Title: Once Burned
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Prince, #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Date Published: June 26th, 2012
Source: ARC (Provided by Publisher)
After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…
Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.
Before picking up Once Burned I had been on quite a long reading hiatus due to life getting a bit too busy. So after not reading for about 6 months, I knew I had to pick a really spectacular book to jump back on the reading wagon with. I’m very glad I picked One Burned because it had me at hello and kept me wanting more from beginning to end.
The first concern I had going into this book was who Vlad’s leading lady would be. Seeing as how this is the first in his much-anticipated series I knew I’d either love or hate the heroine we would be introduced to. But Leila won me over very quickly. She’s a refreshing combination of strong, realistic, and witty. While she does stand up to Vlad at times where he really needs that kind of woman, she also is realistic in her expectations with him and who he is. She knows he can be cold and cruel, but I really appreciated that she was completely honest with herself about her feelings towards him along the way.
In all honesty she’s one of the most real women I’ve ever read because not all women are bitchy and snarky. Many of us know our limits and while being strong when facing hardships is important, being all-mighty and feeling entitled to any and everything we feel like isn’t how most women work. So I very much appreciated how Leila was written and grew to love her very quickly.
To my surprise the entire book was written in Leila’s point-of-view. I really thought Vlad would have that honor, but I see how it is much better to see Vlad from another person’s perspective instead of through his own eyes. It gives the reader more of a chance to appreciate him while keeping the majority of his thoughts and feelings a mystery along the way. I’m not sure if the series will stay in this format but I kind of hope so for those very reasons.
The relationship between Leila and Vlad was also well-done. Since it’s the beginning of a series which is a combination of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance — like Night Huntress — it takes their relationship slow and makes it much more believable. While yes, it’s hard to understand how someone who is 500 years or so old can fall in love with someone so young, it’s easy to see why he would want to be with Leila in particular.
Aside from the relationship and how wonderful Vlad and Leila are — both separately and together — the action was great as well. It had a solid story line that kept me guessing and cheering for them along the way. It also setup a good premise for at the very least the next book, but possibly a few books in the series.
Overall this was a great book and I’d highly recommend Night Huntress fans to venture reading it because you won’t be disappointed. Not that I’ve ever come across anyone who hasn’t loved Vlad, but if you are one of the scarce in that boat I would still recommend reading the book for Leila alone. I think those who haven’t read the Night Huntress series would still very much enjoy this one and not feel lost, but I do recommend reading it first anyways because it’s a great story and gives you a few glimpses into Vlad’s character and personality beforehand. Definitely a must-read for Urban Fantasy AND Paranormal Romance fans!