Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco
Okay, I'll mark this one down to "not knowing what I was getting into". I basically went, "vampires, meh; but Rin Chupeco, ok lah, why not?"
Um so, probably disclaimers upfront because, uhhhhh. There are a lot of sexy times in this book (and not the fade-to-black kind), so if that is not for you, this book is not for you. Like really, really not.
Remy Pendergast is your typical pitiful downtrodden outcast who is discriminated against because of his parentage - his foreign mother is rumoured to be a vampire, or at the least, a vampire's familiar - but is very good at what he does. Which is being a Reaper, aka vampire hunter. But Lord High Steward Astonbury, leader of the dræfendgemot, is his father's bitter rival and sees to it that Remy gets none of the credit or any acknowledgement, despite him taking up the bounties every other Reaper passes on. Remy's one mission in life, as dictated by his father, is to hunt down the Night Court - the very vampire court that took his mother's life.
Enter sweet Lady Song Xiaodan, heiress of the Fourth Court and dashingly brooding Lord Zidan Malekh, King of the Third Court and you get this hilarious Regency-type romp of this royal vampire couple pursuing a blushing, self-deprecating human who believes that no one could ever love him. (Honest, this is a big chunk of what the book is about.)
Back to the plot, Xiaodan and Zidan want to establish an alliance with the humans - an unheard-of proposal in Aluria, and one that is met with much suspicion and scepticism. There's also rumour of a new mutated kind of vampire, one that turns mindless and can keep respawning bigger and stronger than ever. And so Remy sets off on a mission to discover who is behind the Rot...
... and discovers there is more to life than murder. I hesitate to use "coming of age" for this one because that usually implies YA, and this is decidedly adult. But yes, it IS Remy's journey of discovery. In many ways.
Remy deals with quite a bit of trauma, as does Zidan - though Remy's pain is the more present and dealt with throughout the novel. Remy's father, Edgar Pendergast, a nasty piece of work. Pendergast is the sole reason Remy is so broken - from putting him in impossible situations, to effectively making him have sex with older women just to get information that is otherwise denied to him. And the worst part is that he mostly gaslights and victim-blames his son, with the excuse that everything he's done is for the good of Aluria and for Remy.
But if you're thinking this book is entirely fluff (there is a whole chapter that's just... fighting and sex), it does have its scientific moments, especially when they're actually investigating the virus behind the rot.
The ending feels like it's set up to have a sequel, though the main arc of the story is ended.
Overall, while I enjoyed the story - especially the banter and the dialogue - I don't find myself superhyped about it. Or maybe that's the prude in me cringing.
Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Hodder & Stoughton via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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