The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire follows feisty 18-year-old Violet Lee as she is swept into a glittering world of extravagance and luxury. But all the riches of the world can’t hide the darkness underneath – embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.You might think authors are middle-aged cardigan wearing types, but this is the story of a teen told by teen author Abigail Gibbs, who was signed to Penguin after posting chapters of her dark and twisty vampire love story on an online platform.1
Can I just start off by giving props to Abigail Gibbs for being a teenage author and getting her start from posting her story to an online platform. Aside from the obvious jealousy, this isn’t a simple feat and she deserves all the success she has received, but now that I have the respectful pleasantries out of the way I’d like to rip into this story with my own vampire fangs.
The Dark Heroine: Dinner With A Vampire sounds about as cheesy as How to Marry A Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks, trust me I’ve read it here. Cheesy titles aside, you had my inner pre-teen girl at the word “vampire”.
Our main character, Violet Lee, is at the wrong place at the wrong time when she witnesses a massacre by a group of young vampires. Caught between the delicate balance of the human and vampire world, Violet is held captive by the vampires for what she has seen, while her father who works for national security tries to find a way to rescue her. During a brief conversation with her father over the phone she is warned not to turn into a vampire no matter what they say to her. The idea of such a notion is completely absurd to her. Violet is sickened by what she witnessed in the square the night of her capture and the thought of killing and drinking human blood is more than enough to squash that idea for good. The group of young vampires turn out to be more than just a rowdy group of teenagers, but some much older vampire teen royalty. The cockiest of them all, Kaspar Varn, especially knows how to get under Violets skin, but she is more than capable of handling herself and annoying the young heir. While Violet’s time in captivity lengthens she still remains hopeful that her father will find a way to rescue her. Her hope waivers though as the vampires advise Violet that her only way out alive, is to leave half-dead.
Many would simply write these books off for the sole fact that they are vampire based. As the story progresses and we delve into the story of the Heroine’s we are introduced to the possibility of more magical beings and different dimensions. I’m thankful that the second book is available on audiobook as I’m intrigued enough to see how things play out, but could have easily lost interest had the audiobook not been available and I had to wait.
Now that we have dealt with much of the niceties I’d like to get into the things that have crawled underneath my skin as much as Kaspar Varn, starting off with the character of Kaspar Varn himself. Kaspar Varn is not only a teenage heartthrob vampire, but a vampire prince. He is also a horny cocky bastard and despite being much older than he appears acts like even more of a child than Violet herself. To set himself apart from all the other vampires out there in literature, he chooses to call Violet “girly” which begins as a way of annoying her but somehow turns into a term of endearment. This term was the number one thing that got under my skin. There is nothing endearing about being called Girly and one of the stupidest things I have ever heard nearly ruining the whole story for me. There is also his equally handsome brother, Fabien, who happens to be a whole lot nicer than Kaspar, temporarily creating this whole scenario where she should fall for the good guy but we know she will fall for the bad guy thing. Fabian even points out how despite his efforts the girls always fall for Kaspar and hopes that Violet won’t fall into the same trap. Despite their short time together and her being his prisoner, Fabian chooses to tell Violet he loves her, only to be rejected and finding her falling for Kaspar as he feared. The solution? Fabian begins a childish flirtysexual relationship with his sister of sorts in the vampire world. I feel the creation of the word flirtysexual fits well with this story and how absurd things are becoming. As I mentioned there is the addition of magic and other dimensions with the introduction of fates and the prophecies of the 8 Dark Heroines. Now everything else aside, can I just say how dismayed I was to hear that there were 8 heroines! Fearing that they would turn this into one heroine per book and I would have to trudge through that whole murky mess because I am a self-sadist and seem to think I have to finish what I’ve started.
The more I go on about it the more I truly question what the heck I am doing continuing with this story. It can’t all be bad though as it clearly kept my attention enough to finish the story and be willing to attempt the second story. It’s the little gems along the barren string that creates this shoddily constructed piece of jewellery that irks me more than it beguiles me, and yet for some reason I must continue with the second story? The convenience is definitely playing in favour of that decision, but I could easily see dropping the series after the second book since the third is not available on audiobook (not that I have seen anyway). And in an odd roundabout way again, kudos to you Abigail Gibbs for your success and your quirky little story, but you annoy me, you piss me off and yet your vampire persuasion skills are leading me on into your next book.
- Book summary courtesy of Abigail Gibbs webpage.