Vampires? Romance? Bodices bursting on book covers? I don’t read those types of books. And then Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings introduced me to Colleen Gleason and the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. I read, enjoyed, and reviewed the first four books in the series last fall.
Unlike most vampire stories which are set in modern time, this series is set in the Regency era, where we get a peek at English high society at its most flamboyant. The Rest Falls Away was the introduction of the young Victoria Gardella, a descendant of a long line of vampire hunters – Venators – and she is the last in her bloodline. We followed as Victoria married, was widowed (by her own hand!) and ultimately matures into a strong, graceful, intelligent Venator. She makes mistakes, too. She has moments of passion that are maybe not exactly wise (in a carriage, for heaven’s sake!?)….. she seems like a real person.
A Shadows Fade begins two weeks after the last chronicle – When Twilight Burns – left off. And this is to be the last Gardella Chronicle, which makes me happy and sad. So many series become dull and forced, and Colleen Gleason was very wise and brave to end on a high note.
In this fifth chronicle, Victoria must fight against not only every day – or night – vampires, but also the Queen of all vampires, Lilith. And then enter the demons, enemies of humans and vampires. The portal – a crack in the earth of a cemetery – is spewing demons that have traveled all the way to England. Victoria’s job is to close the portal, with the assistance of all the characters we have come to know and love. Especially Max and Sebastian!
There are some nice twists and surprises at the end, but you will have to continue the story in your own imagination. Which is not a bad thing.
As I said, I am not a fan of paranormal anything. The attraction of this book, as in any good book, is that it takes me away to a different world. I don’t really care that it is not historically accurate. Vampires aren’t real anyway, so why would I worry about gas lamps or clothing? The Gardella Chronicles are great escape reading, and I recommend all of them.
I consider this my first read for the Once Upon a Time III challenge, too. How much more fantasy-like could a story be?