This is a book for people who aren’t afraid of vampires being vampires.
Ariane is a graduate student in animal biology who is in her mid-20s, has frizzy dark-red curls, and is a PoC. John is her older boyfriend and a professor. A freak encounter in her lab changes her life forever, and the story progresses through Ariane’s experiences with the supernatural.
She meets an Italian Roman Catholic vampire named Orfeo Ricari who was alive in the late 1700s and falls in love with him to the point of obsession. Orfeo does NOT want to make any vampires or have a physical relationship, but they do begin a strange friendship.
I liked how Ariane became sick with love over him. It’s pretty much exactly how I imagine a human behaving if they met a vampire and spent some time with them. She neglects herself and her life, abandoning John.
Things come to an intense stand-off (with violence) and Orfeo sends her off, dying, to his only living vampire child, Daniel, in Hollywood. Daniel is Lestat-ish, goth, sex maniac, black nail polish, makeup, glam rock. He surrounds himself with young runaways and performs onstage, cutting himself à la Marilyn Manson.
Ariane begins a strange kind of relationship with him. Lovely is an eighteen-year-old male runaway and also Daniel’s lover. I LOVED Lovely!
I don’t want to say too much more because spoilers. I really liked how the vampires have a horror element. They are irresistible and attractive, sensual, yet they also have an ugly ghoulish side.
There is a lot of sex and drug use in this. Most of the characters are bisexual. The writing is not prose-y. It’s a little blunt and straight-forward. No glossy sex or twinkling. It was perfect.
Another huge plus is all the awesome musical references. She even has the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil in there! Lots of Bowie.
The vampiric transformation is unique – bloody, flesh rending, brutal. I think this book is totally under-rated, but you have to be okay with triggers and a horror (lite?) vampire story.
Bottom line, this is the exact kind of vampire story I like best. It has got Lost Boys and Lestat vibes. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll mixed with a bit of classic vampire horror.
A steal at $1.49 on Kindle! (Also available with Kindle Unlimited.)