Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

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 distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

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 new 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.

OnceBurnedI love the back-of-the-book summaries for paranormal romance novels. They are always so dramatic. Anyway, I read this book partly on the recommendation of Liza Barrett over at Classy Cat Books and partly because Vlad is one of my favorite characters from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost and I desperately wanted to read more about him. I have to admit, this book was not what I expected.

The book was told from the POV of Leila. Leila is a young woman (I could never quite figure out how old she was, which bugged me. I thought she was like, 18, and then at other times she acted more like 26. I can’t explain why this was such a problem for me, but it was). After a gruesome accident when she was a teenager, Leila mysteriously gains the power to channel electricity and also read other people’s past and sometimes their future with a touch. Maybe someone can explain to me how touching a downed power line can imbue someone with psychic powers because I couldn’t figure it out. I was able to buy in the channeling electricity thing. But seeing the future AND also being able to “link minds” with other people was a huge stretch for me. This bummed me out, because she was a cool character with a no nonsense attitude that I appreciated and enjoyed. I did think her attitude and reactions to some things was a little stereotypical and I got a “it’s been done feeling” but otherwise she was decently written.

I wish parts of this book would have been told from Vlad’s perspective. We get a very few glimpses into his memories from Leila’s weird power, but that didn’t tell us much. All the descriptions from Leila were colored by her trying to figure out whether or not she was in love with him. It wasn’t very creatively done, and I didn’t feel like I got to know Vlad any better than I already knew him from the Night Huntress books. He didn’t seem like the same character as he did in those books either. I was expecting a bit more of a sense of humor and less evil-vampire type-casting. Seemed a little overdone to me.

The cameo by Cat, Bones and company was a nice touch but didn’t make much sense. It didn’t help me understand where in the Night Huntress timeline this book fit in (I guess after Night Huntress book 6? I don’t remember if Leila was mentioned in that book or not). Seemed like Frost just threw the cameo in because she felt like she had to. I would have liked more interaction between Leila and Cat. That would have been interesting.

I feel like I spent this entire review complaining haha, but I did like this book. It was action packed and I did like the way Frost added parts of the Dracula and Vlad the Impaler legends, including actual locations that exist in real life. I’m definitely going to read the next book in this series, because even though I didn’t love this book I still can’t get enough of Vlad. I just hope he’s a little more interesting in the next book Twice Tempted.

Happy reading,

-Branwen

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