Book Review: Desolate
Author: Amy Miles
Publication Date: 14 March 2014
Page Count: 288
Source: e-book provided by NetGalley.com
Audience: Young Adult (16+) - Fantasy/Romance
I will say this up front, at the beginning of my review. If you are someone who does not like to read about torture or rape, this book is not for you. The main character deals with it on a daily basis and at time it could be disturbing to read.
Roseline Dragomir was just an ordinary girl living in 1690 Transylvania, when her world was shattered on her wedding day. Her new husband, Vladimir, and brother-in-law, Lucien, not only massacred her family and everyone attending the wedding, but they also mauled and fed on them. Vladimir also changed Roseline that day, turning her into the same horrible beast that he was, a vampyre. But she refuses to give in and be the monster that he and all their "brethren" are. Once back at his castle, her new home, Roseline meets even more of the vampyres, every single one just as disgusting and blood-thirsty as the next. She hides in her room and her husband comes to her every night to beat and rape her, the more she fights, the more excited he gets. She refuses to drink blood, even though she craves it. She tries to kill herself several times, but never succeeds. She is viciously tortured by Lucien and other vampyres. Then one day she meets a stranger, an immortal, but unlike the ones she has come to know and despise and fear. Fane is kind to her, helps her in anyway he can without alerting her husband to that fact. A bond forms between the two, he is more like her than the others, refusing to drink blood as well, disgusted by the way these immortal men and women live. Roseline must fight for her right to live and to gain the respect of the others, and she must fight to keep this newly formed love and friendship from her abusive, murderous husband.
Though I was aware that there was sensitive material in this book, I wasn't truly prepared for the amount of violence - in the forms of abuse, torture, rape, and murder - that was throughout the story. I won't say it wasn't a good read, because it definitely was, but it's definitely not everyone's cup of tea. The violence is not written in graphic detail, but it's also not glossed over. It is real and at times difficult to stomach.
I loved the way the book was written. In ways, it was almost lyrical and poetic, even the gruesome bits. There was a flow to the writing that was easy to follow and read. I could picture the imagery described throughout, the good and the bad: the destructive fire at the church, the surrounding countryside, the castle and it's occupants. It was beautiful and horrific at the same time.
The characters were well written, as well. You could feel the lust and hate, the agony and disgust, pouring off them and onto the pages themselves. You love the characters you are meant to love and despise the ones you're meant to hate. The author has a way of bringing those emotions to the surface, and that's a great attribute for any writer.
Desolate is the first book in a prequel trilogy to Amy Miles' The Arotas Trilogy, already published. I've not read The Arotas Trilogy, but I did read the synopsis' for the three book. It sounds like it is set in modern day America, and Roseline is still running and hiding from her husband, Vladimir. After reading Desolate, I'm not really sure how I feel about that. Fane is mentioned in the second two books synopsis', but not as Roseline's lover, she is actually falling in love with an American boy, a teenager at the high school she is hiding at. It makes me sad to think they don't have a future together because they come to love each other, and as a reader you come to love Fane as well. It makes me ask myself, do I want to read the rest of this trilogy and then the next, knowing at some point Roseline and Fane either never get together or they don't stay together. I know that's closer to real life, people fall in and out of love, but I want to read about that forever romance in my books. That's just me, though.
One Last Thought: There were quite a few grammatical errors throughout the book. It just needs a bit of a fresh edit.
Favorite Thing About This Book: As disturbing as some of the content is, I still liked the rawness of the emotions Roseline was experiencing, not just while being tortured or raped, but the aftereffects as well. They were so powerful and heartwrenching. The fact that the author was not afraid to delve deeper into them, to give the audience a better understanding.
First Sentence: Caro de carne mea.
Favorite Character: Roseline
Least Favorite Character: Lucien
A wedding massacre. An innocence stolen. Mortality stripped away. In a single night, everyone Roseline Dragomir has ever loved is slaughtered before her eyes. Alone in the world and bound by a solemn marriage vow to a vicious murderer, she must find a strength buried deep within her to keep going or risk completely losing herself. When a mysterious stranger crosses her path, Roseline will discover that not all immortals are evil. Some even bear emotional scars that run just as deep as her own. Will she uncover a will not just to survive...but to fight back?
***DESOLATE is the first book of the prequel trilogy to my YA paranormal romance AROTAS trilogy. This book contains elements that may be sensitive for some YA readers. Please download a sample before purchasing this book to ensure it is suitable for your teen***