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REVIEW: Midnight Rising by Lara Adrian

Midnight Rising by Lara Adian

Book CoverDylan Alexander is a talented journalist who is overseas enjoying a vacation with friends of her mothers. During a walk, she wanders away from the group and encounters a cave with strange markings. She has photographed these and a homeless man she observed in the caves before said homeless man frightens her away.

Rio is hiding in the caves having volunteered for the job of sealing in evidence about his kind – a group of vampires created by an alien race. Rio has been engaged in a battle against the Rogue vampires for much of his life. In book one, Kiss of Midnight, Rio’s mate betrayed him, causing the death of one of his blood brothers and causing irreparable physical and emotional damage to Rio. He takes on the duty of sealing the cave because he sees this opportunity to end his miserable life. But instead of discharging his duties, he’s been wrestling with his decision. Something is preventing him from taking that final step. He’s in stasis, growing half mad.

He felt dizzy with anger, his head spinning so badly it buckled his knees. He went down on the hard ground like his body was made of lead. He heard the detonator skid into the dust somewhere, but he didn’t reach for it. His arms were too heavy and his head was weightless, his consciousness floating, detached from reality, like his mind wanted to separate from the wreck of the body that caged it and fly away to escape.

Dylan’s arrival and subsequent photography of the cave drawings and of him spur him into action. He cannot allow his brothers to suffer yet again at his own hands. He tracks Dylan to her hotel room; threatens her and ultimately kidnaps her to be taken back to headquarters.

This is a captivity story and with these stories, it is always going to be a struggle for me to believe that the heroine actually loves the person who kidnaps her, threatens her, terrorizes her family and friends, destroys her life and leaves her with few options, none of her own making. The first physical encounter between Dylan and Rio exemplifies that challenging nature of this dynamic. Rio is an unwashed mass of a man who breaks into Dylan’s hotel room and then physically subdues her. When he is pressed against her, she can feel his erection. Rather than terrified at the idea of being violated by this scarred, unwashed, crazy man, she’s aroused and responsive. Dylan’s quick assimilation of her situation does her credit but her quick tumble into love was hard to swallow.

Where this book shines is the nuances that are brought to the characterizations of the villians and world building. I was talking to Robin about this book she mentioned that the villians have varying degrees of wrongness. For example, Eva, Rio’s dead wife who betrayed him, was not demonized. I thought it took some deft writing to make me feel for Eva because Rio himself is eaten by her betrayal yet I felt quite a bit of sympathy for her. Rio had battled for so long and was constantly exposed to danger, century after century. Eva’s betrayal was done because she believed that her actions might end the war and end the danger to her beloved. It is Eva, in fact, who brings Dylan to Rio to save Rio. The ultimate act of self sacrifice.

There was another villian who was presented to the readers in a sympathetic light. These nuances add alot of depth to the story and made the book strong emotionally in many places, but not with the main characters. I wasn’t really convinced of the organic evolution of the love or whether Dylan loved Rio because he was the hero and she was the heroine. C+

Best regards,


This book can be purchased in mass market at Amazon or Powells or ebook format.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. Keishon
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:05:23

    There was another villian who was presented to the readers in a sympathetic light

    Who was that? I read this book maybe a little over a week ago and honestly can’t recall. [g] Edited to add: never mind, I know.

    I agree with everything you stated about Eva’s character. The problem for me was that I was never privy to what she did; only that she betrayed Rio with no backstory as to how this happened. My loss since I never read the first two books in the series. I think I will continue to read this series but it is one that I am not all the excited about, if you know what I mean. I had graded this book a B- when it probably should have been a C+ as well.

  2. CourtneyCarroll
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 18:40:10

    Jane-I completely agree with your review and while I’ve passed the time with this series, I’m done. I still have no idea why Dylan and Rio fell in love, nor did I believe that Rio went from being suicidal to embracing his feelings for Dylan especially after the betrayal of his prior mate. I expected a lot more conflict from both characters-Dylan fighting against her journalistic impulses to publish the story of the Order and Rio fighiting his feelings for Dylan, but we saw none of that. I think the potential was there for a great story, but it didn’t occur. I like Lara Adrian’s writing style, but I’m no longer invested in this series and will not continue to read it.

  3. Tuesday Review Round-Up « Urban Fantasy Land
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 21:26:08

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  4. Jane
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 22:54:12

    Courtney – I’m still on the bandwagon. I think that Adrian is doing a great job of weaving romance + world building. The captivity story is just not one that I easily fall for but I completely understand where you are coming from. I’ve dropped authors after one or two books in a series.

    Keishon –
    It is the alien. I thought the scenes in which it/he is treated were written in such as way that I felt at turns sorry for the Alien and disgusted by him.


  5. Robin
    Apr 08, 2008 @ 23:35:01

    The romance in this one definitely didn’t work for me, but I liked the aspects of the novel involving the further worldbuilding, in part because I feel Adrian spent a good deal of time in this book trying to distinguish her fictional world to diminish comparisons to other series. And it’s interesting me, especially, as Jane said, the multi-layered approach to the good v. bad dichotomy. I thought the way Eva returns was clever and provided a believable way to both develop the looming danger to the Order and provide a context for Rio’s emotional recovery from Eva’s treachery. And I still like the women in the series and the way they aren’t completely isolated and under the spell of their menfolk. I mean, Dylan has actual friends, lol, even if her family is dispensed with a bit too handily, IMO.

    I think the key to a successful captivity story — for me, anyway — is having the captive become acculturated into her “new” society before she falls in love with the hero. Had Dylan become more integrated into the daily life at the compound, become friends with the other women, and acclimated herself to the Order, I think I could have easily bought her relationship with Rio, because it would be subsequent to a cultural shift for her. But not only was that missing, but her transition from hostile hostage to love slave was hardly explained. And since she spent only a few days with Rio, much of them tranced into sleep, in the company of a completely muddy and bloody and smelly captor, her attraction to him had me at first wondering if there were pages missing from my book.

    Although I give Adrian points for not making a big deal of the setting in which Dylan and Rio finally slake their lust. There was potential there for all sorts of over the top symbolism, and I was grateful that Adrian didn’t exploit that.

    I’ll definitely be reading the next one, even though ITA with Jane on the grade for this one.

  6. carolyn Jean
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 08:09:31

    Oh boy, I am hotly following this series, and I have this book in my bedside table stack, so I didn’t read all this review because I sometimes like to be surprised on plot elements with a series I’m already into.

    But I scanned down to the bottom and, what? Captivity narrative? I didn’t realize. And a grade of C? Now I am SO curious!

  7. Patricia Briggs
    Apr 09, 2008 @ 23:52:49

    Actually I liked this one quite a lot. I have liked Ms Adrian’s writing more with each book. I was not impressed with the first one (readable, but that’s not enough for me to buy a second book in a paranormal romance series). I bought the second one by accident, read it and decided that either I had been crabby when I read the first book (perfectly possible, and one reason why I try never to complain about a book until I’ve read it several times) or she has improved a great deal. This series could so clearly have devolved into writing the same story over and over and I’ve enjoyed watching her escape the obvious.

    Mild Spoiler —

    The capture (of the heroine by the hero — or the reverse) is a plot device I don’t often like. But in this case it worked for me — I think there is a hint that there is an element of physical chemistry (or predestination) involved in these relationships. Also, before the attraction took place, it was clear to her and to the reader that the last thing he was going to do was hurt her. To me this was very well established in the first scene — and defined much more strongly later on. And she has a habit of taking care of the people around her so I bought that very early on, she started to try to take care of him, too. I bought that his attraction to her negated his death wish (actually I bought this a little more that I bought the reasons for his death wish — especially after he made it clear that his relationship with his wife had not been ideal.)

    I was happy that her “forgetting” to tell Rio that her mother’s friend knew about the vampires wasn’t used to forward the plot — however that made it feel out of place.

    Had this been an urban fantasy (or a book by Anne Stuart, whom I adore) I would have been much more critical of the start of their relationship. But in a romance there are certain assumptions made. One of the classic assumptions is “of course he would never hurt her” no matter how dangerous/violent he is and she can tell this by looking in his eyes. Very romantic and perfectly acceptable as long as the reader recognizes that this in only true in the world of books. Hopefully all of us know that in the real world (or in one of Anne Stuarts dark romances) that is a very dangerous assumption to make. But we’re reading a romance.

    I still don’t like it when the heroine is too dumb about trusting the hero, but in this book, I bought the attraction and the growth of their relationship. This story worked for me.

  8. tyr
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 15:34:23

    It’s boring. I started reading but will probably not finish until December. The heroine is not a talented journalist. She is a washed-up tabloid journalist who when she did have a serious career in news journalism victimised an innocent man.(That’s in the novel!) Why would anyone make such a person the heroine of a romance? She’s a grown woman who’s overly emotionally dependent on a sick parent. And a rich vampire prince will rescue her from a life of journalistic drudgery. Sheesh!

    Give me ‘Viscounts Addiction’ any day. Obviously. I’m through with the series too. Very disappointing. I think you were too generous with your grade.

  9. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 10, 2008 @ 21:27:58

    I will definitely buy this one and give it a try. I LOVED Kiss of Midnight, which didn’t get that great of a review here, if I remember correctly. I enjoyed both of the next two, Midnight Awakening more than Kiss of Crimson, but I’m still looking for the same magic I felt when I read the first in this series. I hung on every word, which is rare for me. I almost can’t believe it when someone says they didn’t like it! What can I say? Tastes vary.

  10. What Is Wrong With the C Review | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Aug 19, 2008 @ 04:00:33

    […] keeper books (Lara Adrian and Nora Roberts come to mind). I thought Lara Adrian’s first book, Midnight Rising, was a snoozer and her third book, Midnight Awakening, a wonderful take on a tired genre. I loved […]

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