Joint review with E posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/06/25/joint-review-once-burned-by-jeaniene-frost/
E: I have been a Jeaniene Frost fan from the very first Cat and Bones book so I was really excited to find out that she was going to start doing some spin-offs set in the same world with a few of the characters who played significant contributing roles in the main storyline. One of the characters that always fascinated me was Vlad, not only did he provide the inspiration for the legend of Dracula but I loved that he could play with fire which was typically a surefire way to kill a vampire. Ms Frost has been providing teases and snippets like usual on the lead up to publication so when she kindly offered to send this ARC I was beyond happy. It was great going back to the Night Huntress world and learning more about the very complex world of the vampires.
MinnChica: I too have been a huge Cat and Bones fan, and love the secondary characters just as much. After reading the first two spin-off books, I knew that we would be in for something extra special with Vlad. I’m happy to say that this book was so great, it was everything I expected to see from Vlad – some snark, a lot of violence, and a romance that would be an interesting journey from start to finish. I adored all things about Vlad, and Leila was the kind of heroine that I thought would be a wonderful match for Vlad.
E: Leila was a great heroine. She didn’t let Vlad get any with anything even in their initial bargain. One of my favorite parts is how Vlad could act as a safe discharge for Leila’s electricity build up. In fact he almost seemed to enjoy it *waggles eyebrows*. He needed a very strong heroine who had been tested by life because of his rather obvious other then human mentality. He did not shy away from violence as he tried to find the mastermind behind the attempts on his life. Yet for all of his other he displayed loyalty towards those who worked for him and even Leila as time passed.
MinnChica: Yes, I loved that Vlad was so… willing to be there for Leila when she needed to blow off some steam. *wink wink* I love that you brought up Vlad’s somewhat jaded outlook on life. Because although he walked on the page as a hardened Vampire with little regard for human life, he allowed Leila to open his eyes and his heart to human ways, human emotions. He even allows many of his vampire and human underlings into more than just his home, he lets them further into his life.
E: Yes, Leila’s presence had such an impact on more then just Vlad. It was great to see the two of them and the changes in those around them made it seem much more of a complete world instead of a couple mostly in a bubble. Watching them grow to trust and depend on each other was also really sweet. They have come so far and yet they have so much more to go before I think the power in their relationship balances out. Leila seems like she is going to continue to push Vlad and make him become part of the world once more.
MinnChica: Yes, I can’t wait to see where their relationship takes them next, especially as the mystery surrounding Vlad’s past comes to light. I love the way that Frost didn’t shy away from making this book gritty. Although I’m not one for my romance books being left in limbo, I was glad to see where it ended. Although Vlad and Leila haven’t made any kind of commitment, I’m already completely invested in their relationship. I also have to say that the mystery surrounding the death threats against Vlad were so well done, I was constantly left wondering who it was, how it was all being done, and what would happen next. I have to say, I’m very anxious to see how it all wraps up!
E: Like MinnChica I usually get impatient when my romance doesn’t have more of a commitment at the end of the book but given the vast extremes between the two I would have felt cheated with “I love you”s at this point. I also didn’t know who was behind the death threats so I was just as surprised as the characters with their discovery. I can’t wait to see what happens next and how Vlad and Leila continue to grow in their relationship. I really enjoyed Once Burned and felt it lived up to my anticipation.
I give Once Burned a B+
MinnChica: All in all I adored the first installment of the Vlad story. I loved his heroine and all that Leila was able to bring to the table for Vlad. She gave him certain strengths that he never imagined he would need. The secondary characters in this story were great as well, and I hope we can see more of them in books to come. Frost didn’t shy away from the blood and violence, and I for one was glad to see that. I can’t wait for the next chapter in Vlad’s story!
I give Once Burned a B+