's pent-up memories of her days as a real slave, after the vampire Daryl murdered her family and took her as his possession, making the assignment extremely difficult for her. Yet her new master in Midnight, Jaguar, is kind and gentle, and faces similar tormenting memories. With him, Turquoise may learn to confront her memories and revive some of her lost innocence.

Already the plot's laden with intrigue and action, a winning combination. But don't mistake me, the novel's by no means perfect. The dialogue's often trite, as are the title character's flashbacks to a troubled childhood. Most of the story's events and complications are predictable; the plot, despite its entertainment value, is pretty standard fare. When the novel ends in a cliffhanger, it's extremely anticlimactic and unbelievably frustrating.

"Midnight Predator" is definitely a good read, quick and interesting, filled with rich characters and an entertaining story line. Don't expect too much, though; the vampires are overdone and the writing's a little immature. Of course, considering Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is an 18-year-old college student, I guess the book's not too bad.

Reviewed by Laurel JeffersonBookmark and Share



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