Madison and Alex are in love, despite the fact that she is a young girl who just inherited a fortune, and he is a centuries old vampire. But when Madison is kidnapped by ancient enemies of Alex and his vampiric kin, their safe and comfortable world is turned upside down. Alex and crew must return to a place they hate, the place where they were made, and confront their past. In the midst of this, the mysterious and ancient tale of Aelia unfolds, until we learn how she factors into Madison and Alex's lives.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but I absolutely loved this second installment of the Marchwood Vampires. Shalini Boland does a phenomenal job of weaving ancient backstory with contemporary plotlines. As with the first book, my favorite parts of this book were the tales of old, the backstory set in the first millennium. I found that ancient storyworld to be rich and vividly created by the author. I could smell the dust of the Byzantine empire as I read. I loved getting a little more insight into the lineage of these vampires.
With the contemporary storyline, there are some shades of Twilight now and then, and I do not think that is a bad thing. In terms of vampire romantic fiction, there certainly is a formula that works, and putting the human damsel in distress works. But Madison is, in my opinion, a much stronger character than Bella Swan (who I find to be a bit of a simpering, emo bore). She does not sit around waiting to be rescued, she takes matters into her own hands. Sure, she loves Alex, but he is not her whole world, her whole identity. She is her own woman, and I just love that.
I liked that the book ends on a bit of a question, it really hooks readers in and makes them anticipate book 3. I also liked some of the character twists and red herrings throughout the book. They certainly threw me for a loop, and give a lot of dimension to the story.
All in all, a great sequel book in a promising series.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)