REVIEW: Let the Night Begin by Kathryn Smith
Dear Ms. Smith:
When I read the setup for this story, I had to read it. I love the reunited lover storyline. Olivia and her husband, Reign, have been separated for over thirty years–since their wedding night in fact. Reign, a vampire, bit Olivia and turned her against her will. She was angered and betrayed and tried to kill him. When she failed she fled and they’ve not had any contact since.
Olivia receives a note that her nephew, who she raised as a son, has been kidnapped and the ransom for his return is Reign. Olivia goes to Reign and explains the situation (except the ransom). Reign agrees to act as her husband to ostensibly search for Jmaes in exchange for conjugal rights. Olivia doesn’t care. She’s more than willing to trade her body for the life of James.
I liked the core of the story alot. Reign isn’t exactly remorseful for his actions, but in the results of them. He would do anything to make it up to Olivia and win her back even if he doesn’t trust her. I didn’t mind that Olivia wanted to gut him. She was torn between the feeling of her body and the heart betrayal. I thought that the way that they played out the reconciliation worked as well.
The problem was that I had some issues with the superficiality of the story. There was little backstory of Olivia and Reign. Olivia was a widow when she and Reign originally met, but we know virtually nothing of her life prior to the present time. Maybe it was the intent to signal that life for Olivia and Reign only began when they met each other and while that is an attractive message, I felt like I never really knew either character.
There was also some repetition that I wasn’t sure was intentional or unconsciously done. Reign notices and appreciates Olivia’s feralness and signals that is what attracted him in the first place about four or five times. I didn’t know if there was anything else that made up Olivia other than her animalistic instincts. There were some interesting topics that could have been developed such as why Olivia did not want to be a vampire; the tension between humanity and being a vampire; living long periods of time while making attachments that are only temporary. All of these issues were slightly alluded to but never fleshed out. Another issue is that Olivia liked to drink directly from the source and she choose men to be her donors yet in the thirty years during which she was separated, she never took another man to her bed.
I appreciated that Reign recognized that his actions were wrong (although I wasn’t sure whether his turning her was a fit of passion or calculated) and that Olivia’s mixed feelings of hatred and love were completely justified. I thought that the passion between Reign and Olivia was believable and that the ending had a certain bittersweet quality (not between Reign and Olivia) that saved the story from being too saccharine. C+