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REVIEW: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Dear Ms. Frost:

I haven’t read you in a quite a while but many readers, including those in my “trust” circle thought this was a great story. Given that it was the start of a new series, I felt like I could safely enter the world without being too confused. I was able to rustle up a free copy that Avon had sent to my house for a no risk read.

Once Burned (Night Prince Series #1) by Jeaniene FrostThe story is narrated in the first person by the female protagonist Leila. As a teenager, she was electrocuted when she touched a downed power line. This event transformed her instead of killing her. Now her right hand sends bolts of electricity into whomever she touches and she can read the greatest sin of a person or their thoughts before dying. She may even have a little foresight gift.

Because of her gifts, she is targeted by vampires who wish to take down Vlad, the Impaler, a centuries old vampire. Vlad comes to her rescue and offers her a bargain – protection in exchange for her services. Leila has little choice. If she doesn’t go with Vlad, she’ll be targeted by more vampires. If she goes with Vlad, she becomes somewhat of an indentured servant, albeit a cosseted, protected one.

I was taken aback by how easily Leila assimilated to her new world, being Vlad’s business partner aka prisoner, drinking blood from the source, using her powers regularly to see people’s worst sin and gain insight to be used for Vlad’s furtherance, and giving up her virginity. She easily accepts that he is a “good” guy and I really didn’t understand why. Perhaps she was clued in that he was the main male character in the book and thus must be good like we readers.

It was told in the first person and thus Vlad’s obsession toward her seemed sudden and out of place. This centuries old vampire is calling her “mine” just after a short acquaintance. She’s the only one who has slept in his bed or shared the room adjoining his. Why her? I wondered if I had missed out on Vlad’s character. As I read other reviews, many of them referred to Vlad’s appearances in previous Frost series. Perhaps if I had met him before, I would have understood his character better. I think the first person narration really affected my enjoyment of the story. I wished I had known more about Vlad but not simply through Leila’s eyes.

About the midway point, the story picked up speed when Vlad and Leila try to discover who is the source of danger to them. Leila’s abilities ease the way.

I felt like this was a safe story. It was apparent from the beginning that Vlad and Leila would be lovers when her electrical bolts appeared like foreplay for Vlad instead of painful punishment; when Vlad’s feelings for Leila are intensely returned. Even when Leila was in danger, I never had any moments of uncertainty. One scene has both Leila’s legs broken and the next scene Vlad’s blood has healed her and they are passionately kissing and fondling each other. Possibly the biggest uncertainty came at the end of the story which ends, not quite in a cliffhanger, but unresolved. But because of its safe nature, it’s a bit of a comfort read. It’s a sexy story with a hot billionaire vampire who dotes upon his mortal but powerful girlfriend. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

9 Comments

  1. trojanwalls
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:26:25

    You did miss out on Vlad’s character. While in the Night Huntress series, Vlad is arrogant and powerful (the way he is in this one), he is also hilarious, takes great pleasure in needling Bones (Cat’s love interest/husband by the second book) and is always ready to have Cat’s or Mencheres’ back in any battle. He’s fond of Cat and one of the many reasons we love him is his innate pragmatism that seems so natural in a vampire of his age and history. In the face of Cat’s devastation (in one book) he speaks succinctly and brings everything brutally into perspective.
    He also doesn’t show instant attraction to Cat, says that while he is very fond her (and he has few friends) there is no way he’s going to die for her or risk the lives of ‘his’ people.
    Which is why Vlad’s insta-attraction to Leila makes no sense. It’s not as if he hasn’t met kickass women before. But we can already see (despite his protestations) that he’s falling for Leila. What is so impressive about her? I had so, so hoped that whoever his heroine turns out to be has to WORK for his love, that he wont just fall for her ‘because’.
    I only hope the series gets better, because this book garnered lukewarm responses at best from Night Huntress fans.
    Maybe Vlad’s perspective would have improved the story.

  2. Brie
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:34:25

    I read your review and pretty much agree with all your criticisms, but I thought this book was so entertaining that I didn’t find anything to complain about while I was reading it. Well, I did think the conflict was weak and never felt the character were ever in danger. But other than that, I enjoyed the heck out of it. Maybe I was in the right mood that day. All I know is that I found Leila likeable, Vlad charming and I had lots of fun reading it.

  3. trojanwalls
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:38:57

    I did like Leila. A lot. I just wished that she had time to…prove her own worth before Vlad decides she is ‘his’. As an individual Leila is awesome and seems to have potential. But that doesn’t translate to ‘perfect for an ancient vampire’.

  4. Brie
    Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:45:56

    @trojanwalls: I did wonder about this, because I’m not the biggest fan of the original series, haven’t read them in a while and I barely remembered who Vlad was. So I wasn’t emotionally invested in his story and I read the book with no expectations whatsoever. That’s probably why I enjoyed the book so much.

  5. kam lin
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 02:00:48

    I read the book in a couple of sittings… i actually liked it very much.. adore vlad and leila..
    and look forward to the next book eagerly.i found his lines so cool..

  6. Kaetrin
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 02:37:52

    You know, when I listened to this one I didn’t even stop to think about why Vlad was attracted to Leila. I’m not really sure why. Like Brie, I enjoyed the heck out of it too – a lot better than the last book in the Night Huntress series I listened to (which felt a bit pedestrian to me). I especially liked how Vlad wasn’t prettied up too much for modern sensibilities. He’s a brutal man from a brutal time and he makes no apologies for that. I’ve listened to all the books in the series and Vlad has been one of my favourites so I’m pretty happy he’s got his own spin off series. The issues Jane points out are certainly there – I can’t work out why they didn’t bother me this time.

  7. Fran
    Jul 20, 2012 @ 15:19:31

    I agree with Trojanwalls and Jane. I had issues with Vlad’s continuity, and I really wanted Vlad to prove his worth to Leila too. We know he’s a great guy, but Leila almost always sees his vengeful, scary side. She’s awesome in her own right. This Vlad feels like a different person than Night Huntress Vlad. Maybe because he’s at home and with Leila rather than friends? Does she make him feel more comfortable or something? The ending…ehhh it’s a series. I pre-ordered this and started reading it at 12:40 AM when it was finally delivered to my smartphone. I read it the morning of my college orientation…I was really excited. Maybe my expectations were too high? It was good but I was still a bit disappointed. That being said, I’ve got hope that the next one will blow my doors off. Fingers crossed!

  8. Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost (Night Prince #1)
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 07:03:49

    […] life-and-death stakes, the story lacks a feeling of conflict, despite it existing at every turn. As Jane at Dear Author states, the story feels ‘safe’. There’s an instant attraction between Vlad and Leila, […]

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