Although vampires have appeared (sparingly) in Christian fiction over the past year, author Ellen Maze, was one of the first brave souls to dip her quill in this blood-sucking sub-genre trend.
*Disclaimer: I received this novel for free, from the author, for the purpose of an honest review... a long time ago. Now I am finally getting to it, with my apologies for the delay. The good news? If you like it, there are two more books in this series now available.*
Here's the scoop:
(From the description at www.amazon.com)
Whoever thought writing a bestseller could be so dangerous?I enjoyed reading this book. I really liked the fresh, original take on the vampire fiction trend. This is not a romance about glittering hot guys who happen to be bloodsuckers; this novel follows a group of cursed men and women "living" without hope; surviving and thriving only by the further negation of their humanity; entertaining themselves through the countless years by inventing heinous games against mortal humans.
Author Beth Rider's second vampire novel has hit number one and she is flying high on her new-found fame, but at a fated book signing that runs late into the night, Beth is confronted by an evil she'd only experienced in nightmares. Jack Dawn, a supernatural monster belonging to an ancient race of bloodthirsty immortals known as the Rakum, vows to track down and kill the young writer because of the vile redemptive message her book is bringing his people. The Rakum have spread evil among mankind since the Beginning, growing in strength and influence with every passing century.
Jack's proselyte Michael Stone was brought up from his youth to be strong, sensible and oftentimes, brutal. But when he stumbles upon the beautiful and apparently innocent Beth Rider, he is instantly smitten, despite the fact that a few seconds later he realizes that she is the target of his Elder's fury. Puzzled by Jack's unreasonable condemnation, Michael takes it upon himself to protect the lovely author from the limitless lust of his brethren.
Facing the most terrifying trial of her life against creatures known only in fables, one simple woman will unintentionally threaten the very existence of a powerful and accursed people. In the climactic mêlée, it is a race to the death, or if Beth has her way, a race to the life-of every Rakum who makes the choice.
Ms. Maze has drawn very visible characters, each physical description clear enough to seem almost photogenic. She does a credible job of ratcheting the tension, (specifically Michael Stone's as he becomes more and more dissatisfied with his eternal existence) and her world-building skills -- all within the world we know -- are well played.
Here's what bothered me: I was expecting Beth Rider to be the protagonist. I really was. But she, in my opinion, was not the main event. This was Michael Stone's story more than Beth's. His character was clearly defined, clearly conflicted, and, even as a vampire, more easily identified with than squeaky-clean, faith-like-a-rock human (?) Beth Rider. I liked Michael. I believed in him and his struggle. And I wanted him to win.
Conversely, I didn't believe in Beth. And, actually, I had a hard time liking her at all. I'm all for strong women of faith, but Beth's acceptance of fiction being fact, of death chasing her, of having withstood torture that would, in all likelihood repeat itself was, (and this is my opinion only -- this book has gotten some RAVE reviews!), not believably portrayed. She was a little too (to borrow Joyce Meyer's words) "Sister Super Christian" for me to even... gulp... take her seriously.
But I liked Michael Stone. And I even "liked" (should I say appreciated?) many of the bad guys who suffered from doubt, power, and a whole bevy of misinformation.
I enjoyed the book and thought it was a fun reprise from the direction most Vampire Fiction was headed (although the trend seems to be playing out, somewhat, now.) With some unexpected twists, turns, betrayals, and allies, Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider is a worthwhile read.
I'd like to give this novel 4 stars for its author's originality of conception and attention to detail, but I think I have to knock one off due to my Beth issues. So, I'll cringe at the possible backlash from the many readers who found this book five-star worthy (and they were many!) and give 3 Stars to Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen Maze