Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Release date: June 26, 2012
Series: Night Prince #1 (Night Huntress spin-off series)
Source: ARC sent by the author
Reviewed by: Tynga
She’s a mortal with dark powers…
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude… until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…
He’s the Prince of Night…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all — but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him – a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.
Once Burned is the first book in the Night Prince series, a spin-off of the Night Huntress series, and is featuring my favorite character: Vlad! Vlad has been my favorite since he made his first appearance in the original series and when I learnt he’d have a series of his own, I was beyond ecstatic and Once Burned didn’t disappoint!
Once Burned is narrated by Leila, a human girl with rather unusual abilities. After she touched a downed power line in her early teenage years, and miraculously surviving, she came out of the encounter changed. Electricity courses through her body, electrocuting anyone she touches. Like it wasn’t enough, by touching someone with her right hand, she sees their biggest sin. She can also access memories of the past, present and even glimpse of the future when touching objects. That’s how she ended up in a carnival troop, never staying long at one place and yet it wasn’t enough to keep her off the radar. A group of vampires will kidnap and threaten her, she has to locate a vampire for them, a ruthless vampire who can manifest fire and isn’t bothered by murder. He might be her only chance at survival though, is it better to deal with the evil you know, or the evil you don’t?
Frost latest book was highly exciting, as per usual. We already had glimpses of Vlad’s past from his time with Cat (main character of the Night Huntress series) but we got a more throughout display of his history in this novel. He was the inspiration behind the famous Dracula stories and we discover the truth behind the legends. We are also blessed with a glimpse behind the hard shell Vlad always keeps up because even though he won’t admit it, he falls for Leila. I truly enjoyed learning more about my favorite vampire, and I know there is still a lot more to discover in the following novel. Leila also was a delightful character. Because of her unique abilities, she always kept herself on the sideline, never allowing anybody close, her only friend being a dwarf vampire from her carnival crew, because he can sustain the electric shocks she gives off. She is fierce, but also starts off as very insecure. Meeting with Vlad will be a life changing experience for her and in more than one way. Her loyalty, determination and courage really shone as she faced some seriously powerful vampires without blinking.
I LOVED the romance in this novel. Vlad and Leila’s relationship is very unusual, to say the least, and seeing them faceoff was highly entertaining! He is used to people cowering in fear, doing his every command but Leila will have none of it. She commands attention and won’t bow to his temper. He is over confident, she’s in denial of her attraction to him and the whole courting (if you can even call it that) was a real game of hide-and-seek. Once they came together is was steaming and electric (quite literally!) and I loved it. There are two particularly searing hot intimate scenes in this novel, and true to herself, Jeaniene Frost delivered epic-scale sex scenes.
The main story line revolve around finding the vampire who ordered Leila’s kidnapping with the ultimate goal of killing Vlad. Frost did an amazing job of keeping us in the dark for a long time, building the suspense and mystery. Via the many actions scenes, Leila developed her abilities with a new found confidence and her progress will be the key to victory. The whole plot was really flowing and kept a realistic and enjoyable pace. Between the action and the romance, there’s no time to be bored at all!
The final battle was grand and I liked that even though it brings some closure, some very important issues remain unsettled, promising even more action for the still untitled second book in the series, scheduled for 2013.
Once Burned is a scorching hot and electrifying read. Its characters and action will sweep you off your feet and leaving you begging for more. Fans of the Night Huntress series do not want to miss it, but more importantly, even though I strongly suggest you read the original series because it’s awesome, you don’t need to read it before you pick up Once Burned. It’s written in a way that let’s you step right into this amazing world Jeaniene Frost created.