This second installment in the series continues the story of Regency-era vampire hunter Victoria Gardella, who travels to Italy in an attempt to ferret out and thwart a dire plot that, if it succeeds, could kill thousands of people.
This book is a bit darker than the first. Victoria is no longer a self-centered debutante; she has suffered loss, and she fully understands what is at stake. However, she is still young, headstrong and impulsive, and (luckily for us) those characteristics tend to get her into all kinds of trouble.
Fellow venator Max has apparently disappeared, which worries Victoria's Aunt Eustacia rather more than it does Victoria, who doesn't miss his judgmental, overbearing manner. But when she must travel incognito to Italy, she does feel rather alone - especially when she must infiltrate a secret organization of human vampire servants all by herself.
Sexy Sebastian Vioget enters the scene, and he is just as attractive to Victoria as he was in the last book - but as much as she is drawn to him, Victoria is fully aware he cannot be trusted. When she finally does meet up with Max, she is surprised and taken aback by his behavior - and he makes it very clear that her presence in Rome is unwelcome. Still, Victoria has a job to do, and she's not one to let anyone get in her way.
This book was an enjoyable, suspenseful continuation of Victoria's story, and I particularly liked getting to meet Dr. Polidori at the house party in the beginning of the book, as well as being able to take a closer look into the the history and society of the venators. Visiting 19th-century Italy was fun, too - I only wish an editor who spoke Italian could have proofread the Italian phrases sprinkled throughout the text.
Victoria Gardella has come a long way from her first foray against the undead at her coming-out party, and I'm looking forward to seeing where her journey will take her in the third volume, The Bleeding Dusk, due to be published in February, 2008.
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
Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason (Signet Eclipse, 2007)