Friday, February 24, 2017

Dreams for the Dead by Heather Crews

Disclaimer: Heather is my friend.

I bought this book recently because it was one of the few books of Heather's I don't already own. Let me preface this review by saying that I have very specific ideas of how vampire books ought to be written, and that I tend to subscribe to the pre-2000s view of vampires books: that is, back when vampire romance could also double as horror; has a moody, Gothic atmosphere; and tended to be as dark as blood, with some deep philosophical themes.

Dawn Larkin is an ordinary college student who's out at a bar with her friend Leila one night, meeting Leila's new fling. She ends up being a witness to her friend's kidnapping that same night and is later taken by the same people. She thinks they're a bunch of sexually depraved psychopaths, which is only half-true: they're a family of vampires who keep people as their "toys."

The vampire who kidnaps Dawn is named Tristan, and he kind of has a young Jim Morrison vibe going on. Dawn is attracted to him, while also repulsed and afraid of him, too, and eventually it turns into a romance - but a weird romance. A very weird romance. Like if you took TWILIGHT, made Edward a genuinely bad man, made made James an even worse man, and turned Carlisle and all the vampire siblings into gleeful killing machines, you would have an approximation of what DREAMS OF THE DEAD would be like. Plus, kinky vampire sex, which definitely was not in TWILIGHT.

For about 50-60% of the book, it was pretty much perfect. I was sure it was going to be a 5-star book. Toward the end, some things happened that I didn't really like, but that was just me being annoyed that the story didn't end exactly how I wanted it to. I can't really go into what, exactly, annoyed me, because spoilers, but you can chalk it up to a personal preference or ask me in the comments, and I'll be happy to tell you. Mostly, I loved this book. The Las Vegas setting is so colorful and adds a lot of atmosphere to the book. Tristan and Dawn's trainwreck of a relationship is so fascinating to watch. The supporting characters are equally interesting, although I wanted to learn more about Jared and Augusta and (especially) Branek. He needs his own book, okay, I'm serious now.

Also, I was into this book enough that I came up with a mini soundtrack of my own for it:

"Dreaming in the Daylight" by Harlin James and Duffy Sylvander

"Chokehold" by Adam Lambert

"A Broken Toy" by John Moukarzel

I've read five of her stories now and this is probably Heather's best, in my opinion. It's the most developed and interesting, with some truly flawed characters. Honestly, though? As long as she keeps writing vampires, I'll keep coming back again and again, because she's amazing at it. The world needs more doomy and gloomy vampire novels.

 4 out of 5 stars

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