Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoiled for you.
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all - but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him - a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames. From Amazon UK
Being the huge Jeaniene Frost fan I am, I had to get this book when it was released. I was especially looking forward to reading it not only because it's another Frost book, but because it's Vlad's story! Vlad is one of my favourite characters from the Night Huntress series, but we never saw enough of him for my liking, so I was so happy that he now has his own book. And it's amazing!
What I was surprised about, although this is Vlad's story, it's told entirely from Leila's perspective. This may not be that surprising considering the Night Huntress series is told entirely from Cat's perspective, but I assumed, as all the other spin off novels - those in the Night Huntress World series - had dual narration, that Once Burned would too. I guess that as it will be a series in it's own right, and we'll have more books about Vlad and Leila, it's going back to one narration. I was slightly disappointed as I was so looking forward to getting into Vlad's head, but really, once you're engrossed in the story, it hardly matters.
Leila kind of reminded me of Cat when we first met her in Halfway to the Grave. She's not a vampire, she's completely human, but after an accident with a downed cable line, she can now channel electricity, tell a person's darkest sin just by touching them, and sometimes see their future - not only that, but she can also see memories left on objects. Trying to make the most of a life where she has to always be on alert so as not to touch anyone, everything goes wrong when she is kidnapped. Having heard of what she can do, someone wants her to find out where a certain dangerous vampire is, and where he will be in the future.
Despite the crap she's had to deal with, and her horror over being kidnapped, she's quite gutsy. No, she's not automatically a badass, but she's smart, and she knows her power more than anyone else. What's a few lies about what she can or can't do if it's going to keep her alive and useful? Not only that, but she's not afraid to stand up to one of the most dangerous vampires going, and not cowering just because of who he is - like she forgets she's talking to Vlad the Impaler!
Vlad! Oh, Vlad! He drove me bloody mad! He is just as amusing as he is in the Night Huntress series, but my god, is he arrogant. Most of the time, it's just funny, but the rest of the time? God, I wanted to slap him! Of course Leila is interested in him, of course she wants him, of course he will have her. It's like he can't comprehend any other option. He's not just arrogant when it comes to Leila, but that's what made me so mad. Yet... he can be surprisingly lovely. In his own way, he genuinely cares, and he has the moments where he is the most sweetest, most perfect guy (even if slightly old fashioned)! He's just so brilliant! In lots of ways, Vlad is a mass of contradictions. When it comes to his enemies, or anyone who displeases him, event his own people, he is ruthless. His idea of punishment for something that wasn't exactly someone's fault is just horrific. Yet, when no-one's done anything to displease him, he's a nice, normal guy. And when it comes to Leila, he's sweet and lovely, very protective, says he's selective with who he sleeps with, and seems to be quite sensitive, and then goes and says he will never love her. And how he acts at the end of the book! Oh my god! I still love him, but sometimes he disgusted me and infuriated me - but what can you do, when he's the most powerful vamp in history? But I think this all shows just how awesome a story this is and how Frost is such a brilliant a writer, that I went through so many emotions. I do think Leila will be able to take him down a peg or two, though. And the chemistry between the two of them is just amazing! I'm really looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses in the second book.
Once Burned is just as actioned packed as we've come to expect, and in some instances, possibly even more so. There's a whole new level of twisted when it comes to the violence, but it's just so exciting! And the cliffhanger ending! The mystery of this story did seem slightly similar to that of Eternal Kiss of Darkness, but in the very basics, and on the whole is quite different. Once Burned is a fantastic addition to the stories set in this world, and I am so looking forward to the sequel in the Night Prince series, Twice Tempted.
Published: 5th July 2012
Publisher: Avon Books
Buy on Amazon US
Jeaniene Frost's Website
Other reviews from the world (in reading order):
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress Book 1)
One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress Book 2)
At Grave's End (Night Huntress Book 3)
Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress Book 4)
First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World Book 1)
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World Book 2)
This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress Book 5)
One Grave at a Time (Night Huntress Book 6)