You probably know that I’ve been wailing about these four novellas. Not happy wailing. Devastated, brain-numbing agony wailing.
But I’m going to review them fairly. I am. I promise. If I start ranting incessantly you can, you know, calm me down with chocolate or slap me even.
This is a 4 in 1 review. So grab some popcorn, mug of hot chocolate — and let’s get started.
Thank you Hachette Australia for the review-copies. I’m sorry I didn’t like them, I truly am. I like odd and creepy books so I fully expected to enjoy these. I just didn’t. Here’s why.
Note: I haven’t read the original House of Night series. These are just the novellas.
The all-new House of Night Novellas will delve into the backgrounds of some of the Tulsa House of Night’s most important – and mysterious – professors. Beginning with Dragon Lankford, DRAGON’S OATH tells the story of the House of Night’s formidable fencing instructor and warrior, whose mercy for one beast in the past will come back to haunt him in the future.
First thoughts: What the….
Second thoughts: Will the real vampires please come out? Ones that, you know…suck blood?
Third thoughts: Oh help, I’ve got to read 3 more of these.
The short of it is: this is a tiny book with zero character development and a heap of telling instead of showing.
I won’t lie. I’m partial to being shown things. Instead, I get told “Here is a character who is mean and jerky and arrogant BUT WAIT! JUST KIDDING. He’s a real sweetie.” What? No. For starters, I didn’t see any evidence of him being mean OR nice. Oh why in the name of sanity is his name DRAGON?! He’s a vampire (er, sorry, vampyre), but hey…why not call him “Dragon” and confuse us all further?
Enter the love interest: Anastasia. She’s a professor but only 22 and a vampyre and sweet and gentle and ohhhh so NOT besotted with Dragon. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, but it’s pretty obvious. Plus, you know, a bit of a random action scene before we fall into each other’s arms.
I was basically frustrated that there was zero character development. I don’t know these characters from GI Joe, and I’m supposed to care what happens to them?
Before becoming Zoey’s favourite professor and the House of Night’s powerful horse mistress, Lenobia was just a normal 16-year-old girl – but with enough problems to last a lifetime. In 1788, Lenobia’s father places her on a ship bound for New Orleans. An evil bishop, skilled in Dark magic, makes the same journey. His appetite for beautiful young women forces Lenobia to remain hidden, but she secretly visits the ship’s stables, where a handsome young man and his horses capture her attention. Can they make it to the New World before the bishop discovers her true identity and a powerful evil breaks loose? And will Lenobia follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk?
At this point I found out that each novella was going to follow a different story.
I cried a little. So good news: you don’t need to read them in order. Helpful news: It’d probably be better to read the actual series, because apparently this is all backstory. Dangit.
It features Lenobia, who’s name unfortunately reminds me of lobotomy which isn’t nice. She’s the illegitimate child of a French lord, and when her half-sister dies, dear Lenny (my nickname for her, she, sadly, didn’t get one in the book) impersonates her half-sister (they look alike, okay?) and sails to the New World. Bummer is, there’s a pedophilic priest onboard the ship who plans to rape Lenny.
But that’s okay because: MARTIN. Cute, stable boy, beneath her class…you know the type.
The main problem I have with Martin and Lenobia’s romance is…they don’t converse in French. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I could understand their chatter. But they’re both French. Martin speaks in broken English, with frequent French words. Why…why don’t they both speak French to each other?? Why.
Oh, and then everyone burns. Apparently, the squishy conversations of love between Lenny and Martin amongst the horses wasn’t enough? They just started setting everyone on fire towards the end and it was a little disturbing. Plus, being burnt alive is like the worst agony in the world. It’s HIGHLY unlikely you’ll have the concentration to spout off poetry while you’re flesh is singeing, okay? Okay. I’m absolutely grossed out.
The vampires showed up in about the last…eh, 20 pages? It felt like a historical romance not really a supernatural vampire (sorry, vampyre) book.
In the third House of Night novella, the secret history we’ve all been waiting for is finally revealed… Neferet, the Tulsa House of Night’s darkly seductive High Priestess, wasn’t always a powerful vampyre, but she has always been beautiful. Raised in turn-of-the-century Chicago in a motherless home, her beauty makes her the prey of unwanted attention and abuse, leaving her with scars that will never heal – and a Darkness that will eventually need to find its way out. But when she is Marked and gains strength, both physical and magickal, she turns her anger into power and looks for a way to regain what was stolen from her. From victim to High Priestess, beautiful young woman to powerful seductress, Neferet’s journey begins…
I am so officially badly scarred now.
Question: Why do these books have so few actual vampires in them?
It’s like a period drama…but with horrible parts written in a platonic way. It’s written in first-person by Emily, supposedly her “diary” although it’s not particularly written in that style. THERE IS NO EMOTION. It’s like being told things.
I couldn’t connect with anyone. It was full of telling NOT showing. Everything that happened was completely predictable. And…and ugh. A father lusting after his daughter?
I get that that’s a dark and scary topic that is a reality (even in those days of the early 1900s) and it’s fair enough to write about. I just…I just don’t want to read about it?
From the Sun and from the Moon, two winged brothers are born: golden Erebus, playmate and friend, and mysterious Kalona, Warrior and lover, companions of the Goddess Nyx.
From the first, Nyx loves them both deeply, but differently. With Erebus, she can talk and laugh and dance, and take joy in the games he plays among the humans of the Earth. With Kalona, the fire in her body burns bright, and she can rest in the solace of his strength and protection. But for Kalona, Nyx’s nights are not enough. Every second he is not with her he is filled with doubt and longing, and every time he fails to please her, he cannot forgive himself. Ruled by anger and jealousy of his brother, and consumed by his love for his Goddess, Kalona seeks the power to prove his worth, and to claim once and for all that Nyx eternally belongs to him.
And at the edges of the Earth, a Darkness is stirring, waiting for its chance, for the doorway in through a heart that it knows will welcome it…
You know what’s bugged me the most? Spelling vampires like vampyres.
Hmm. Weird. I just really don’t like that.
This novella is written like a mythology tale. Like if you had to read a text-book like Greek myth for school or something? It’s written like that. At least the last 3 focused on characters, but this mostly focuses on Mother Nature and goddesses falling from the sky like mammoths.
Oh. Kalona is a guy. I didn’t see that coming.
I found it the hardest to get into because it wasn’t about following a specific plot. It felt like a backstory outline.
But some of the covers are nice and eery though! Yay! Good covers. HUGE positive there.
So, be clear, Cait, why didn’t you like them?
Firstly, I think the reason they have no world-building or character development is because they’re backstory novellas for the main series. Which I have absolutely zero intentions of reading after this crash course in Vampyre world. But I still don’t really see why that makes it okay to have such unemotional, detached, and monologuing books.
Secondly, they’re not really about paranormal vampires. They’re written like period dramas. They’re about romances between unlikely people who fall in love because, “Omg, you’re really pretty! Can we marry?” No. No no no.
Thirdly, misspelling “vampyre” is one thing. But if you spell magic like “magick” you’re actually referring to occult magic. Which, while the books had goddess and mythology…they weren’t doing demon worship. So I feel the misspellings were a bit un-researched.
Fourthly (I promise this is the last), to become a vampire all they needed was a moon slapped on their forehead. Then they were a fledgling vampy. No blood required. I believe we’ve missed the definition of vampire.
When I finished novella #4 all I could think was…
But I definitely want to say: just because I didn’t like them doesn’t mean you wouldn’t!
They have quite high ratings on Goodreads and I’m sure fans of the main series would be interested in the backstory. But as stories-by-themselves they lack. Seriously, though, check them out and then talk to me about them.
Cait is packing. She doesn’t like packing. WHAT IF SHE FORGETS SOMETHING IMPORTANT? As you know, she’s incredibly nervous about travelling inland to go to a wedding (her brother’s for those of you who are curious). Crowds. She’s anxious about crowds. But she was talking to her nephew (3yrs) about going on a “holiday” and he informed her that he doesn’t want to bring the family. Just him and me. Isn’t he the sweetest?!