Book Review – Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

by Maryse on June 29, 2012 · 12 comments

in Jeaniene Frost

Once Burned: A Night Prince Novel
So…. I liked it, overall. *nods* Vlad was one I was anxiously looking forward to. His quick sarcastic wit, his biting comments (that still made me laugh), his issues with Bones, and especially his ability to connect deeply with those he cares about. Almost as if he was, in his own way, looking to be loved. The many moments he was there for Cat in the past… yep. Cinched it for me. Vlad was scary and dangerous, but there was something almost heartbreaking (or heartbroken) about him, and he was so real to me.

And while in this book, some of Vlad’s history came to light, their was something about this Vlad that was different. I didn’t recognize him as much. Mind you, he had all of those awesome vampire qualities that I love (seemingly indestructible, a leader, gorgeous, sexy and a of course, a domineering alpha male), but that’s just it. He was the perfect vampire, but it was as if he could have been any vampire.

It had everything a good book needed, a feisty heroine (oh btw – I loved her!! ‘cept for a few crazy decisions, but you know – she was fun!), a period of game-playing, steamy scenes, emotional insecurities, and danger always lurking in the background. Even a mystery to solve. It was all there… yet to me, it lacked a certain intensity. I was never fully engaged enough to plow through the book in one sitting.

So how does Vlad meet his match?

Leila was electrocuted as a child, and now has the ability to taser people (pretty badly – even to death). She has to keep her “zappy” hand covered, and can’t even really enjoy close contact with anyone because of her excessive “sparkly-ness” (hee hee! rolleyes I know right!? What is it with me ‘n puns these days? *shakes head*). But she also has anther ability, and that is to see someone’s past, present and future when touching an object that they have touched.

You touched a downed power line when you were thirteen, nearly died, and then later, your body began giving off electric voltage and your right hand divined psychic impressions from whatever you touched?”

And because of this, she is a hot commodity in the vampire world. I think. Anyway, she is kidnapped by some bad vampires, because they want the details on Vlad’s whereabouts. Thing is, when she touches the objects that they have brought her (which have his essence), she actually connects directly to him telepathically. She’s never done that before! After telling him her predicament, he comes to the rescue!! (No worries, this all happens right in the beginning. It’s what kicks off the story).

“I have no intention of switching sides. You’re not the one who sent child murderers to snatch me up, and they were going to kill me once they were done with me; I saw it when I touched Jackal. I don’t see my death when I touch you, so I’m team Vlad all the way.”

Some of that coldness left his gaze. “Good because I wouldn’t enjoy killing you. Thus far, you’re not boring or irritating; a rarity. I also reward those loyal to me, so keep your fear of me, Leila, but know this – you need not fear anyone else as long as you’re under my protection.”

And that’s where there story begins. Because of course, he whisks her away to his lair (his gorgeous castle in Romania), and proceeds to give her the ins and outs of the real Dracula. So as they adjust to being “roomies”, he drives her crazy with his ostentatiousness and she resists even though… resistance is futile. Arrogant or not, he’s got a point. ;)

Two Leilas seemed to be battling it out inside of me. The first was outraged that he still considered it a fait accompli that I’d give in to him, and the second… that slutty b$tch was wondering hat Vlad  looked like naked.

Come on. Of COURSE she can’t resist the 6′ something alpha vampire, with the long dark hair, gorgeous face, and glowing eyes that has all of the other vampires (hot or not) in his abode bowing at him. Who can resist that!?

But you see, Vlad has his own demons to contend with, and enemies abound! She realizes he can be a monster in his own right.

… he did not just pull the Big Bad Vampire card on me!

“Ooh, you told me,” I mocked, sketching a bow.

Tee hee!! He’s so bossy! But he’s an ancient VAMPIRE! *shakes head* Her life will never be the same.

So that’s all I’m telling you. The rest is up to you to discover.

3.5 stars

But I do have one more thing to say (below) but this is slightly *spoiler-ish* so skip it unless you’ve read this book.

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*spoiler-ish*

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arrow *spoiler-ish*

Some have been somewhat upset about the ending of this book, with that sort of “cliffhanger”, but to me, book #1 was pretty much complete. It did have the start (intro to main characters and their dilemma), middle (solving that mystery) and end (lots and lots of fire and blood).

It seems it was the epilogue that perturbed some, but I see it more as an intro into what we would be getting into for book #2, and I actually liked it. THAT is what made me want to continue the series. Considering the lack of intensity between the two main characters in this book, I was somewhat disappointed, but that epilogue absolutely intrigued me. To me it was one of the best parts! That whole “run roh”… after Leila’s realization of her current circumstances, yep! I will certainly continue reading these.

I realized, now, why it almost felt like we were missing that romantic/emotional intensity. I mean they were completely “into” each other but… not enough for my heart to race every time they got together. They are just getting started.

I think Jeaniene will be having them “feel each other out”, get to know each other, fall for reach other (or not) over the course of multiple books. That intensity will likely build into something we can’t get enough of (at least thats what I’m hoping for). Seeing the characters fall in love slowly, and experience heartbreak, misunderstandings, jealousy issues, make-ups and possibly break-ups (along with the regular vampire battles and power-drama) over the course of a few books might actually lead to some serious emotional overload, and THAT is what has addicted me with other series.

So I’m still in, even if this one was “good but not great” to me.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie June 29, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Do we have any idea what the next book in the series will be about? Will it follow 2 new main characters or be about Vlad again?

Maryse June 29, 2012 at 10:13 AM

For this spinoff? It will be Vlad and Leila again. I have a feeling it’s going to be an urban fantasy, somewhat like Cat and Bones (a journey through their “coupling” and other vampire issues), vs. the stand alone Spade and Mencheres paranormal romance books.

Kathy June 29, 2012 at 10:37 AM

I haven’t started my Once Burned, yet, because I have to finish one that I’m currently reading, but I’m eager to start it. I so want Jeaniene to write an Ian book, and I’m really ready for another Cat and Bones book!

Jackie June 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Hey Maryse – I think this is going to be a series that takes a while to hit the intensity that we all want. But thats good – we’ll all be screaming for their HEA before Jeanine gives in and lets them be happy and for Vlad to love again. Just look at how the first Cat and Bones book ended – I was devastated! I love this style of writing – it keeps you reading and wanting . I’m with-holding judgement until I can assess their whole story. What was that quote from the book??? “We are all more than the sum of our sins.” well…… some series are ‘more than the sum of their books’ ~ ~ and I think this series is going to be one of them. i shall certainly be joining you in reading on! *hug* xxx

Miranda June 29, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Maryse, I agree with you on the fact there was something different about him. I loved Vlad in the the cat and bones books, but he was different in this one I thought. I liked it but didn’t love it as much as I wanted too. I guess I wanted it to have the same intensity as cat and bones. Anyway, way I enjoyed it and look forward to the next one.

Elizabeth June 29, 2012 at 6:09 PM

I have to say the ending threw me, but I love Vlad! I can’t wait to see what happens next! Also, I really liked Leila’s perspective on Bones ;-)

Carla June 29, 2012 at 6:22 PM

That’s exactly what I thought too. The lack of drama was something I really missed. At the same time I can understand. Vlad is not exactly the person I thought he was, I mean, someone so lonely that all he really wanted in his life was someone to love and love him back. And actually it is, but that’s not what he’s looking for. So because of that I think Jeaniene wants to make Vlad some kind of a challenge. I mean, he’s going to fall for her but I think she didn’t want to make it easy like she did with Bones. Vlad is holding back like Cat did. So well what I really think is that she wants to make this couple different from Cat and Bones especially when all this makes part of the same series. But with that epilogue I’m sure we’ll have plenty of drama in the next book. I don’t know but I had a Fifty and Ana feeling there. Something like “if you can’t love me, it’s better if I go now before things get worse” you know!? We’ll have to see.

Gaitree June 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM

I enjoyed this book tremendously. It was a slow start, but i was lucky enough to be on vacation and i could not put it down & finished it in one day. I cannot wait for the next one!!!!!
I give it 5 stars and I simply love Jeaniene Frost. I am hoping she is working on the next Cat & Bones book.

Rebecca B. July 1, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Went to Jeaniene Frost’s book signing last night and it was one of the best I’ve been to. She is smart and very funny. She said there would be at least 2 Vlad books and possibly 3.

Jennifer C July 2, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Completely agree with you all. I expect this series to be great!! I think this was a book that set us up for what’s to come. Had they fallen in love and lived happily ever after….we wouldn’t have been excited for book 2. Now there’s so much more I want to read about and find out about that I can’t wait for the next book. This book was not the same intensity and excitement as the start of Cat and Bones….but I foresee something great!!!

Jennifer C July 2, 2012 at 10:16 AM

oh…and also…. is anyone else excited for more Maximus??? I love his character in this book.

Diana M July 3, 2012 at 6:53 AM

I really enjoyed this, I love Vlad can’t wait for the next one. I really hope Jeaniene does a book for Maximus as well, he kinda broke my heart I felt so bad for him, I would also love a book for Ian, or course him being such pain in the butt it would be awesome to see a woman really put him in his place.

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