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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

The Vampire Dimitri (Regency Draculia Series #2)

The Vampire Dimitri (The Regency Draculia) - Colleen Gleason Quick Take:This book, which parallels much of book one's story, does a decent job of balancing old and new information, resulting in greater depth of certain characters and unexpected twists. But the book definitely stands on the shoulders of its predecessor.Review:Parallel novels can sometimes be tricky. Prior to picking up this book, I was informed of the fact that at least half of this tale would run during the exact same weeks-long time frame as its predecessor The Vampire Voss,  focusing on a different hero and heroine. I wasn't sure what to make of that: would this book assume you've read book one, thus leaving out chunks of crucial exposition? Or would it rehash materials from Voss making for a duller experience?I'm happy to report that--at least in my mind--The Vampire Dimitri struck just the right balance in telling a story that was both old and new. In the previous book, Dimitri is portrayed as a stoic, scholarly vampire. He is that way indeed, but almost immediately his inner character and decision-making is fleshed out, changing much of what was previously assumed about him. Likewise, the more critical events (involving numerous characters) were given more depth by the change in narrative focus. Just when one thinks they know how a scene will progress based on book one, it goes in a surprising direction that still fits within the confines of the plot overall.This only continues until about halfway through the book, however. Completely new content follows from there, and it's a wild ride. Of particular enjoyment was the interaction between Dimitri and heroine Maia. The story resembles the lore of Beauty and the Beast, albeit more in spirit than in specific plotting.As with The Vampire Voss, the language used to paint the story is well-crafted. It's not particularly flowery or dramatic; rather, it uses precisely the right words to bring out the drama and allure of the era and setting. Author Colleen Gleason's eloquence goes to show that particular words and phrasing do still matter.There's a version of the classic love triangle, though one "corner" of it spends most of the book as a distant thought rather than a flesh-and-blood person. I must admit, I wasn't hot on a couple of the elements related to its development. I'm not a big fan of too-easy-to-be-plausible resolutions, and I felt this book definitely had some of that going on.Though this book could technically be read as stand-alone, it wouldn't be as effective or enjoyable without a read-through of the first book. Some of the drama comes from a readjustment of perspective, a re-living of previously visited scenarios. That said, I enjoyed The Vampire Dimitri even more than its predecessor. It runs the gamut of themes, touching on love, regret, redemption, thorns-to-roses romance, mystery, revenge, adventure and more. I definitely look forward to more Regency Draculia and more Gleason!