Posted by: Jennifer | January 3, 2010

Beloved Vampire – Joey W. Hill

Hill, Joey W. Beloved Vampire. (New York: Berkley, 2009). ISBN – 9780425227954.

Main Characters: Jessica Tyson and Lord MasonBeloved Vampire

Related Works: This is part of Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen series. The other books in the series include the following titles:

  1. Vampire Queen’s Servant – story of Lady Elyssa and Jacob Green
  2. The Mark of the Vampire Queen – continuation of the story of Lady Lyssa and Jacob Green
  3. A Vampire’s Claim – story of Lady Daniela and Dev
  4. Beloved Vampire – story of Jessica Tyson and Lord Mason
  5. Vampire Mistress – story of Gideon Green and Mistress Anwyn and Daegan Rei – to be published in May 2010

Description from the Book:

After escaping the depraved servitude of a vampire master she killed, Jessica has found her way to the sunbaked desolation of the Sahara, where she hopes to perish.Then she hears the tale of Farida, an enigmatic beauty lost to the Sahara three hundred years ago, who long-ago desire for the legendary vampire Lord Mason awakens the same desire in Jessica.

Lord Mason has lived as a recluse for centuries, brooding over the loss of his beloved. Then he meets Jessica, and his passions are reborn. So is his obsession with the past. But the more Jessica’s fatal curiosity reveals of Farida, the closer she gets to Lord Mason’s secret-something forbidden, something irresistible, something he must keep hidden forever if Jessica is to be his new love . . . for eternity.

My Thoughts:
Joey W. Hill has a gift for delving deep into the emotions of her characters. This is certainly the case in Beloved Vampire whose heroine, Jessica, is a very damaged soul. She had been subjected to extreme horrors at the hands of a vampire master – one she was eventually able to kill. The death of her master leaves her dying. She decides to journey to the desert to find the final resting place of Farida – a woman whose diary she has been reading. Farida’s descriptions of her love for Lord Mason are what gave Jessica the strength to free herself from her master. So she plans to find Farida’s tomb so that she can die there. Of course, nothing is that simple. Lord Mason is actually at the tomb and finds himself having to fight off Jessica’s guides. When Jessica is injured, Lord Mason finds that he cannot let her die. He marks Jessica as his third-marked servant removing the ties to her former master.

When Jessica wakes up, she finds herself in servitude to Lord Mason. It seems as if she has just traded servitude from one vampire to another. She certainly doesn’t settle in easily and is unwilling to believe that not all vampires are as easy as her former master. She fights Lord Mason and his servants while struggling to come to grips with her new situation. Mason and his two other third-marked servants set out to woo Jessica – to prove to her that she is safe in her new home. As the story unfolds, Mason and Jessica find peace with each other and their vampiric bond with one another.

I found this a very fascinating tale. Both Jessica and Lord Mason were characters that captured my imagination – as tortured souls often do. There were, however, several issues that I thought were left unresolved. As I mentioned, Lord Mason had two third-marked servants before he met Jess. The two, Enrique and Amara, are a married couple that serve all of the needs of their master – including his sexual needs. While Mason and Jessica each deal with jealously at various points in the story, the author doesn’t really deal with the relationship between Mason, Enrique and Amara and how that relationship would change with the addition of Jessica into the household. Mason hasn’t truly bonded with the two servants, not wanting to break their marital bond. However, we never really get to see how Amara and Enrique deal with  Jessica once she and Mason consummate their relationship. In fact, the two married servants are away for a good portion of the latter part of the book. I guess I found that odd.

My other issue comes from the BDSM aspects of the story. I’ve read several of Hill’s earlier works, and this is a running theme. In this book, we are told several times that Hill’s vampires are a dominant lot who look for naturally submissive humans for their servants. Lord Mason tells Jessica several times that if she chooses to stay with him, he will demand her surrender. I think he backs off on this a bit because of the abuse that Jessica suffered at the hands of her former master. I understood this, but felt that Hill kept telling us that vampires require submission and fell a bit short of that mark.

I do admit that part of my reaction in this vein comes from the fact that I have read several of Hill’s earlier works – works that were published by smaller publishers – works that portrayed some rather extreme BDSM practices (and the characters’ emotional reactions to these practices). I tend to forget that when authors make the jump to major publishing houses, the more extreme aspects of their plots are often tamed down considerably.

Read first on December 27, 2009

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