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Rae and best friend Layla are in France, to escape the wreckage Rae created when she chucked a hand-grenade into her miserable marriage. She’s escaping the misery she’s created for herself by dreaming her life away, but now she’s left her confused husband behind while she tries to summon the courage to leave him for once and for all. At a street festival they are infected with the Vampire virus by a rebellious vampire and Rae finds herself living a new and terrifying existence. She struggles to retain her essential self, which she has only just worked so hard to re-discover, but she is struggling against new and powerful drives and desires. . Rae also discovers that vampires don’t dream. She has lost her escape, just as life gets so terrifying. Then she finds out that fresh blood can fill her mind with narcotic mists of her victim’s memories. She is determined to retain her humanity and refuse to kill, but how can she resist such temptation?
A fluid and visceral read, Darkly Dreaming is the debut release from Chloe Hammond. Quickly hitting its stride Hammond acquits herself admirably, managing to avoid becoming stuck in the copious amounts of clichés that often smother other offerings in this ever popular genre. In the main, she achieves this by bringing a certain seriousness to her characters and no less than Rae. It’s a savvy emotional pay off as she finds herself moving forward and helps give Hammond’s plot a moody addictive tone which further accentuates Rae’s alienation as her fated dalliance with Guillaume gathers momentum. Of course, there have been countless modern takes on vampires, but scratch beneath the surface and invariably you will find the human/vampire romance is an analogue for a more traditional forbidden love story. It’s certainly the case with Hammond’s narrative, yet she manages to keep it fresh without resorting to trite tropes as her nocturnal reverie thunders towards a highly satisfying and fitting denouement.
Yes, Darkly Dreaming is another vampire romance, but don't let that detract you from what is a strong debut and a very entertaining read. It is defintely recommended and deserving of a place on your bookshelf.
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