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on Jan. 04, 2013 :
Anna Rose’s “Siofra”
A lot of people are damned tired of tales about romantic nightcrawlers that friggin’ sparkle in the sun. And thank the night this novel isn’t one of those.
Siofra starts the reader at the scene where a well kempt man lays dying from a shot to the chest. Here then appears the main character, Siofra, a vampire whose name ties back to the ancient pagan roots of Ireland. She feeds off the dying man and wonders, between fading heartbeats, what turns brought him to his mortal end.
How an author devises vampirism is up in the air in today’s literature, so yet Anna Rose makes sure her fans understand the ground rules and nocturnal logic. But what I found just as impressive was the author establishing a breathing backstory to help readers understand the social and psychological trajectory that forges Siofra’s personality through life, death and the undeath to follow.
Just as critical to my full enjoyment of Siofra was the research it must’ve taken to frame the life and times of Anna’s main character. The seeming mundane, possibly hopeless life of Siofra crosses the events of history in a world flushed out by the troubled history of Ireland along with the good and bad of her people. You can clearly envision the history of secondary characters by the way they stand, or how they handle a knife, and what state of health they exhibit. And complicated personalities aren’t restricted to the realm of humans and vampires, as we learn from the dogs or horses included in this novel as more than mere props.
If nightcrawlers are your thing, but you say, “Hold the cheese, please,” then Siofra is the story for you. Anna Rose has successfully stepped beyond classic vampire stories while avoiding the minefield of today’s saturation of “fang-mances.” She reminds us that living or undead, people are… complicated, and carry many shades of gray inside.
Reviewed by John Steiner
(reviewed long after purchase)