Sunday, November 01, 2009

Vampire Kisses 4: Dance With A Vampire by Ellen Schreiber

Having finally gotten rid of Jaeger and Luna, Raven finally hopes she can rest and spend some quality time with her vampire beaux, Alexander Sterling. But, it is not to be, for no sooner does she begin to relax that another of Jaeger and Luna's siblings, Valentine, enters the picture.

Valentine is much younger than his siblings, only 11 years old. But Raven is afraid that he wants more revenge on her for what happened with his sister, Luna. But it's not herself she has to worry about this time: it's her younger brother, Billy. Billy and his close friend, Henry, have decided that vampires are real, and they decide to do a school report about them. But they are also making friends with Valentine, and helping him on his own quest, to find the grave of one of his missing relatives.

So once again, Raven and Alexander must search for Valentine through the town. But Raven can't bear to be parted from Alexander for long, and he doesn't want to endanger her by taking her with him on his search. However, on the one night that Raven stays home with her brother to be safe, she finds out exactly where Valentine is- he's in her brother's room with him, studying!

She's dumbfounded, but even more when that night, Valentine puts her hands on her brother's neck. From Alexander, she finds out that Valentine can read the minds of people and other vampires simply by laying his hands on their necks. From Raven, he's found out that she's actually apprehensive about being bitten, no matter how much she wants it. And from Alexander, he finds out how much he wants to possess Raven, body, blood and soul. But he uses the knowledge to try and drive a wedge between them, to break them apart.

He also taunts Raven with the knowledge that Trevor really *is* attracted to her. He just wanted Luna to make Raven jealous- because he's laid his hand on Trevor, too. Since Raven already knows she felt a bit jealous at Luna's attention to Trevor, could she actually have some kind of feelings for Trevor. No, Raven loves Alexander too much.

But Prom is coming, and Raven wants Alexander to ask her. But can she risk approaching him when her feelings about becoming a vampire are so unsettled? And when Trevor plans a prank that makes Raven Queen of the Prom to Trevor's King, will the dance she must share with Trevor finally cause Alexander to break it off with her? And with all this going through her mind, can she and Alexander deal with Valentine before he imperils her brother's life? Or her Mom and Dad?

I really like this series. But it seems that more and more obstacles are piling up in front of Raven and Alexander with each book. Just when she should finally be able to relax and spent more time with Alexander, more of her love's family nemeses seem determined to bring them down and tear them apart. But we're finding out that the family isn't all that menacing. None of them really wants to kill or hurt Raven- they just want her out of the way.

Basically, we're finding out that vampires really aren't that much different for humans. While they may spend lots of time drinking blood, partying and hanging out in the shadows, they have family ties just like humans do. And like most human families, they love each other and have sibling rivalries, and the younger siblings look up to the older sibs.

This series has a lot of teen angst, but I find myself liking it for its not too serious approach to the whole vampire relationship thing. It has all the best parts of teen romance and vampire stories together in one volume. Readers who loved Twilight may find these series a bit shallower, but at the same time. it's light-hearted and a lot more fun. Recommended.

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