Release Day Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
For more information visit Jeaniene Frost’s website
All Leila wanted was to be a gymnast but after a terrible accident, that dream ended and she was left with the power to electrify a person with just a touch and see their deepest secrets. She’s come to terms with living life alone but everything changes after she’s kidnapped by a gang of dangerous vampires and told to find the vampire who can control fire and has no mercy for his enemies. Vlad Tepesh, yes that Vlad Tepesh, doesn’t like being spied on and when he gets his hands on Leila, he realizes that she’s not the enemy but a beautiful and strong woman who calls to him like no one before. Using Leila’s extraordinary ability, they work together to locate Vlad’s enemy before he finds and destroys them both.
Leila fears her powers and what they can do. Having the potential to severely harm someone by touching, Leila has to keep everyone she cares for at arm’s length. Her life is turned upside down after she’s kidnapped and forced by a group of vampires to find Vlad. I liked Leila from the beginning. She has a good reason to feel sorry for herself but she doesn’t. She just makes due with the cards she’s been dealt and does her best not to hurt anyone. After she meets Vlad, I really enjoyed watching how he taught her not to be afraid of her powers and to use them as a weapon. Vlad has a very strong presence and a weaker person would have given in to his demands but not Leila. He doesn’t change who she is at the core but rather helps her improve and become a stronger and more confident woman. There were a couple instances where I thought she made a questionable decision or said something she should have kept to herself but overall, I thought she was a solid heroine.
Vlad is very much the master vampire we’ve come to know: powerful, lethal, arrogant and caring when it comes to his people. Leila is not what he expected to find when he went searching for the person who was spying on him. She surprises him and keeps him on his toes because unlike just about everyone else around him, she doesn’t bow to his commands. Watching them spar were some of my favorite moments because I was never sure what the outcome would be. Sometimes it would be emotional and at other times it would be hilarious. Either way, as the reader I was the winner because they were the most entertaining moments of the book.
You get bits and pieces of his history from previous books he’s in but in Once Burned, we learn more about the vampire behind the legend as he searches for the person who’s after him. I liked the history but then I also liked the spin that was put on it for it to make sense for his character. Jeaniene Frost puts a lot of work into Vlad’s history and how it ties into the current story and I loved every bit of it.
A spin-off of her Night Huntress series, Once Burned had everything I’ve come to expect and thoroughly enjoy from a Jeaniene Frost book while having its own identity. The action is bloody and fierce and the suspense will have you glued to the pages but I think it was Vlad and Leila’s developing relationship that’s the highlight of this book. Vlad is centuries old and after everything he’s been through, there’s a part of him that he locked away and only Leila is capable reaching him. As a warning to all my fellow paranormal romance fans (this is more urban fantasy with a strong romantic element) there is no HEA wrapped perfectly in a bow waiting for you at the end of this book but I did think there’s enough to keep you satisfied until the next book in the series is released. Which unfortunately is next year.
Quote from book:
“Not Dracula,” I said with a faint smile as I turned around. “Vlad Tepesh, former voivode of Wallachia and the most arrogant, deadly, frightening man I’ve ever met.”
His lips curled with disdainful amusement. “Compliments won’t sway me any more than the word please, Leila.”
“You take those as compliments?” Gretchen was incredulous.
“Of course.” His smile bared his fangs. “She named all of my best qualities.”