Monday, April 22, 2013

REVIEW: A Shade of Vampire
by Bella Forest

Series: A Shade of Vampire #1
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pub Date: December 2012 (self-published)
Format: eBook
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Download the first few chapters and try it out! (Many thanks to Ms. Forest for providing the excerpt!)
On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.

An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?


Firstly, I would like to thank Bella Forest for contacting me to offer a copy of A Shade of Vampire in exchange for an honest review here at Melissa's Bookshelf. I thought the premise and the setting for the story sounded incredibly intriguing and would offer a breath of fresh air to the already heavily saturated YA paranormal/vampire market, and in that respect I was absolutely right. Unfortunately, the execution just wasn't quite there. Believe me, there is so much potential for this story, but I think it would require some extensive editing and rewriting to bring it to the level it needs to be in order to be a 4- or 5-star read for me.

I think the over-arching issue is that Forest does far more telling than showing, as the expression goes. It seemed like the vast majority of the story was given through dialogue, and on top of that, often there were not enough descriptors used to enable the reader to know who was speaking. Though there was a little bit of world-building, there simply was not enough to truly do the Shade justice -- I wanted so much more. In addition, the story is told with the chapters alternating between the points of view of Sofia and Derek, and while that can work in some cases, I found it to be choppy, confusing and difficult to follow in this book. I think the difficulty I had lies in the fact that Sofia and Derek sound very similar -- Derek certainly didn't come across as a 500-year-old vampire that had been in a magically-induced sleep for 400 of those years. There were attempts to reinforce Derek's actual age and the time he had missed by having him not know what current technologies were, but the way he spoke and acted just was not what I would have expected of a vampire who was alive and turned during the 1500's, then asleep the last 400 years. He lacked a certain formality, mystery, and maturity that I think would have really added to his character. In truth, most of the characters in the story were pretty bland -- we are only really given surface qualities and characteristics and little is done to develop either Sofia or Derek, not to mention any of the supporting cast.

And honestly, I couldn't understand why Derek was so wrapped up in Sofia almost immediately, except for the fact that we know she is apparently very beautiful. But the one small thing she does early in the story that touches and impresses Derek just didn't seem like enough to spark the obsession that follows and sticks around through the rest of the book. If anything, it seemed like it really came down to Sofia's looks, despite the attempted indications otherwise. Regardless, as I read, I just felt completely detached from the story and the characters -- I simply didn't care how events played themselves out. More detailed character development would have gone a long way to making me feel more invested in Sofia and Derek.

Given the uniqueness of the premise, I really wanted to like this book, which is probably why I pushed myself to finish it. Clocking in at 149 pages for the paperback edition, A Shade of Vampire is a relatively short read, but I actually think that it would benefit from being longer, filled with more imagery, world-building and significantly more in-depth character development. At times, I also found myself having to re-read some parts to understand what was going on, due to some awkward phrasing, as well as the lack of sufficient descriptors during the dialogues; hence, my earlier remark about editing and rewriting. But in fairness, I have also seen a lot of very positive, even glowing reviews out there, so take mine as only part of the overall picture. I will say this, though -- I do love that cover!

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Download the first few chapters and see what you think!
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A Shade of Vampire (A Shade of Vampire, #1)


  1. Good review Melissa. I have not read this, but I did have the author on for a guest post, I love the cover of her book...:)


    1. Thanks! Yes, that really is a striking cover... When/if you read it, I hope you enjoy it -- like I said, many people did, so it seems I'm in the minority, anyway... :-)


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