Thursday, December 18, 2008

Review – “Zen and the Art of Vampires” by Katie MacAlister

Pia Thomason doesn't have a typical life, but she wants one. The husband, the kids, the house in the suburbs...With her fortieth birthday looming, she decides to do something drastic, and takes off on a singles' tour through romantic Europe.

But the few guys on the trip leave much to be desired - unlike the two men Pia sees in a small Icelandic town. Handsome, mysterious, and very dangerous…Just the sight of them puts her in a dither. When their paths cross again, Pia knows one thing for certain: Where vampires are concerned, love isn't the only thing at stake.
Zen and the Art of Vampires is the latest ‘Dark Ones’ paranormal romance from Katie MacAlister. Pia is a normal unattached working girl taking a singles vacation to shake her life out of the doldrums. Zen opens leisurely with Pia attending a local cultural event in a small Icelandic town. MacAlister’s droll humour shines in a scene where an Icelander makes polite conversation with Pia, leading to them dancing—only we discover he’s four years old.

It doesn’t take long however for Pia to fall down the rabbit hole. In rapid succession Pia crosses paths with a mysterious French women, comes into possession of an amulet that allows her to see ghosts, and in a case of mistaken identity is told by members of the Brotherhood that she is their new Zorya whose purpose is to ‘cleanse’ the Dark Ones (read torture and kill). Oh and she also has to marry the Sacristan (high priest) to bring her into her powers. Pia thinks they are a bunch of nutbars escaping only to be captured by two handsome guys who turn out to be Dark Ones and she has to marry one of them too. From no boyfriends to two husbands in no time – poor Pia.

Eventually Pia comes to understand they really are vampires and the Brotherhood is serious and oh boy is she in trouble because she is seriously attracted to both men. Pia’s adventure is quite madcap, as she becomes suspected of murder and spends much of the book running, from the police, from the Brotherhood, from and to the vampires, all the time accompanied by a growing collection of ghosts that it is her duty to see through to the ‘other side’. Through it all Pia retains her sense of humour - she remarks to one of the Dark Ones –
Well, what’s the use in being a vampire if you don’t get any special powers?
Pia is a nice alternative to the usual twenty-something empowered romantic heroine and manages to hold her own, exhibiting inner strength and character. Zen and the Art of Vampires delivers a welcome serving of humour, action and hot romance with no previous familiarity with the Dark Ones series required. While Zen does not end in a cliff-hanger, Pia’s happily-ever-after is yet to materialize. Readers will have to wait for her further adventures in the next Dark Ones novel Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang coming in May 2009.

Read the excerpt of Chapter One (PDF)

Penguin Group (USA)
Published: December 2008
ISBN #: 9780451225603
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352

Dark Ones Series:

  1. A Girl's Guide to Vampires (2003)
  2. Sex and the Single Vampire (2004)
  3. Sex, Lies, and Vampires (2005)
  4. Even Vampires Get the Blues (2006)
  5. Bring Out Your Dead (Just One Sip anthology) (2006)
  6. Last of the Red Hot Vampires (2007)
  7. Zen and the Art of Vampires (2008)
  8. Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang (May 2009)

View the book trailer . . .


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