So, what's not to like? Our heroine is Victoria Gardella Grantworth, a young, attractive society girl on the brink of her debut. But certain strange dreams have been plaguing her. So she goes to her eccentric Aunt Eustacia as she has been instructed, excited to finally learn the meaning behind them. She discovers that she has inherited the powers of a venator (aka slayer), and if she chooses to follow that road, she will be stronger and faster, able to pit her skills against very strong vampire adversaries.
She agrees, and her initiation - on the very night of her entrance into society - is to kill the vampire that will show up some time that evening. Victoria is excited to embrace her inheritance, for it gives her a freedom that she otherwise would never have experienced. She is young and headstrong, and beyond glorying in her new strength and fighting prowess, she really doesn't stop to think much about the ramifications of being a venator - not even when she falls head over heels in love with the highly attractive Marquess of Rockley -- who seems familiar, somehow, even though they are first introduced at her coming-out party.
I loved the incongruity of a society girl being a vampire slayer, and there were some very funny moments throughout the novel because of that incongruity. I did wonder why she isn't very forthcoming with Rockley about her situation. She brings her maid into her confidence without thinking twice - and Max, one of the other venators, is highly successful, even though he was not born a venator, as Victoria was. She understandably feels protective of Rockley, but she never stops to consider the fact that, if Sebastian can do it, maybe Rockley could, too. This isn't really a criticism, just something I was wondering about as I read. It was bittersweet to me that, even given these extra freedoms as a venator, Victoria remains in many ways trapped by the same rules and restrictions that apply to all women in Regency society.
I enjoyed the amusing chapter titles - they keep the book moving forward on a fun, light note; the vampires were deliciously creepy, and the mystifying Sebastian was mysteriously seductive. Victoria kept me smiling with her combination of confidence, stubbornness and naïveté, and I'm looking forward to reading Rises the Night, the next installment in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles.
Books in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles:
1. The Rest Falls Away
2. Rises the Night
3. The Bleeding Dusk
4. When Twilight Burns
5. As Shadows Fade
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason (Signet Eclipse, 2007)