This month there’s two books from my September reading list I’d like to touch on. First up is One with the Darkness by Susan Squires, part of the Companion series and the Da Vinci Time Travel series:
Contessa Donnatella di Poliziano has power, beauty and — as a vampire — eternal life. But she also consumed by regret that centuries ago in ancient Rome, she failed to make her one true love, Jergan, a vampire too. But just as she despairs, the discovery of a 300-year-old note leads her to a gift left by her old friend, Leonardo da Vinci. He built her a machine to take her back in time to re-write the history of her heart. .
Once back in time, Donnatella loses her memory of the intervening years. Yet when she sees the breathtaking barbarian slave from afar, she feels she has always known him. For Donnatella, their awakening passion feels both old and new. But as they fall in love again, the danger of the emperor Caligula’s Rome threatens to tear them apart. The very act of going back in time has changed history and sends events spinning out of Donnatella’s control. Now Jergan’s love for Donnatella, and Jergan himself, must survive the most perilous test, and if he fails, the two lovers will be separated again… for eternity.
Vampires: check. Time-travel: check. Inevitable time-travel paradox that sends plans awry: check. Blood-thirsty Romans: check. Hot barbarian slave with a bad attitude: check. Political machinations up the wazoo: check! And if you’re getting the sense that this is not your average vampire story or your average historical-with-vampires, then you’d be correct: gold star for you :)
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this one as much as I did– perhaps because despite how much I adore the Regency era and paranormals with vampires, it’s refreshing as hell to read a historical that’s not set in the Regency era, with the added bonus of a different twist on vampire mythology.
About the only quibble I have centers around a bit of author-licence with Donnatella and Jergan supposedly having posed for two historically significant portraits that everyone will recognize, and their son posing for an extremely historically significant sculpture that again, everyone will recognize. I already got that these characters were inhumanly good-looking, so for me that was just a teensy bit of snort-worthy OTT-ness. But considering how much I enjoyed the interwoven history and the romance in this book, it was very easy for me to forgive :)
Next up is Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
I spotted this book when it was mentioned as a Daily Deal on Dear Author, and the review quote piqued my interest enough to order the book from the library since I couldn’t get hold of an electronic copy on Amazon. (Could be because its DRMed to US readers only?) Luckily I didn’t have to wait long to check out the book.
For me, Rot and Ruin could be summed up as The Walking Dead meets Supernatural… if the Winchester brothers were solely zombie hunters, and a somewhat more monster-compassionate Dean than the one we all know and love was teaching a reluctant, stroppy, 15-year-old Sam The Family Business. Add in some totally the opposite of TSTL kick-ass female characters, some really nasty hunters with all the morals of pond-scum, a decade-long misunderstanding that has Benny blaming his brother for their mother’s death and believing that Tom is the biggest coward in the world, and you pretty much have Rot and Ruin in a nutshell.
I LOVED this book. I quit watching The Walking Dead when it got way too depressing and nothing hopeful or good ever seemed to happen to the characters. At the time I quit watching it was all bad shit. More bad shit. A truckload more bad shit. Rinse and repeat. Yeah, I’m a sap. I gotta have hope! And I lost it majorly with The Walking Dead. (Besides, our stupid broadcasters decided to bump it to 10.30 pm.) Rot and Ruin doesn’t stint on the horror of the world being overrun by zombies but there’s always that sense of hope that things will get better.
Katana-wielding Tom is the best hero I’ve read in a while. And the Lost Girl definitely keeps up the female end when it comes to holding her own against zombies and hunters alike. But as this is primarily Benny’s story, perhaps consider it a coming-of-age story… with zombies.
I’ve passed this one on to DS, who’s reading it rather than doing his chores. He’s seventy pages in and giving it the thumb’s up. And I know DD will enjoy it, too. Actually, would love to see Rot and Ruin picked up for a TV series; the world and the complex characters Mr Maberry has created would make excellent prime-time viewing.
And here’s my full reading list for September 2013:
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
- Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
- Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
- Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
- All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
- From Dead To Worse by Charlaine Harris
- Dead And Gone by Charlaine Harris
- The Girl With The Iron Touch by Kady Cross
- Banish by Nicola Marsh
- Rules Are For Breaking by Imelda Evans
- The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa
- Dead In The Family by Charlaine Harris
- Before I Wake (Soul Screamers) by Rachel Vincent
- Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
- Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris
- Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
- One with the Darkness by Susan Squires
- Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
- Heller by J.D.Nixon