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Laura Wright

REVIEW: Eternal Captive by Laura Wright

REVIEW: Eternal Captive by Laura Wright

Dear Ms. Wright:

I read book one in the series and didn’t love it so I skipped the second, but I think you may have hauled me back into the fold with this one. The two characters are at daggers drawn (to use an old fashioned phrase) because the hero is destined to be a Breed Male which means he can have no mate. The heroine has no mate either but has faked a mate sign through a tattoo of sorts with another vampire who had lost his true mate.

Eternal Captive Laura WrightThere is a lot going on here with mutores (shapeshifting vampires), lost mates, Breed Males, veannas, and so forth. Rant on – I think that there are a number of made up words that you use to imbue ambience but seem completely unnecessary. This isn’t a problem unique to your book but an epidemic in paranormal romances. For instance, why virgini for virgin but not principessa instead of princess. Or why use flash to describe vampires moving from one location to another instantly instead of flashini or some made up noun for any other random noun. It’s one thing to use made up terms to describe nouns/verbs that are specific to the world that you are creating. That seems like real worldbuilding. It’s another thing to use special made up terms for random nouns or verbs that you pick and choose. That seems like hokey and ineffective worldbuilding. – Rant off.

Back to the book. Bronwyn Kettler, a genetic scientist studying the Breeding Male phenomenon, accidentally fed from Lucian Roman but that one bite has bound her too him more securely than any human bonds. “In consuming his blood she had consumed his very soul and now—every day, every moment he existed, she moved inside him, her unending hunger deafening as she searched and slithered through his veins, circled his muscles, squeezed until his brain threatened to explode.” Neither of them want this which is what makes this mate book different. Bronwyn intends to proceed with the Veracou, a binding ceremony with another vampire. Lucien has only two choices, to “fuck her or kill her.” Sex with Bronwyn would turn Lucian into a “Breeding Male” which is essentially a vampire who does nothing but rut “a rutting animal with no conscience, no control, only a hunger to claim.” Killing her, well, obviously, that’s not a solution either. Regardless of the Sophie’s Choice presented, Lucian’s blood drives him to essentially stalk Bronwyn.

Brownyn feels Lucian too and has chosen to go through with the Veracou in hopes that the mating ceremony with another vampire will break the compulsion and need she has for Lucian. Yet the Veracou with her good friend, Synjon Wise, does not have the desired effect. Synjon goes into the bonding ceremony willingly because his heart died when his true mate’s life was extinguished.

The stakes are sufficiently high for me from the very opening of the book. When the book focuses on this struggle to not mate, it is at its best. The emotion rings true and is further heightened when Bronwyn and Lucian begin to have tender feelings toward each other and want to consummate their relationship but cannot because of the threat of Lucian turning into a Breeding Male. Knowing that the story ends happily diminishes some of the tension but what keeps the pages turning is guessing what will solve the Breeding Male problem. Sadly, I felt that the answer was a cop out, very Andromeda Strain, if you will.

Where the book falls off the rails is its tendency toward overdramatization, even though that is another hallmark of PNR. I do feel that there is a need to either go big or go home in paranormals, but sometimes it can be taken too far. The description of Synjon is a perfect example.

. Nicknamed the ghost, the only vampire paven to ever serve as both an elite Special Forces officer in his native Britain and as an American Navy SEAL regarded his current existence as a spy, an assassin, and a bounty hunter for the Eternal Order as bloody perfection

It is not enough for Synjon Wise (which somehow changed into Samwise in my head) to excel in country’s elite military arm, but two country’s. Why stop at two? Why not have him be part of every elite military arm? What kind of slacker is he?

Another part of the story focuses on Cruen, a mad vampire scientist who has been creating mutores. (If this reminds people of Lara Adrian’s stories, it did me as well). Cruen abduct Bronwyn in order to lure Lucian to him. The two will breed and Cruen will embark on the next step of his King of the World plan.

Despite the villain, the questionable made up word choice, and unnecessary over the top descriptions, I found the story angsty and compelling with just the right amount of humor. Lucian and Synjon’s testosterone (or testesteroni?) driven fights made me smirk. Don’t we all love a good alpha male throw down? (I always envision them wrestling in jello and accidentally touching each other, don’t you?)

“Blood!” Lucian said the word, rising from his seat and pointing at Synjon.

“What the hell are you doing?” Synjon asked. Shooting his gaze around the room, he demanded, “What the hell is he doing?”

Nicholas shrugged. “It’s not always clear.”

“You and Bronwyn have mated,” Lucian said, his tone threaded with disgust. “Have had your Veracou.”

“Yes. Do you have a point, or are you just reminding yourself that I am Bron’s mate?”

Lucian ignored the barb. “You should be able to find her, track her, know where her blood is. Isn’t that right, Alexander?”

Alexander nodded, his eyes suddenly graying over with thought. “It is.”

“There’s no need for any of this,” Lucian said, his voice rising, his fangs dropping. “Let’s go. Let’s go and get her.”

But Synjon didn’t move. “Stay where you are, Frosty. I haven’t taken her blood. She was nicked from me before we could have our consummation, both in blood and in body.”

Despite the problems, I was engaged the entire time and I certainly want to read more about poor Synjon and the mutores. The story was very sexy and that aspect of the book worked well. New readers likely could start with this entry into the series. I didn’t read book two and I barely recall book one. While “Eternal Captive” doesn’t break new ground, the emotional strength of the story elevated this above other paranormals I’ve read of late. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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Best regards.

REVIEW: Eternal Hunger by Laura Wright

REVIEW: Eternal Hunger by Laura Wright

Dear Ms. Wright:

I struggled to pinpoint exactly why I didn’t respond well to this book. At first blush, I thought my problems lay with the derivative nature of the worldbuilding but in retrospect I think the real problem was the lack of romance although I did think the worldbuilding was uneven and often silly.

Eternal Hunger: Mark Of The Vampire By Laura WrightAlexander Roman is the eldest of three vampire brothers created when one of vampire women was forced to lie with a pureblood (be raped by a pureblood vampire or “Breeding Male”). These descendants of a Breeding Male go through a morpho around the third century mark, but the shadowy overseers of the vampire community hold enough power to force Alexander through the morpho one hundred years early.

As a morphed male, he could be a Breeding Male who would just go around raping and drinking from random women or a mated male who would be eaten with a hunger to find his true mate. Alexander would know his true mate when he sees the key, a tattoo of sorts that matches his own, on her body. This is probably the weakest point of the story because Alexander has this incredible lust and attraction for Sara Donahue (more on her later) yet doesn’t see a key on her body.

No!" Alexander snarled, his upper lip lifting, exposing his fangs. "No one touches her."

"You sure the hunger's eased, Alex?" Lucian said, his grin widening. "You're acting like an animal over a feed. Perhaps she has the vein you desire?"

Nostrils flared, Alexander stared at Lucian, ready to strike with either words or fists.

It was so patently obvious that this unnatural hunger for Sara and his protectiveness were signs of the fated mate bond but no one puts two and two together. Alexander and his brothers were actually pretty inept about everything.

Alexander does look for the mark either. Why would he, right? Even though he agnsts over the fact that she can never be his, he never once undertakes a looksee around her person to see if his mate key is hiding even though he discusses the marks with another woman:

Alexander lifted his chin, showed off the brands on his cheeks. "You see my mark?"

"Yes."

"And you have this mark on your skin?"

Her eyes dimmed, just a hair. In fact, if Alexander hadn't been studying her so closely, he never would have noticed the chink in her confidence. "I haven't found it yet. But that means nothing. As you know, veanas can develop their marks later, or sometimes the mark is so hidden-’ "

Sara Donahue is a renowned psychologist who studies PTSD and memory pain. She works at an institute where she keeps a secret patient, the reason for her studies. If word gets out about her ties to the patient, her research will be tainted and her career will be doomed. Sara’s research gets pushed to the wayside because one special skill of Alexander’s is memory removal. Ta da. Who needs research and science when you have magic. Very little of Sara’s skill as a researcher or doctor is evidenced in this book. The setup is a nice idea, but it’s not well integrated into the story. Sara’s role turns from tireless researcher to lover of Alexander.

Alexander’s conflict is that he doesn’t believe in the true mate thing, despite all evidence to the contrary, and so he refuses to take blood from Sara and have sex with her. Then when the urge to mate with her becomes too strong for him to resist, he has sex with her but refuses to take blood from her because it could turn her into something corrupt. I never once felt like there was an impossibility keeping the two apart and I blame this on the silliness of the world building and the fact that Alexander and his brothers clearly lacked the mental capacity to see beyond their toes. What do I mean by silliness?

The all powerful Order that controls the vamps can morph a vampire 100 years before his time and physically dematerialize him from one plane and bring him to another. Yet, in order to get Alexander’s attention, they write words on the wall? And despite this constant show of power, Alexander plays the belligerent hood in front of them?

The Order sends Alexander and his brothers to seek out an Impure and destroy him. Yet, Alexander and his brothers are a day later and a dollar short every single time. I understand that this is part of the over arching plot narrative for the series, but the lack of any climax for this “suspense” portion of the book lent a very

As for the romance, there were not very many scenes with Alexander and Sara together. I would say half the book is devoted to them together and the other half was devoted to Alexander and the Order; Alexander and his brothers; the bad guys, and wards in Sara’s institute. What time Alexander and Sara did spend together were lust filled but given that they hadn’t spent any real time getting to know each other, even these scenes seemed forced.

In a crowded paranormal field, this one failed to stand out for me. C-

Best regards,

Jane

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PS:

There was one line in the book that made me laugh out loud, literally:

I AM WHAT YOU THINK I AM.

This reminded me so forcibly of the Dennis Green meltdown that I had to stop reading the book:

Anyhoo.