I actually won a hardback copy of this quite a while ago and I have to admit that, as much as it is nice to win anything, I was a little disappointed that I didn't get one of the other available books. This book has never appealed to me, I've passed it so many times in my local book stores and never felt any inclination to pick it up. So I was definitely surprised when I found the book to be enjoyable on the whole and I spent a lot of the novel thinking I might give it a four star rating. What stopped me was countless annoying little things that gradually built up and resulted in me having to knock a star off the rating, one or two I could have easily disregarded but eventually there were just too many to ignore.
The positives are plentiful and the story really interested me; Lenah has spent five hundred years as a vampire (part of which was spent as queen of a coven) but now she longs to finally become human again, to have the chance to feel alive and experience the world with human senses and emotions. This requires a sacrifice from her maker - Rhode - and the story opens up where the ritual is being completed. Lenah's past as a vampire is told in flashbacks, whilst at the same time she tries to fit into a modern day boarding school, come to terms with technology and slang terms (part of the ritual involved her spending the last hundred years underground) and generally convince everyone that she is your average sixteen year old girl.
Because she was previously a vampire queen leading a coven of male vampires, Lenah is not like many of today's young adult paranormal heroines. When they are studying Kate Chopin's The Awakening in class, she states that she "doesn't like to be controlled" and it's true that she never lets herself be. Yes, she has a crush on the school stud, but when he appears to insult her she tells him where to get off. At last! I liked Lenah, I liked the historical references and I liked Lenah's friend Tony. I also liked how the ending left me with excitement for book two without being overly cliffhanger-ish.
Now for what I didn't like. Rhode was meant to be the love of Lenah's life for hundreds of years and yet she seemed to get over him very quickly. In fact, she didn't really seem to care that much at all. And on the subject of love interests... well, there were so many in this book you could drown in them. Forget love triangles, this is at least a love pentagon. Was it really necessary? In fact, I can tell you the answer to that one: no, it wasn't. But I think worst of all was the horrible mean girl stereotyping. You know the kind... she's pretty, she's blonde, dates the hottest guy who our heroine has a crush on... and, naturally, she's a complete bitch. Apparently, she has to be a complete bitch in order for it to be okay for Mr Hotness to leave her for Lenah. At one point while they are still going out, sexy guy - Justin - openly ignores her to flirt very obviously with Lenah. When Lenah points out that she is watching, Justin says "I don't care"! Really? Because, you know, those pretty blonde girls obviously don't have feelings so what's the point in wondering whether you might hurt them or not? This pissed me off.
BUT... I like the story and I like the protagonist. And for that I am still going to check out Stolen Nights and see where the author takes us next.