Vampires eh? You’ve gotta love ’em. Well, no, actually. I never loved them. In fact, they terrified the c**p out of me. When I was young, many, many moons ago, I remember being paralysed with fear watching the old Bela Lugosi black and white Dracula films. And have you ever been round The Dracula Experience in Whitby? Dear God, my sister-in-law and I were too petrified to move as a chilling voice warned us not to dawdle as something may be behind us, but not to run either, “for to run implies a chase.” See, it’s stayed with me. I never liked Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Not the book – the actual character. He wasn’t the anguished love-lorn passionate creature of the film now, was he? And Twilight left me cold. I watched the first two films but just couldn’t see it as anything other than teenage tosh. I’ve been assured that the films get better after that and that the books are great but I just wasn’t that bothered. Vampires. Nah. I’ll leave them be thank you very much and hope that they return the favour.
Except…well, now I’ve read No Such Thing As Immortality by Sarah Tranter. And you know what? I’m in love with vampires. Well, one vampire to be exact. Nathaniel Gray, or Nate to his friends and family, all of which happen to be vampires, too. For two hundred years Nathaniel and his sister Elizabeth, brother-in-law Frederick, and friends Madeline and James, have lived on Nate’s ancestral estate, Ridings, in the Derbyshire countryside, feasting on badgers, foxes and black pudding. These are not your average vampires. They don’t want to kill humans. Forced into a way of non-life that leaves him lonely and with his emotions all but vanquished, the only real feeling he has left is self loathing, defining himself as a monster.
Then one night, he is involved in a car accident, something that is unthinkable for a vampire. And suddenly his emotions are entangled with the girl in the car, the pretty and innocent Rowan Locke, and Nate’s awakening begins.
The keyword to this novel is intensity. It zips along from the opening paragraph and the emotions that Nate experiences are of a depth that grabs the reader from the beginning. His struggle to come to terms with his own feelings as well as coping with the onslaught of Rowan’s is beautifully portrayed. Nate is an old-fashioned Georgian gent and is baffled by the twenty-first century girl he loves. His every wish is to protect her, but how can he when he himself may be the most dangerous thing she will ever face?
There is more to this story than the romance, too, powerful though it is. There is a mystery running right through this book about Rowan’s background – her strange Aunt Hetty, her parents’ deaths, and the evil being Simeon Frey who stalks and terrifies her, driving Nate almost to the brink of madness and despair.
Told from the viewpoint of Nate himself, which is unusual in itself, this is a real gem of a novel. The hero is everything a hero should be – well, except alive. Still, you can forgive him for that and after all, nobody’s perfect. Rowan is a lovely hero with enough spirit and defiance in her to be likeable despite her vulnerability. Even Nate’s vampire family are all great characters and impossible to dislike despite their lack of a pulse. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for a passionate, intense love story or a paranormal romance or even a mystery. Or maybe you just want to cure your phobia of vampires? Well, it will work on that, too. The biggest compliment I can pay this book is that I just can’t wait for the sequel. And I may even go back to The Dracula Experience. Just don’t ask me to try black pudding…5/5