Saturday, October 15, 2011

Deeper Than Midnight by Lara Adrian

Hunter is a Gen-One Breed, a vampire bred from humans by an alien race known as the Ancients. The Breed are policed and protected by two forces, the Breed Enforcement Agency, and the Order. The Agency, however, has birthed Dragos, a man determined to rule over both Breed and human society by mating female humans and Breed with the last remaining ancient.

For too long, his actions and plans went unnoticed, but now the Order have uncovered his plans, and even rescued women from the labs where they were tortured and experimented on, forced to carry the children of the Ancient. Corinne Bishop was one of those women, abducted from her home and enslaved by Dragos. But her friends who promised to take her home are now stuck in Alaska, trapped by a blizzard, so Hunter agrees to escort her back to her Breedhaven.

Hunter feels that he knows Corinne from somewhere, but cannot recall where, and then, he suddenly remembers looking into the young seer, Mira's, eyes, and seeing a woman pleading for the life of someone she loved, begging Hunter not to kill him. And Corinne was that woman. He also finds himself struck by and attracted to her, something he doesn't quite understand, since he was raised to feel nothing and have no ties, except to Dragos. But he can't deny the pull he feels towards her.

Corinne wants nothing more than to go home, to the family she was stolen from. But there are lingering problems from her imprisonment. She continually fought her captors for almost the entire 70 years she was imprisoned, until she gave birth to a son that was stolen from her almost thirteen years ago. Now, even though she has been rescued, she wants her son back. She will do *anything* to rescue him.

But on her return home to Detroit, she finds out that the man who adopted her, who she thought of as her father, was the one who was complicit in her not being rescued. He was being blackmailed by Dragos, in his role as Starkn, head of the Agency. Discovery of his role in Corinne's abduction drove his son into Bloodlust, from which he only escaped by comitting suicide. This revelation destroys any peace Corinne might have been able to find in her old home, and her mother, who still loves her deeply, and Corinne ends up leaving with Hunter, travelling with him to New Orleans, where the Order has discovered a new link to Dragos.

Meanwhile, back in Boston, Sterling Chase, known to the other Order Warriors as "Harvard" is becoming increasingly aggressive and angry. As an Op spirals out of control into a fight, he finds himself giving into his bloodlust and causing no end of problems for his former friends and brothers. But when his uncontrolled investigation ends up with him outing another of Dragos' plans, he has to figure out what plans Dragos is hatching to destroy the Order once and for all, and if he possibly can- put a stop to it.

Hunter and Corinne's path takes them to the Big Easy, and to another of Dragos's pawns, Henry Vachon. Vachon has kept a lot of the data that flowed out of Dragos's labs, and unbeknownst to Hunter or Corinne, Vachon was one of the people responsible for Corinne's abduction and rape those many years ago. Hunter discovers this when he finally finds out his talent.

He quickly kills Vachon when Vachon starts bragging about Corinne being a fine piece of tail that anyone would want, implying all sorts of nasty things about them both. But when Hunter recovers the data from Dragos' labs, he quickly discovers that there is more information than just about Corinne and her son in there- there is information about himself as well. But what will he learn about his upbringing, and can Hunter and Corinne find her son and free him from Dragos' control, and the UV collar that is sure to kill him if Nathan ever tries to escape?

I was of two minds when reading this book. For one thing, Lara Adrian always writes well and movingly, and her treatment of Corinne Bishop was more than up to her usual high standards. But on the other hand, Hunter is sort of.... well, a rather non-entity. He'd been introduced several books back, but as the consummate killer, he rarely shows anything like a personality- certainly not as much of one as the other Breed Warriors of the Order from her past books.

But the story of Corinne and Hunter isn't the only one to make up this volume, and the seeming nonentityness of Hunter's personality also doesn't come on stage for much or very long. Instead, more time is given to Sterling Chase, setting him up as the possible protagonist of the next book, and of a problem- that the Order must move their HQ, as they have been infiltrated by a Trojan Horse from Dragos.

I felt that towards the end of the book that Hunter was starting to develop a strong and interesting personality, but by the time the "Happily Ever After" was made, it hadn't quite gelled yet and I would have liked to have seen more. Perhaps he'll be developed more in a future book, but the romance story here ended just when it was getting good. It felt a bit abrupt and rushed, and that was a shame.

I still enjoyed reading this book, but it wasn't one of her best. I felt Hunter needed to develop a stronger personality sooner to make the book a success on the romance front. The rest of the book was excellent and tightly plotted. Worth a read and somewhat recommended.

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