by Kate Hill

December 2001
ISBN: 1-58697-402-5
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How curious that a creature such as a vampire has become such an important part of the romance novel genre. Given its literary beginnings with Bram Stoker, and its movie debut with Max Shreck in "Nosferatu", it is neither a romantic nor attractive character in the least. The fact that today's vampire is a figure of sensuality is an interesting phenomenon. From the blatantly sexual vampire Lestat in Anne Rice's books, to the sex-on-a-stick "Angel" currently on TV, the vampire is firmly entrenched in our romantic consciousness as a charmingly decadent character that offers physical delights unknown to mere mortals.

Kate Hill explores this idea in her eBook, The Immaculate, the title of which refers to a special kind of vampire - sort of a pure, unadulterated vampire with special powers. The nice thing about vampire novels (and a lot of paranormal romances), is that the writer can create his or her own mythology and work from there to build plot and character. Ms. Hill accomplishes this feat here very neatly indeed. Our heroine, Mara, is a "normal" human (i.e. non-vampire) fighting some very real demons - an assault a year before has left her with vividly violent dreams of blood-sucking attackers! Her research into folklore leads her to a library in Seville, Spain (sure, we all go to Europe to research vampires, don't we? And she did go to Romania first!!!), where she meets handsome and charming Adam, who is quite amazingly knowledgeable about the subject of ancient beliefs. Uh-oh, Mara - you're in for a surprise!!!

The characters of Adam and Mara are very interesting - especially early on in this story when we are learning about what makes them tick! However, the scope of the plot requires several very strong secondary characters and the result is less of a one-on-one romance and more of an ensemble cast adventure. This is not a criticism - the story is a great ride through the mystical paths of vampire lore and the fundamental values of humanity, spiced with a strong sexual element (having never had my neck bitten in bed, I was a bit at a loss to fully appreciate Adam's technique!)

There are some myths debunked (no garlic or silver) and some new myths created (a little blood goes a long way and a good pair of Ray Bans lets vampires stroll about during daytime) and there's nary a casket in sight. I did wonder about the level of awareness of the mortal population while the hybrids and vampires were busily "necking" - pardon the pun. However, this was an interesting book that held my attention and as my first experience with an eBook, I can heartily recommend it to mortals and immortals alike. To Kate Hill I say - 'fangs' a lot! (Sorry about that, I couldn't resist!)

Reviewed in December 2001 by Celia.

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