Disclaimer: I received a free Advance Uncorrected Proof from TOR Books.
Twilight Forever Rising, by Lena Meydan, is a really good book with a really unfortunate title. Everyone to whom I mentioned this book seemed to think it was part of the Stephanie Meyer series, and it doesn’t help that this book is also about vampires. Twilight Forever Rising isn’t without its faults, but it’s definitely an enjoyable and absorbing read.
Vampire stories seem to almost require having a male vampire who falls in love with a female human. In this case, that vampire is Darel Ericson. However, I was glad to find that t he romance between Darel and Loraine (the human he falls in love with) played a secondary role to the intrigues in the vampire world that Darel becomes involved in.
Darel is apparently able to fall in love with a human because he’s an empath and a telepath. He can feel emotions and can sometimes read thoughts, although rarely without permission. His telepathic abilities do mean that he never needs a cell phone, as both vampires and humans can mentally call him (and vice versa).
The vampire world that Meydan sets up is complex and full of intrigue. In it, several vampire families, or houses, wrangle to set the rules they must follow and to shape the fate of humans. Each vampire family has its own special power: control over death, the ability to change shape into a wolf (like Dracula could), the ability to fly, necromancy, and so on. The Dahanavar house, to which Darel belongs, is known for its mental powers. They are intellectuals and planners, excellent at persuading and influencing others—especially humans. The full extent of their powers isn’t made clear, though, which is rather irritating. It’s clear, however, that Darel is the most powerful of his house.
The things I really liked about this book were the story, the intrigue, and the descriptions. For the most part I liked the prose style and the voice, too. I’m curious about how much of that was due to the author and how the translation affected the voice and style. (The novel was originally published in Russian.)
Most of what I didn’t like had to do with the ambiguities of the book. The novel is set in an unnamed European city, and I kept wanting to know which one. It also seemed unrealistic to have the heads of all the great vampire houses together in the one city. Their origins are certainly varied: A Greek, A German, A Russian, A Frenchman….
There are also odd changes in point of view. While parts are told by Darel, in first person, other sections—including sections with Darel—are told from the perspective of other characters in third person.
One final point is that the story doesn’t end in this novel. (Sorry if you consider that a spoiler.) On the one hand, I wanted it to, because I really wanted to know what would happen. Still, it feels like there are enough mysteries left that a second book would probably be well sustained. And I really want to know what happens.
Book Source: Advance uncorrected proof, received free from Tor Books.