Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie

Urban fantasy is a fairly untapped subgenre within the scope of Inspirational Fiction. With Kiss of Night, Debbie Viguie doesn't just tap into the market -- she sinks her teeth into it, tucking thoughtful theological musings within an intriguing tale of bloodlust and... umm... regular lust.


When Susan travels to Prague to bury her beloved grandmother, a new and frightening world is revealed to be hidden within her family tree. Susan's belief in the supernatural doesn't include vampires... until she meets one. And kisses him.

Raphael fought as a knight in the Crusades, serving only his lust for killing and glutting himself in its thrill. Cursed by a vampire to become the immortal embodiment of the monster he already was, Raphael lives the centuries in constant remorse, knowing the reality of the God whose existence he blasphemed in life.

War is coming between sects of vampires -- a war that could mean the end of the human race. Even with powerful vampire allies, Raphael cannot stop it without the help of Susan -- and the legacy her family has protected for generations.

Like the cold drizzle of rain hitting badly sunburned skin on a foggy, moonless night.

In other words: breathless tension coats Raphael and Susan's interactions with a right-on-the-edge-of-passion thrill. Yet there is something both ominously attractive and refreshingly uncomfortable about the romance as it blossoms, albeit grudgingly, between the innocent young woman and the jaded vampire.

I'm eerily hooked.


The introduction of a real-life historical figure (as a vampire) was a bit jarring and I felt it ever-so-slightly damaged the integrity of the plot. That being said, the skill at which Viguie plants ideas and intrigues about this character into her readers' minds soothes those reservations. I will be among many readers anxiously awaiting the next two books of this planned trilogy to see how the author will make this character's role (and so many others) play out.


Taking place in modern-day Prague, the vampire lore in Kiss of Night is fairly old school, yet it never becomes stale. All the classic vampire-fighting weapons come into play: crosses, holy water, sunshine, garlic, angry peasant mobs, and wooden stakes -- but the Bram Stoker-ish staples are interestingly executed (yes, that pun was intended) and refreshed by the modern characters with whom they secretly exist. Add in the draw of a dangerous attraction between a handsome vampire (Raphael) and the young woman of faith (Susan) who is destined to become a new breed of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you can just go ahead and sign me up for the sequel, cuz I'm in.

Read it.

Viguie's original take on explaining the existence of vampires could keep your book club (or Bible study group) discussion going on for hours. Depending upon the open-mindedness of your particular group, it could even get -- dare I say? -- bloody. I'd advise you to brace yourself to encounter an angry peasant mob if your homegirls tend to sit on the -- ahem -- conservative side of the church.

Sure to bring some mainstream readers over to the dark side of Inspirational Fiction, this novel may also tempt some of the more traditional Inspirational readers to challenge their idea of what "vampire fiction" is all about. Debbie Viguie's vampires may not sparkled in the sun, but that doesn't keep the ink of her dark tale from glistening upon the page. Kiss of Night is more than just another vampire romance; it's a thought-provoking read that, like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, may cause readers to question their definition of a monster.

(This review originally appeared at the USA Today romance fiction blog, Happy Ever After.)

Make sure to stop by on Saturday as we go Outside the Author's Studio with Debbie Viguie!

Serena's Rating for Kiss of Night:


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