Living Within the Pages – Book Review #7

10 11 2010

Title: Infinite Days

Author: Rebecca Maizel

Series: Vampire Queen trilogy (#1)

Amazon Rating: 4.5

Goodreads Rating: 4.10

Alex’s Rating: 4

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this novel, Infinite Days, by Rebecca Maizel in the bookstore one day. I was first captured by the cover as its design is an important element in my opinion. Great covers are usually just a marketing ruse, but in the end, I am truly glad I fell for this one.

The novel follows in the wake of paranormal romances about the infamous vampire–a hit for both YA and Adult Fiction. But, this novel begins with an entirely different premise, and even though I have come to enjoy a certain schema of paranormal vampire fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by this author’s debut.

The book begins with Lenah Beaudonte, a 592 year-old vampire queen turned human again. From the beginning we are introduced to Rhode, Lenah’s creator, undead lover, best friend, confidant, and ultimately the one who sacrifices himself during a ritual in order to bring Lenah back to “life” and renew her sense of humanity. From the very first pages, I was intrigued and enraptured by the character of Rhode, and even at the end of the novel, I believe he was the strongest, most well-developed character of the book.

In short, Rhode begins to explain his sacrifice to Lenah and that he must die so that she can be human again. Lenah awakens once more to find Rhode gone; only leaving behind a pile of luminous ashes, all that remains after a vampire’s true death. Gripped with new feelings such as grief and despair, Lenah perseveres as she is now able to live the human life Rhode had originally ceased from her in the early 15th century.

Before he died, he enrolled her in a boarding school in Massachusetts and gave her enough cash to survive as long as she began to work. The first half of the novel details her re-acclimation into society as a 21st century teenager. Throughout the novel, we continuously get glimpses into her past, revealing a much different vampire story than what has come to be commonplace. Through Lenah’s memories, vampires are described as truly frozen, unfeeling, unchanging, and evil creatures who indiscriminately kill in order to feel at least something. This feeling is a departure from their ever-present paint and suffering at being the creatures of the night, only getting a break when they find love, and it is vampire love that bonds and is the only other thing one can press oneself into besides the killing.

I don’t want to say much more as the novel is a bevy of lore treasure. There are new vampire customs, abilities, and curiosities that are better left to discover on a page by page basis. Let me tell you this though, I have read a lot of vampire fiction, paranormal romance, fantasy, and YA fiction…and this novel far surpassed my expectations and many of the other books I have read. It was fresh, thoughtful, deeply sad, and intriguing despite a damp sadness and melancholy that pervaded over me and throughout the writing as I read the novel in essentially one sitting during my journey form London back to the states. Although the book gave me a sense of pervasive sadness, it piqued my interest in a way only few authors have been able to do.

Maizel’s writing is far from immature, yet there is room for betterment (though isn’t there always?). Questions were left hanging on my tongue by the end and they dripped further as I read the sneak preview for its continuation, Stolen Nights, coming out Spring 2011. Although there are disappointments (such as the poor construction of Lenah’s new male beau, Justin…perhaps it is the name?) and the fact that I hated Lenah sometimes, the characters all ended up playing a part (albeit some better than others). Although Lenah will never be my favorite female lead, I was surprised at how far she deviated from the average female lead. A deviation the author no doubt intended and there is no apology for this, a bold step I must commend. Despite character flaws and sometimes random scene flashbacks (all separated within blots meant to be blood droplets), I was sad to end this novel and will anxiously wait being able to sink my teeth (pun fully intended) into the next installment of this promising series.

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