Updated: Jan 21
by Karpov Kinrade
Published by Daring Books
Book #1 in the Vampire Girl series
Amazon top 100 bestseller Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Fantasy "Action and mystery and the feels!! Wow!" - Happy ★★★★★ "Phenomenal and lively." - Sabrina ★★★★★ You think it's safe to walk alone at night. It's not. You think the only threat is other humans. It's not. Monsters are real. Demons are real. Vampires are real. And I'm about to become one of them. My name is Arianna Spero. I was an ordinary girl, living an ordinary life, until my mother lapsed into a coma. Now, I am her only hope. She made a deal with the devil, and on my 18th birthday he came to collect. But there's a way to save her. There's something the princes of hell want more than my mother. Me. So I signed my soul away and promised to pick a prince to marry. I would take the blood oath, become one of them, and give them an heir. I would become a princess of hell, and my mother would live. I expected fire and brimstone. I expected pain and misery. I didn't expect beauty. I didn't expect magic. I didn't expect love. But the princes are keeping secrets from me. Secrets that could shatter everything.
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Fantasy Feel Good
Vampire Girl is the first book in the Vampire Girl series, and is written mostly in Arianna Spero's point-of-view, with a few chapters, and the epilogue, written from Fenris Vane's point-of-view. I was first introduced to this story through the interactive stories app, Chapters. I am so happy that I did, because if I came across this book at a store, I would have passed over it for the awful title and cover alone. Once I started playing through the story on the app though, I became hooked!
Vampire girl's story starts when Arianna Spero (called Ari), finds her mother unconscience, and close to death, the morning after the 18th birthday. After finding out her mother was in a coma, and didn't have much time left, a handsome man named Asher comes to her, and tells her that her mother made a deal with a demon (his father, the King of "Hell") to bring back her child (Ari). In payment, after Ari had reached adulthood, her soul would be his, and Ari would be taken to Hell, where she would need to choose one of his sons (each cursed with one of the deadly sins), to marry, and to rule. By Ari agreeing, and fulfilling her part of the contract, she in turn would save her mothers soul. She is to spend one month with each prince before making her decision. In this book, she stays with Fenris Vane, Prince of War, and the only Prince who doesn't want to be King. After a few weeks of getting to know one another, Fenris teaching her how to fight, learning blacksmithing from Kayla, the Prince's half-sister, and learning everything she can about the laws and customs of Inferna (the true name of Hell), she quickly falls in love with him, and he reluctantly falls in love with her. We are left with a cliffhanger, when after invading Fae attack Fen's Kingdom, Ari is taken to an unknown part of the world, where the Fae live, and is told she is one of them, and is in fact a Royal fae. On top of that, she finds out King Lucien is still alive, despite his sons believing he is dead ... all but one son ... Asher, who appears to have been deceiving everyone the entire time. The epilogue shows us Fen waking up after Ari's kidnapping, hellbent on finding the woman he loves and swore to protect.
This is the first book I have ever read where demons were "the good guys". Or mostly good guys. And the first time I had encounter a demon and vampire being the same thing. I really liked the premise. While reading the summery it sounds outlandish ... and some parts, it kind of it, I liked it! Vampire Girl is a very unique story. The setting of the story was kind of brilliant, making "Hell" not the fire and brimstone we picture, but this beautiful, picturesque, alternate dimension.
We only truly get good looks at two of the princes, The Prince of War, Fenris Vane, Ari's first host, and the man she falls in love with, and Asher, The Prince of Pride, who is the one who escorts Ari into Inferna. We see a bit of the other princes. Liam, Prince of Envy seems the most monstrous. Dean, Prince of Lust, seems ... well, "lusty". Zeb, Prince of Gluttony seems okay. Ace, Prince of Sloth seems interesting, mostly because he doesn't seem lazy at all, and is rather kind. Asher is a fun character to read, as he is quite insightful, and smart, but his sin of pride gets in the way when it comes to beauty vs. practicality. He seems to be one of the voices of logic in the group of brothers though, and despite the cliffhanger in the end showing that he was deceitful, he has always been kind to Ari. Fenris is one of those prickly men I tend to fawn over in books. His sin may be war, and he is an amazing fighting and leader, but he is also tender and kind, and those are the qualities that Ari is drawn to. He doesn't treat her as an inferior. He teachers her to fight. And while he doesn't believe anything can be done about slavery in Inferna (captured Fae are either executed or enslaved), he doesn't stop Ari from researching the laws surrounding it, and trying to find ways to pay those who were given to her. He does nothing but treat her with respect, and I really appreciate that, especially when they could have gotten away with making him a jerk, seeing as he is a demon.
Ari is an interesting character. I like the character. I feel like the authors (Karpov Kinrade is the pen name for a husband and wife writing team) could have put more effort in Ari's story. She just handled everything too well, it seemed almost as if she was prepared for this her whole life. I do enjoy a kick ass woman protagonist, and Ari is strong ... but I also want her vulnerable moments to actually feel vulnerable.
Bonus points for having a transgender character, and Fen stands up for her when she is being threatened by three men outside a bathroom. We don't see a whole lot of trans-gendered characters in books, much less well-written ones, and Es, Ari's best friend, is written in a way that makes me think the authors understand trans-gendered persons, and not just throwing one in there just because.
I love the story. It's unique, the characters are interesting, the setting is serene, and the romance is sweet. There is action too. There are some story flow issues. There is only fourteen chapters. I think if there was just a few more chapters thrown in, it could have added some much needed depth. I would have loved to see more of Ari and Fen's time together, instead of being told of it in passing, and maybe see her struggle a bit stepping into her new role as Inferna's future Queen. It seemed a little too easy for her. The cliffhanger promises there is a lot more to the story than we think though, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Top 3 Favorite Moments:
1. Fen teaching Ari to fight
2. Fen's annoyance over his wolf Baron's affection for Ari
3. Ari and Fen's confession that they have feelings for one another in the cave, and their make out
4. The nights Fen stays with Ari, holding her when she is scared.
Where to Buy:
Paperback (amazon Canada)
Ari: "What can I get you?"
Asher: "Are you on the menu?"
Fen: "Take care of yourself, Ari. And be careful. Sometimes wolves come in sheep's clothing."
Ari: "Hope. Did you know that's what my last name means? Spero is hope in Latin. My mom always says it's a reminder to never lose hope, no matter how bleak the situation. Dum spiro spero."
Pete: "While I breathe, I hope."
Ari: "Right. Of course. That makes perfect sense. Mark of Cain. Hell dimension. Demons. What happens next? No wait, let me guess. You tell me I'm some sort of chosen one and in exchange for me soul or some such nonsense you will save my mom. There's probably a prophecy involved, and some danger, and you think your sexy charms will overcome all that and sway me to your way of thinking, yes? Sorry, dude. I've seen that movie."
Ari: "Why do you even care what happens to a random stranger?"
Fen: "Stick to being grateful girl. Asking questions only leads to trouble."
Ari: "It appears I'm in trouble no matter what I do.First my mom mysteriously falls into a coma, and now I'm being attacked and drugged. And you show up, all rugged and viciously protective. Does that seem like a coincidence to you?"
Fen: "It seems to me like you need to be more careful."
Ari: "I need to be more careful? How about other people need to stop attacking me? How about that? Let's put the blame where it belongs, shall we?
Fen: "You are exhausting, and I have stayed here longer than I should. I made you something to eat in the kitchen. If you start to feel nauseous or dizzy, see a doctor. And try not to get yourself killed."
Ari: "Want to watch a movie?"
Fen: "A movie?"
Ari: "Yes. Comedy? Romance? Drama? Action? What are you in the mood for?"
Ari: "A movie about hunting?'
Fen: "Action. Something with action."
Ari: "Of course. But you should try a good romance sometime. You might find you like it."
Asher: "You clean up well."
Ari: "I wasn't dirty."
Asher: "What can I say? We have a flare for the dramatic. Are you ready?'
Ari: "If I'm not, would that change anything?"
Asher: "No. Not a thing. I was just trying to be polite."
Ari: "It doesn't suit you."
Ari throws a goblet at Fen, and he catches it one handed with a chuckle
Fen: "Feeling feisty, I see."
Ari: "Still angry you lied to me. I trusted you."
Fen: "You shouldn't trust anyone here, Princess. Let that be your first lesson."
Ari: "Not even you?"
Fen: "Especially not me."
I lock eyes with him, my arms crossed over my chest. I'm not backing down from this one.
Fen leans against the wall, grinning at Asher.
The Prince of Pride frowns back.
Asher: "You think this is amusing, brother? Wait until it's your turn to deal with her."
Ari comes out dressed in black leather pants, boots, a red corset and black cloak.
Asher: "This is not an outfit suited for a princess!"
Fen: "I think she looks like the perfect princess."
Fen is so close to me now I can smell the wildness that clings to him like a cologne. He inhales deeply, his eyes unreadable, and his eyeteeth elongate. His eyes drop to my neck, and I know I should be scared. A vampire is checking me out like I'm dinner. But I'm not scared. I'm ... entranced. A low growl vibrates in his throat as he leans in. "You should be more careful, Princess."
Fen whistles and his wolf rubs about against Ari, whining.
Fen: "Oh for the love of all that's unholy, what is wrong with you, Baron?"
Ari: "Go on. I'll be okay."
Ari and Asher follow.
Ari: "Are we going to talk about the fact that these Fae keep attacking me?"
Ari: "If they do manage to kidnap me, what are they planning to do?"
Fen: "Shut you up, hopefully."
Ari: "Look, I'm sorry your wolf likes someone else for the first time ever, but that's no reason to act like a petulant child. There are serious matters to discuss here."
Asher: *laughing* "She's got your number, brother!"
Dean: "You relinquished your rights to being first. I believe your exact words were, 'I'll not be a pawn in this game you are all playing, so sod off and have at her.'"
Ari: "Have at her? I'm not a thing to be had by any of you! Not by charm *looks at Asher*, or brute force, *looks at Fen*, or by a pretty face, *looks at Dean*. You lot have got to stop acting like asses and start behaving like reasonably intelligent men, or I have no idea how I'll fulfill my contract of picking any of you!"
Asher: "Well, brother, looks like you have an interesting month ahead of you."
Zeb: "You're prettier than Asher indicated. I think he was trying to keep you to himself."
Ari: *snorts* "I'm pretty sure I annoy him too much for that."
Ari: "Oh come on, you know that was funny. Lighten up."
Fen: "I am the Prince of War. I do not 'lighten up.'"
When I exit the washroom, Ari is there, sitting at the small table by the fireplace. She stands, her eyes wide when she see's me standing there naked, holding my towel.
Ari: "Oh, crap, I'm so sorry. I was just ... I thought I would wait ... I didn't ..."
She can't seem to finish her sentences, but she is not averting her eyes either. I don't bother covering myself. We are not the most modest creatures by nature, and I certainly have nothing to hide. I'm not sure what I'm expecting from her. A demure shifting of her eyes? A blush? I get neither. Instead she takes her time looking at me, and then she smiles.
Ari: "It seems only fair, since you saw me naked while I was unconscious."
Fen: "If we're being fair, I also had to touch you."
I want to see how far she'll take this. But I realize I'm not prepared for her to walk over to me and lay her small hands on my chest. Her body is so close, but not quite touching mine. My muscles flex as I resist the urge to grab her and pull her closer, to bury my teeth in her neck and feel her life pulse into me. There are so many things I would love to do to this innocent creature standing before me, but instead I suck in my breath and wait to see what she does next. Her hands glade over my chest, feeling their way over my muscles, down to my abs. She stops at my hips and I nearly groan. My body is making my feelings clear, but I can't read her face. The air between us is thick with unmet desire, but instead of giving in, she steps away.
Ari: "I assume you didn't actually fondle me when you changed me. Did you?"
Fen: "No. I didn't."
Ari: "Then we're even."
Ari: "You can't fight him to the death!"
Fen: *chuckles* "Why not?"
Ari: "What if you get hurt?"
Fen: *laughs* "You think he has any chance against me? That's sweet, but you've clearly never seen me fight."
Ari: "I've seen you fight a few times, actually. Things can go wrong."
Fen: "You've seen me spar. You've seen me battle while you were drugged and nearly unconscious. You've never seen me fight. I'll be fine. No one touches you like that and walks away."
Asher: "I've heard people speaking of you in hushed admiration. They like you. A lot. The vampires, the Shade, even the slaves. I don't think any of us were expecting that."
Ari: "Did you expect I would be horrible and hated?"
Asher: "Not exactly. We just didn't realize you would have everyone falling in love with you so quickly."
Ari: "Surely not everyone." *Thinking of Fen*
Asher: *winks* "You might be surprised, Princess."
Levi: "What criteria will you take into consideration when choosing your mate?"
Ari: "For one thing, I'll consider if the prince in question is a complete ass who would treat a woman like an animal in a circus. Spoiler alert, that will not impress."
Niam: "So you have already developed opinions about princes you haven't met."
Ari: "My opinions come from my direct experience of you. For some, that bodes well. For others, let's just say you're definitely making an impression, just not a favorable one."
Kayla: "This too shall pass. And then you can choose from your heart."
Ari: "You know I can't. You know he doesn't want this."
Kayla: "My brother has a lot of secrets that keep him trapped in his own darkness. You might be the one who can help him into the light. Don't give up on him just yet."
Baron stalks forward.
Lester: "Stop him. Stop him, please."
Ari: "You harmed Fenris Vane, Prince of War. Perhaps I would spare you, but he will not.
Baron leaps forward. And the man pleads no more.
Fen: "You ask a lot of questions."
Ari: "Yeah, I'm irritating that way, always wanting to know things that have a direct impact on my life and well-being. Must be a silly human thing."
Fen: "They are strong, Ari. Powerful. We are the Fallen. The first of our kind to come to this world. The original cursed. You wouldn't stand a chance against them. Against any of us."
Ari: Then you'll have to stick around and protect me. That's your job, isn't it?
Ari: "Then don't leave me. I know it's only been a few weeks, but I can't imagine being in this world without you. You have become my rock."
Fen: "Oh, Arianna, you don't know what you are asking of me."
Ari: "Then tell me. Help me understand. Am I wrong in thinking what I'm feeling between us is mutual?"
Fen: "You are not wrong."
Asher: "She is the key to everything. We must find her. Now. Before we lose her forever."
Fen: "Don't you see? We have already lost her. They will tell her the truth of who she is, and she will think we betrayed her. That I betrayed her. And we will be at war. With her as their leader."
Asher: "You love her."
Check out the rest of the Vampire Girl Series below!