Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Publisher: Harper Collins
Released: June 26, 2012
Format: Ebook, 352 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
She's a mortal with dark powers...
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude... until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic call to the world's most infamous vampire...
He's the Prince of Night...
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all- but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a weapon against him- a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. WHen Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.
In my opinion, Vlad is the best character in the entire Night Huntress series, including any spin-offs. In Once Burned, we finally are able to get a glimpse into who Vlad really is. By the way, it really is only a glimpse, since this is the first book in the new Night Prince series. It only scratches the surface. But it entices you enough to dive into the next book in the series.
This book opens with the introduction of Frankie (or Leila) living in a carnival community in Florida. Her unique abilities have left her no where to go but to a carnival to survive. She is unable to touch any human for fear of killing him/her which leads to a very solitary and lonely life. Enter Vlad, a very solitary figure himself. He is surrounded by his people however, each one fears him. He has no real relationship with anyone. On one fateful night, they are thrown together.
Vlad and Leila have immediate chemistry. Vlad can touch her without injury, and she challenges him at every turn. When I started reading this book, I was afraid that they would have an happily ever after immediately, like the other spin-off books. Ms. Frost starts developing their relationship slowly. This really isn't a love at first sight book. Both have their issues where they are unable to find true love in their lives. Due to her abilities, Leila has never known physical or emotional love and Vlad's past experiences has left incapable of love. However, you feel their chemistry and attachment to each other. They have a foundation but can they build a true and lasting relationship on it.
As seen from the other books, Vlad is a cold and brutal vampire. Leila is able to look underneath his cold exterior and find an affection and possessiveness toward her that holds her to him. But Leila is not a weak and submissive woman. I really enjoyed that she could hold her own against Vlad. Even his most trusted people couldn't believe her constant challenges. I liked the way Ms. Frost portrayed Vlad's feelings, his toleration of Leila's outbursts. In others, he would punish or kill on the spot but Leila is treated differently.
Throughout the book, you are shown how brutal and violent Vlad can be. Ms. Frost holds no punches on who Vlad is. Leila's journey on whether she can accept it or not is really what holds this book together. Of course, there is the fights, chases and whatnot. But the growing relationship between Vlad and Leila is the core of the book.
I'm happy to say that this is not a really over the top romance novel. There is almost no love at all, but I think there will be. It makes me want to read more to find out. Ms. Frost did a great job with the first book in the Night Prince series. I can't wait to read more.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars