Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Seduction's Bite by Madison Layle

TITLE: Seduction’s Bite
AUTHOR: Madison Layle
PUBLISHER: Cobblestone Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 34k)
GENRE: Paranormal erotic romance
COST: $4.45

Ever since her husband and child were murdered, Cheyenne Logan has been driven to hunt vampires, determined to eradicate them completely. Her actions don’t go unnoticed. A group called The Order wants to recruit her to help them, mostly because she doesn’t discriminate between rogue vampires and those who don’t kill to survive. Vampire Kieran Duboix is assigned to seek her out, but danger surrounds both of them when one of the most dangerous vampires of them all target them…

Smart heroines aren’t as common as I would like. There’s nothing more annoying than otherwise intelligent women doing stupid things for the simple purpose of advancing the plot. One of the strongest things about this particular story is that Cheyenne doesn’t fall into this trap. For the most part, she is capable and effective at what she does, and if she makes a really dumb mistake later on in the story, I’m willing to forgive it because she’s emotionally wrought and it works with her personality. The author does such a good job with her characterization that the entire last three chapters are utterly unbelievable for me. I’m not going to spoil anyone, but suffice it to say, it didn’t work for me. My score would have been much higher if it had ended differently.

Kieran is charming and fun, and the sections where he and Cheyenne are bantering are the strongest in entire story. There’s a zippy rhythm when they get going, a tempo that works well with the action sequences. It’s when things get maudlin or emotionally heavy that it’s not quite as believable.

It also loses me slightly when the author starts headhopping. It’s smoother than I’ve seen in other stories, but still noticeable. What is also noticeable is the absence of explanation on the variances on traditional vampire mythology. These vampires breathe and have heartbeats, in spite of everybody’s assertions that they’re dead. I have no idea why. There are other differences, but those don’t get repeated nearly as often as these two. If the heroine didn’t make such a big deal about vampires being dead, I probably would have let it go. But she does, so I couldn’t.

In the end, this was a pleasant diversion, though I’m likely to remember it because of the entirely incongruous ending more than anything else.


7/10 – Headhopping holds back otherwise competent prose, with spatterings of fun dialogue


7/10 – Charming and likable


7/10 – Capable and smart most of the time

Entertainment value

7/10 – Enjoyable and mostly diverting, even if I didn’t buy the ending for a second.

World building

7/10 – Abandoning traditional vampire mythology means a reader needs explanation as to why, which didn’t really happen



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