Monday, November 21, 2011

Review: The Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater

Title: The Tale of the Vampire Bride
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Series: The Vampire Bride #1
Pages: 490
Publisher: Library of Horror Press
Genre: Horror
Source: via agent in exchange for review.

Goodreads Description:
All Lady Glynis Wright ever wanted was the freedom to live her life as she pleased. Unfortunately, her aristocratic parents want her to marry well and settle into a life of luxury. When her family becomes guests to one of the most fearsome and powerful vampires of all time, Glynis finds her fate is far more terrible than an arranged marriage. Trapped in the power of her new master, she fights for freedom, revenge against her creator, and the chance to be with the one she truly loves. 

My Review:
What an amazing story! I admit, I was a tad skeptical at first. I am a big sucker for judging books by their covers and this one's just doesn't appeal to me very much. I like the vivid red of the woman's hair, but I need a little more oomph to make me want to read. Luckily, I knew that if it was by the amazing Rhiannon Frater, it was bound to be fantastic, and I was totally right! The Tale of the Vampire Bride takes you on a terrorizing and completely entrancing adventure from the beginning to the very last page. It's not just a paranormal story. It's a Gothic horror story that takes you to the darkest possible extreme of vampire nature.  

The book begins with Lady Glynis Wright and her family traveling around Europe to try to find a husband for unruly Glynis. Then, they are unexpectedly invited to visit a mysterious Count living on an estate somewhere in the wilds of Hungary. He has taken an interest in the rowdy red-head and wants to visit with her and her family in order to see if he wants to marry her. The Wright's journey is plagued with troubles though, from storms that seem to never move, to wolves that follow their carriage. Then when they actually get to the castle, they find a decaying shell of a castle and the Count is dark and terrifying. Glynis's father decides that he doesn't want his daughter married to such a cold man and attempts to leave. That is when Count Vlad Dracula gets angry...and that never turns out well.

I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's like Rhiannon Frater took the aura and feel of a true Gothic novel and spun it into something entirely new. It is like reading Jane Eyre, or Frankenstein, or Dracula, except with a more interesting female character, and language that is much easier to understand than those classics mentioned above. She adds elements to her stories that I have never seen in any other vampire literature. One of these things was the addition of the vampire brides and Vlad's treatment of them. It was so odd to see vampires who are strong, beautiful, and powerful be treated like servants and slaves. Vlad was a true vampire in his control over his wives. I always wondered about that in other vampire books. Wouldn't a vampire that had been raised in the 1700's prefer their women submissive? Why are they attracted to the kick-ass heroines of most urban-fantasy novels when the women who existed for the last 300 years or so were subservient and obeyed their every whim? Vlad acts as you would expect both a man and a vampire to act. He's violent, dominant, and prone to fits of blood lust and anger, and of course hates it when anyone disrespects his authority.

While Vlad was a truly monstrous vampire, he was also a complete horror. You absolutely hate him from the very beginning because of the callous way he kills off Glynis's family because they get in his way. In addition, Glynis's transition to vampire is made even more horrific by Vlad being a sadistic bastard and by raping her and then making Glynis feed on her own mother. The way he treats Glynis and his other wives leaves him almost entirely unrelateable. He isn't some romantic and dashing figure of an aristocratic gentleman. He is a sadistic and infuriating creature that you can't help but despise. It is only near the very end of the novel, when things are in play that can't be undone, when you finally catch a humanizing glance into his tortured psyche and only barely lose your complete hatred for every fiber of his being. I so thouroughly enjoyed him that I can't even find the words to express it. A good villain is just as important as having a good hero. More important even. I absolutely hate it when a villain is stupid or pointless and is easy to defeat. Vlad is none of those things and he makes probably one of the best villains I've seen in years. He is so...amazingly horrible!

I am so intrigued by all of the happenings in Buda. Even though I was engaged in the novel, when I got to the part when Vlad and Glynis traveled to Buda I was completely sucked into the story and hardly put my book down for longer than the time it took to run to the bathroom, eat, or sleep. There was SO much that came into play in the amazing city! The vampire hunters were terrifying and possessing, the damphir was confusing and compelling, and the fallen was so cool. There is a whole entire underworld of supernatural that exists outside of just Vlad and his castle and it was amazing to get a small peek into that world. I am so excited to start the next book Vengeance of the Vampire Bride, because I really hope that it digs deeper into this new supernatural world. I also want to see more of Glynis's secret lover Ignatius. He was really hot...for a priest :P
I give Tale of the Vampire Bride 5 keys. This is a true horror story in a genre that has changed from a theme of blood and terror to sparkling hotties and love. These are your old school, terrifying, hypnotizing vampires of the past, but with a writing style that is modernized to a point that is really enjoyable. I know I have balked from reading traditional Gothic literature, even *gasp* Dracula simply because of the writing style and the archaic phrases that trip me up and make me spend like...2 weeks reading one 250 page book. The Tale of the Vampire Bride captures the haunting tone of Stoker's Dracula while maintaining character development and beautiful prose that by far surpasses many of the great's in today's paranormal genre.


  1. I read an interview with this author and after reading it, I have been wanting to get my hands on a copy. Now that I have read your review, I want to read it even more!

    Great review, Andra!

  2. I really want to get both her series. Enjoying Fangtastic Fridays.

  3. Your right the cover does make you think twice. But after reading your review I am putting it on my to-read list. Thanks!

  4. i want to buy this book butit was sold out in TBD..
    luv story about fang (vampire) and the cover is cute japanese manga..i love it...

  5. I haven't hear about this booj until now but sound interesting. thanks for the review

  6. My first thought when I saw the cover was, "Are you kidding me? Pass." Thanks to your review though I have reconsidered my original thought. This book sounds really interesting. I'm just disappointed that the book doesn't do the story any justice at all.

  7. This sounds really good! I'm reading my first Frater novel right now, The First Days, and Frater does horror really well!