King of Darkness

King of Darkness - Elisabeth Staab 3.5-4 Stars
Dark, passionate and full of suspense, King of Darkness makes for an intriguing start to an exciting new series!

After her parents were shunned by their own kind, Isabel Anthony and her family moved to the human world. At the tender age of thirteen though, Isabel loses her parents in a tragic accident and is orphaned, leaving her alone as a young vampire among humans. Now, years later, Isabel lives one party at a time. Hopping through clubs and raves, imbibing in red wine and drinking from humans she is free from responsibilities and attachments. Until the King of the Vampire’s shows up in the club with some farfetched idea about her being his destined mate, turning her life upside down.
Thad Morgan is the new and somewhat reluctant King of the Vampires after the recent passing of his father. Now he is traveling across the country searching for the mate an oracle foresaw unlocking his powers and helping him rule when Thad was first born; the female vampire that he finally catches up with at a rave if Florida though is a far cry from the mate he expected to find. Now Thad must convince Isabel that she is destined for more than just that party girl life style and woo her into a future with him by her side. Can Thad keep Isabel from running or will she fall right into the arms of their enemies?

The basis of the plot in King of Darkness really intrigued me. Thad is a new king, unsure of himself and his abilities as king searching for his destined mate. The author takes a new path in the paranormal romance genre with a hero that is not your typical alpha male vampire. The vampires themselves keep separate from humans and drink from each other for strength as human blood holds no power for them. Also, each vampire has their own unique gift though some never come into them, like Isabel’s parents. The enemies of the vampires are wizards who are a power hungry group that gain their abilities by consuming vampires and absorbing their powers. A unique twist for vampire romances but the icing on the cake is that drugs and such don’t affect vampires but red wine intoxicates them and has the side effect like ecstasy would for humans. This provided an interesting setting for the romance in the story.

Thad is a strong yet vulnerable character, uncertain in his ability to live up to his father’s name as King. When Thad meets up with Isabel his confidence is thrown another curve. Their relationship starts off pretty rocky and I had a hard time seeing these two jive together, the attraction was there with plenty of spark but there was nothing solid beneath it. As the story progresses though and misunderstandings are corrected and communication more opened, their relationship begins to flow. Two sub-romances between secondary characters are interwoven into the main plot giving the story another layer of depth and I look forward to reading more about these characters in future installments. As with most debut novels in a series, there was a lot of world building and the first half of the book was an introduction to this dark new world but I found it well written.

All in all, King of Darkness was a good debut for the author; the action, romance and suspense kept me turning the pages and the different characters kept me captivated. I would definitely say that author Elisabeth Staab is a bold new voice in vampire romance and I look forward to reading more from her.

I waffled between a 3.5 - 4 with this one because of the main character's shaky start but lean more towards a 4.