Genre: Horror/Supernatural Romance.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Favorite character: Sofia.
Favorite quote: “Both good and evil vie for the passions of the heart.” –Toma.
All in all: It wasn't for me, but I think other people would like it.
Synopsis: Toma, a Russian soldier and his friend Alek, are chosen by Catherine the Great to protect the Cantemir family and their estate from harm. As soon as they arrive, they fall for the unmarried daughters Lucine and Natasha Cantemir. However, there is a seductive force in the neighboring castle that threatens the souls of the Cantemirs and Toma has to risk everything to save his true love Lucine.
Please note: This review has many spoilers.
My Thoughts: I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I think a lot of it had to do with my expectations. I’ve seen Ted Dekker’s books everywhere and looked at a few in the bookstore but have never bought any. When I saw this one at the library I was very excited. Look at that cover! It lured me in and conjured up images of gothic intrigue. Dekker is a New York Times bestselling author and in the beginning of this book, there is blurb after blurb from readers praising Immanuel’s Veins. So, I was really expecting a lot.
The descriptions were lovely; lots of red, black, crystal and candlelight. It was easy for me to imagine the castles, the grounds, the clothes, and the people. It was also a fast read and the writing flowed for the most part even if the story didn’t for me.
There is a lot of mystery attached to Immanuel’s Veins. The book jacket reads like a riddle and it is lovely and lyrical and speaks of evil and love. I think that the author wanted to write a vampire book (there I spoiled it!) and set it in a time before they were known in popular culture. The vampires are among mankind to “…win the love of mortals away from God.” They do this by claiming to use love instead of power. Blood is not only a physical necessity in their world, but very symbolic as well. They compare their own blood sacrifices and rites with biblical sacrifices. They feel their own way of life, bringing people over with love is akin to Jesus dying on the cross because he sacrificed himself for love not religion. The mythos of the vampire that the author created was interesting even though it was a legend I had heard hints of before. What I found more interesting was the religious overtones that the mythology brought about, the theories and their views.
A lot of it was a bit over the top for me, but perhaps the author wanted to create a sense of impropriety, unease and just plain inappropriateness of the vampires and their behaviors and beliefs. I had thought they would have wanted to fit in with the public, but hey, maybe I’ve read too many books. It was difficult for me to believe that this coven or "Kiss" would make spectacles of themselves outside the safety of their own lair, but it was even harder to believe that only Toma was bothered by it. Another thing that stuck out to me was the use of contemporary terms and phrases in the setting of the 1770s. It wasn’t done a lot and it wasn’t a huge deal, but it was enough to make me scratch my head. Perhaps it had to do with a reference to one of the characters coming from a “different dimension.”
Toma and Lucine, the two main characters fell in love in the span of one week. There was some flirting and conversation, but no depth to their relationship. However, Toma’s feelings are the impetus for him choosing love over duty and realizing that he will sacrifice himself to save Lucine. For some reason, though, I did accept that they were in love, or at least thought they were in love. This part of the story didn’t bother me as much as others.
Toma wept an awful lot and there were several scenes of him with tears streaming down his cheeks. Unfortunately this did the opposite to elicit sympathy from me. Also Lucine…at the beginning of the book there was a reference to how she took revenge on a man who had wronged her. This put me in mind of a very strong, fierce, independent woman. But the description of her throughout the rest of the book didn’t quite live up to this. She was very demure and wanted to do the right thing. Then when she fell into the “evil clutches” of Vlad van Valerik, the neighboring Russian who wants to marry her, he turns on her, physically abuses her and she feels she deserves it. Okay, so maybe she was under his thrall and everything, but I wondered where the strong woman was or why the mention of it was in there in the first place.
This story was simple enough to be strong, and the players had potential. However, I feel that it didn’t have a solid enough foundation to hold up to the richness of metaphors, secrets and religious undertones.
2 out of 5 stars.
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