A Victory that Counts

Rated 4.40/5 based on 5 reviews
For the first time in five centuries, pandurs and vampires work together to defeat the new breed of vampires that threaten to upset the current order of things. With a prize put on her head, unreliable informers, exploding arrows, and turned pandurs, Liana Cantacuzino leads her troops through a terrible siege, while fighting for her own survival. The second novella in The Impaler Legacy series More

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Words: 38,620
Language: English
ISBN: 9781301905690
About Ioana Visan

Award-winning writer Ioana Visan has always dreamed about reaching the stars, but since she can't, she writes about it.

After fighting the apocalypse aftermath in "Human Instincts", she played with shapeshifters in “Blue Moon Café Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks”, and then she dealt with vampires in “The Impaler Legacy” series, before tackling longer works like a fantasy trilogy and a science fiction series.

Aside from publishing short stories in various Romanian magazines and anthologies, she published a Romanian short story collection "Efectul de nautil" and the Romanian edition of "Human Instincts".

She was awarded the Encouragement Award by The European Science Fiction Society at Eurocon 2013.

For more information, please visit http://www.ioanavisan.tk

Also in The Impaler Legacy

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Alyssa Groeteke on Dec. 16, 2013 :
After reading book 1.5, Sweet Surrender, I was left wanting to know more about Liana and Jesse. What can I say? I'm a romantic at heart. It touched on them some and how they'd fallen into a relationship, but I really wanted more! This book was more about solving the problem, and Liana has such low hopes of them beating the new breed it kind of made me depressed.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Tracy G on Nov. 12, 2013 :
This story follows the adventures of Liana as she and a group of vampires and pandurs try to eradicate the New Breeds, a group of vampires that are stronger, fearless and will fight to the death. Liana and her army travel to New Zealand to try to fight the infestation, however, Liana soon realizes they're in a losing battle.

This was a great continuation of The Impaler Legacy. I really enjoyed the interactions between the characters. I was frustrated by Liana and Jesse's interactions. I felt that they seemed to be drifting apart. I was definitely intrigued by the New Breeds. I wanted to know who was creating them and for what purpose. The warlike setting was interesting, and the torture scene was not for the faint of heart. Overall, this was a great book. It was easy to read and well written. I can't wait to read more and see where this wonderful author takes the characters next.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: mireilleg on Oct. 25, 2013 :
The first novella ended in quite a tense situation, which continues throughout this one. In this second installment of the series, time has jumped forward a bit. After learning in the previous novel that there is a new breed of vampires, which even makes the older race of vampires feel threatened, Romania, once the worlds only vampire-free country has striken a deal with this older race, to join arms against the new threat.

For this cause, Liana, our female leadcharacter is sent out to New Zealand with an army of Pandurs (Romania's guards, initially trained to defend the country against vampires) where the new breed of vampires stems from. This to learn more about their origins, nature, and most important, how to defend themselves against them.

In this warlike setting, which is undoubtly a lot grittier than the first novella, there are some expected fight scenes, even including torture and slaughter, yet it never gets too gruesome for the squeemish ones amongst us. There are some twists and turns, which make for an interesting plot, which I am very curious to follow into the third installments of this series.

Frequent readers of Ioana Visan's work will know that a laugh or a pun are never that far around the corner, no matter how bad the circumstances may be. That combined with some romance, which luckily gets not in the way of the plot, makes it for a much lighter read than my above attempt at summary may suggest.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: rox tao on Oct. 08, 2013 :
A Victory that Counts a fost o lectura uimitoare. Intr-o perioada in care romanele fantasy ies pe banda rulanta iar vampirii sunt probabil cele mai populare creaturi supranaturale, Ioana Visan reuseste sa construiasca o poveste surprinzatoare, in care absolut nimic nu pare sa se intample cum te-ai putea astepta. Pe langa cadrul nemaintalnit pana acum si situatia generala a lumii, a omenirii in raport cu vampirii, autoarea ofera si o serie de evenimente pe care iti este imposibil sa le poti anticipa.

Poate ca unii cititori ar spune ca primul volum ar mai fi putut fi asemanat vag cu alte povesti fantasy, doar din pricina tipologiei personajelor: o eroina ce lupta dintotdeauna impotriva vampirilor este obligata brusc sa colaboreze cu unul dintre cei mai vechi reprezentanti ai acestei rase si care, pe deasupra, mai este si incredibil de puternic, misterios si fermecator. Insa cea de-a doua carte a seriei nu seamana cu nimic din ceea ce am citit pana acum! Autoarea a facut referire in primul volum la o specie noua de vampiri, mai puternici, mai cruzi si manati strict de instincte primare. Noii vampiri nu pun in primejdie doar soarta omenirii, ci ameninta de asemenea si existenta vampirilor obisnuiti. In cartea A Victory that Counts, suntem pusi fata in fata cu acesti noi vampiri si ajungem sa ii cunoastem mai indeaproape si sa intrezarim planurile diabolice care se ascund de fapt in spatele acestui paravan perfect. Suntem martori ai unui adevarat razboi, unul in care doua rase pana atunci inamice, pandurii si vampirii clasici sunt nevoite acum sa lucreze impreuna pentru a incerca cel putin sa stopeze invazia noii specii. Insa rezultatul este aproape dezastruos. In ciuda unei colaborari lipsita de incidente, noua specie este aproape imposibil de infrant. In fruntea celor doua armate ale binelui stau bineinteles, Liana si Max, alaturi de alte personaje pe care le-am cunoscut anterior: Radu, fost pandur si membru al Micului Consiuliu, actual vampir si doctorul Jesse, iubitul Lianei.

Volumul este surprinzator, lipsit de momente previzibile, condimentat cu tradari neasteptate, aliante pe care nu le-ai fi banuit, tragedii cutremuratoare si scene emotionante. Avem ocazia sa o cunoastem mai bine si pe Liana, descoperind-o intr-o serie de situatii tensionate si noi chiar si pentru ea. Daca pana acum protagonista a beneficiat de un mediu relativ stabil, de siguranta unui stil de viata solicitant, dar binecunoscut si sigur, ea este deodata aruncata intr-un alt colt de lume, pusa in fruntea unei armate a carei soarta depinde de ea, cu mii de vieti in mainile ei, lipsita de un sprijin neconditionat, cu acces restrictionat la anumite proceduri si fortata sa demonstreze ca in ciuda acestor conditii, poate face fata adevaratului ei rol. Iar rasturnarile de situatie care apar nu fac decat sa creasca tensiunea si sa o determine pe Liana sa ia decizii uneori dureroase, sa isi testeze limitele si sa isi demonstreze ei insasi ca se ridica la inaltimea numelui pe care il poarta. Sub masca impenetrabila a femeii puternice de pana acum descoperim o Liana care se indoieste uneori de capacitatile sale, o Liana care are nevoie de sustinere, de incurajare si iubire, mai ales in momentele in care in jurul ei totul se prabuseste. Am perceput rolul doctorului Jesse pe campul de lupta ca fiind mai mult o unealta prin care ne este dezvaluita adevarata fata a protagonistei.

Max ramane la fel de misterios ca si in prima carte, insa autoarea ne ofera cateva ocazii in care putem intrezari o mica parte reala si intima a personalitatii sale. O surpriza placuta a fost Radu, personajul care in volumul anterior parea mai mult un subiect tabu. In conditiile in care pandurii si membrii Micului Consiliu sunt antrenati de-a lungul vietii sa urasca rasa vampirilor, scopul lor fiind lupta impotriva acestora, iar vampirii stiu ca pandurii sunt cel mai temut dusman al lor de sute de ani, este de inteles motivul pentru care toate personajele evitau sa vorbeasca despre ceea ce i s-a intamplat lui Radu. Asa cum subliniaza si autoarea, el este o persoana care nu isi mai poate gasi locul in lume. Nu mai apartine nici taberei formate din Micul Consiliu si panduri, insa nu va face parte niciodata pe deplin nici dintre vampiri. Desi nu este respins pe fata de nici unii, este evident ca nici nu va fi vreodata acceptat. Mi-a placut enorm personajul, mi se pare poate chiar mai fascinant decat insisi protagonistii. Este extrem de interesant modul in care un astfel de personaj face trecerea intre doua roluri atat de diferite, in care incearca sa se adapteze si sa faca fata statutului de anomalie sub eticheta caruia va fi nevoit de acum sa traiasca. Mai ales ca cea mai importanta lupta nu se duce doar societatea care il priveste cu ochi banuitori ci cu el insusi. La fel de curioasa ma face si Spanu si abia astept sa aflu ce se va intampla cu el.

Una dintre cele mai importante calitati ale seriei este tocmai faptul ca autoarea ofera fiecarui personaj – principal sau secundar – o poveste. Nu chiar intreaga istorie a vietii acestora, dar cate o poveste tulburatoare, cate un fragment din ceea ce au trait care are o importanta mai mare decat orice altceva ar fi experimentat si care le-a modelat pentru totdeauna personalitatea si modul de a privi viata. In felul acesta, Ioanei Visan ii reuseste o perspectiva pe care eu una nu am mai intalnit-o pana acum. Personajele raman cumva la distanta de cititor, nu isi dezvaluie toate secretele, nu ajungi sa le cunosti in totalitate, nu poti spune ca ai intr-adevar idee despre cum vor reactiona, personalitatile si actiunile lor sunt imprevizibile. Insa totodata, esti martor la o serie de amintiri intime, ai acces la o particica ascunsa a sufletului lor si devii cu atat mai constient de importanta acestor ganduri tainice pe care le-ai primit, tocmai prin contrastul creat.

Finalul aduce o schimbare in bine, dar misterele si problemele sunt departe de a se fi incheiat. Exact asa cum sugereaza si titlul, finalul este “a victory that counts”. Este pasul final in metamorfoza Lianei, ceea ce o transforma dintr-un membru obisnuit al Micului Consiliu intr-o adevarata conducatoare, intr-o persoana pregatita sa joace oricat de dur este nevoie pentru a-si proteja semenii. Si in acelasi timp, marcheaza si inceputul unei ere noi, in care colaborarea aproape incredibila dintre vampiri si panduri devine ceva posibil, iar modul in care cele doua tabere se privesc incepe sa se schimbe. Prin urmare, volumul urmator se anunta a fi chiar mai impresionant decat acesta!

Plusuri:

Scenariul extrem de original, perspectiva unica asupra personajelor si cursul total neasteptat al actiunii.

Minusuri:

Lungimea volumului :) A Victory that Counts este exact genul acela de carte pe care o citesti pe nerasuflate si pe care ai vrea sa nu o termini niciodata. Iar faptul ca este o nuvela, deci chiar mai scurt decat un roman este cu atat mai frustrant. Am oscilat intruna intre tendinta de a citi mai repede ca sa aflu ce se intampla si dorinta de a-mi tempera ritmul tocmai pentru a ma bucura cat mai mult de atmosfera creata de autoare.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Antonio Simon, Jr on Sep. 03, 2013 :
This novel, second in the series, follows Liana's exploits amid an inter-species war. Once enemies, the vampires and the pandurs (fierce human fighters) now have joined forces against a common threat: a new breed of vampire out for blood.

I've read enough vampire books to know what to expect when I come across one in a book. Even so, I would like to have seen a clearer depiction of these vampires, or perhaps a new twist on the vampire theme. Likewise for the pandurs.

I know this is the second book in the series, and I've not read the first, which may put me at a disadvantage in terms of knowing what the series is about. Yet, I feel that the book would have benefited from a few extra passages to bring the reader up to speed.

That aside, this novel is an interesting take on the "humans versus vampires" theme. The "new breed" of vampire is ferocious to the point of animal savagery, so much so that even the older race of vampires has realized the threat their "cousins" (in name only) pose. Furthermore, Liana makes for a charismatic and strong female lead, who commands the respect and admiration of her troops, whether they be human or vampire.

On the whole, this novel made for an entertaining read, particularly for fans of the vampire novel genre.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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