The Second Vampire Queen Novel
By Rebecca Maizel
Available now from St. Martin's Griffin
I have to hand it to Rebecca Maizel. When I read INFINITE DAYS I knew there was a sequel on the way, but I couldn't imagine how she would continue the story. Lenah Beaudonte had a complete character arc and defeated her enemies. What was left?
How about this: Rhode Lewin, her lover who sacrificed himself for her, is still alive. So is Lenah. And both of them are supposed to be dead because of the ritual. Now vampires are hunting them for the secret of the ritual. And those powering the ritual - the Aeris - have given Lenah and Rhode an ultimatum: they must fix their mess, or their pasts will be changed so that they never met.
Lenah, Rhode, and Vicken struggle to save their classmates as humans. Their vampire powers are fading fast, so they're up against creatures stronger, faster, and generally more powerful in all ways than themselves. Their main advantage is that they understand how vampires operate. Lenah in particular understands the madness plaguing Odette, the leader of the vampires after them.
Meanwhile, they're finding it difficult to actually be human. Yes, there is still room for Lenah to grow as a character. Maizel has a real talent for creating complex characters, and I'd say that even if Lenah was the only person in INFINITE DAYS and STOLEN NIGHTS to show any depth. She's that well fleshed out. I'm not that big on the love triangle plot, mostly because it's obvious that no matter the obstacles, Rhode will always come first in Lenah's heart. (And, well, Justin most definitely pales in comparison to Rhode.)
The always human characters don't get as much to do. Lenah's boyfriend Justin is pretty petulant since Rhode showed up. I can't say his arc entirely surprised me, but some fans of the character may dislike it. Claudia and Tracy, the mean girls, grow as people after the death of their best friend. Tracy in particular becomes a character you can really love.
I definitely suggest reading INFINITE DAYS before STOLEN NIGHTS, and perhaps rereading INFINITE DAYS if it's been awhile since you've read it. Maizel's mythology is complex and her continuity is strong. I love that, but it doesn't make STOLEN NIGHTS the friendliest book to new readers.
The Vampire Queen series is perfect for paranormal fanatics looking for another romantic, bloody read. There's a nice balance between the action and the romance and the pages are filled with memorable characters. The more macabre moments are balanced by bits of humor, mostly provided by Vicken. Even if you're tired of vampires, I'd give the Vampire Queen a chance.