BRIEF SYNOPSIS: As the Order fights to stop Dragos and his second-in-command Wilhelm Roth from taking control of the Breed world, Roth’s estranged wife and Breedmate Claire reignites an attraction thought long forgotten with German vampire Andreas Reichen.
PROS: While action-packed, this novel doesn’t scrimp on portraying not only Andre’s emotional turmoil over the tragic loss of his family, but also the obstacles Claire and Andre must face in reconnecting to each other. I also appreciate how in each installment of this series Adrian provides a deeper look into the Breed world.
CONS: While I enjoyed reading Claire and Andre’s story, I found myself drawn more to revisiting Renata and Nikolai’s relationship. The level of character development for these two characters in this book would have made their own novel, Veil of Midnight, that much better. My favorite installment of this series remains Midnight Awakening.
BOTTOM LINE: Ashes of Midnight is a well-written story that integrates the complex world-building and plot development evident in the rest of Adrian’s Midnight Breed series.
Having enjoyed the five other installments in Adrian’s Midnight Breed series, I was excited to read Ashes of Midnight. I especially like Adrian’s fresh approach to vampirism: that they are descended from the all-male Ancients, beings stranded on Earth from another planet. With each book I hold out hope of learning the story of how the Breedmates evolved since they are the only females capable of producing offspring with the Breed. Since each Breedmate possesses a variation on the same birthmark, I have assumed they must share a common genetic history, possibly even tied to that single Breed mission to Earth. Maybe someday we’ll get a first-hand look at the Ancients’ homeworld as well.
Previous novels in this series have dealt with the Order, a renegade group of vampires banded together under Gen One Lucan Thorne to stop Rogues, vampires who have gone feral and succumbed to bloodlust. Later, the Order takes on a new mission: to fight Dragos, another Gen One vampire bent on controlling the Breed and human world through any means necessary.
Every vampire possesses a paranormal trait inherited from his mother and Andreas Reichen is no different. Andre’s pyrokinesis threatens to burn not only him, but everyone around him as he hunts down Wilhem Roth after the man ordered the killing of Andre’s entire family. Claire’s Breedmate ability is to dreamwalk. While Claire’s willingness to use her ability is important to the plot, I think it would have strengthened the story if Claire learned to wield it aggressively, such as in taking control of another’s dream instead of simply observing. Characters from previous novels frequently play a role in later series installments, so I hope to see this type of development for Claire in a later book.
Adrian elegantly rendered the strengthening reconnection between Claire and Andre, but also addressed the fact that Claire is technically still married to another man. I thought this was a nice twist on the Romance “fated mate” trope in that here was a couple that did not automatically find their happily ever after right away.
While not my favorite installment of this series, I still very much enjoyed Ashes of Midnight and am looking forward to the release of Adrian’s next novel, Shades of Midnight, in Spring 2010.