The Vampire’s Bride – Gena Showalter

Back Cover copy:
He is Layel, king of the vampires, a master seducer no woman can deny. But since a rogue horde of dragons killed his beloved over two centuries ago, Layel has existed only for vengeance…until he meets Delilah.

Wary of love, the beautiful Amazon wants nothing to do with the tormented vampire. Yet there’s no denying their consuming desire every time he nears her.

Neither trusts the other—nor can they survive alone. For in an impossible game of the gods’ devising, they’ve been trapped on an island, about to face the ultimate challenge: surrender to the passion that will bind them forever…or be doomed to an eternity apart.

Two hundred years ago dragons tortured and killed Layel’s beloved mate, Susan, and ever since he has been on a single-minded mission to erase the dragon race from existence. There’s no room for women, no room for pleasure and certainly no room for emotions such as love. That is…Until his encounter with Delilah, an amazon who secretly wants love and a man for her own, to have and keep, contrary to the amazons’ ways.
When they are forced to battle each other in a silly competition devised by the gods, they discover that not even the gods can interfere with destiny and true love.

Layel is the vampire king. He is cold and ruthless but inside he’s hurting. He is punishing himself for failing his mate and not being able to safe her.
Delilah is an amazon warrioress. She is loyal, fierce and quick-witted.

Both of them are very proud, strong and full of determination. They fight each other both literally and figuratively and when they are not doing that they are fighting their feelings for one another. Delilah soon tries to accept and embrace her feelings for Layel, the only man who has ever made her feel these feelings. Layel on the other hand does everything to deny and reject his feelings for Delilah. He sees it as betraying Susan and fights them with all he has, hurting Delilah emotionally in the process. Winning Layel’s love turns out to be a very difficult and emotionally draining task for Delilah. She has to fight not only his love for and devotion to his former mate but also his determination to never love again.

There are many secondary characters: gods, creatures of Atlantis in all forms and sizes but also main and secondary characters from previous books. Some of the supporting cast were more important than others but all were well drawn without taking too much of the attention. Parallel to Layel and Delilah’s romance there are two secondary love stories. One is completed during the book, that of the nymph Shivawn and the vampire/demon Alyssa. Their story began in THE NYMPH KING (book 3). Although it was one of the secondary storylines in the book, it was no less in its intensity or beauty. It definitely was an added treat to this already excellent book.
The other romance is that of the vampire Zane and the amazon Nola. They have ultimately gotten their own story in the series by way of a short novella, THE AMAZON’S CURSE, which I also read and which has been reviewed separately.

With THE VAMPIRE’S BRIDE I loved going back tot the world of Atlantis, created by Gena Showalter, with all its magical beings and creatures and the constant battles between them. And Gena gave this book a twist that was right up my alley, it was Survivor meets Paradise Hotel meets Gena Showalter’s Atlantis series. As an avid TV and reality shows watcher and a big fan of Gena Showalter’s work I took this book in and enjoyed it immensely. For me this was the best in the Atlantis series so far. Everything from romance to action and from dialogues to emotions, fell into place perfectly.

I must firstly admit that it was strange to see the dragons, a race that I loved in the previous books in this series, in a different light through Layel’s eyes. To me the dragons have always been the good guys in this series and Layel truly the bad guy, at least up until the third book (THE NYMPH KING). But when given the facts about what happened to him and his mate in the past I could not blame him his behavior and even became sympathetic to his actions. I really resented the dragons in the prologue of this book.

The semblance of aggressiveness, desires bordering desperation and an abundant amount of self-reproach linger throughout the entire book among several characters both primary and secondary. This gave the book that little edge I’ve come to like and appreciate in Gena Showalter’s books.
With this one Gena has delivered yet another winner to my bookshelves.

The book captivated me to the point of not wanting to put it down and enraptured me with its fast-paced and action-packed plot that was interlaced with small intriguing side plots. The romance was passion-filled and imperative. Showalter’s writing comprises humorous, witty dialogues that are simply brilliant, action sequences that leave me breathless and descriptions of emotions that are so vivid they touch my own. Her compelling writing style was displayed in every aspect of this book: the characters, the plot and the romance. By now it’s clear to me that everything by Gena Showalter has the ability to mesmerize and fascinate me, this book was no exception.

Quotes:
For years he’d assumed his heart was withered, dead. And yet, hearing the excitement in her voice, the foolish organ sped to life, nearly beating through his ribs.

That bloodsucking fiend. That black-hearted warrior. That…man! He had no conscience, no sense of fairness. And she…liked it. A sigh slipped from her, and she nearly melted to the ground in a boneless heap of feminine delight.


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