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27 February 2013

No Such Thing As Immortality by Sarah Tranter - a review

I'm delighted to feature the debut novel by  fellow author and friend, and one of my crit partners, the lovely Sarah Tranter. 

I shared her excitement last year when her manuscript was accepted by 'Choc Lit' and when we met up at the Festival of Romance. We actually shared a room, although there was so much going on it was a bit like 'ships in the night' but it was great to meet up again and so thrilling to see this long awaited book actually in print.  (Although the official print release date wasn't until January this year.)

This is a book about vampires - but if the very idea sends shivers through your soul, don't worry.  This is a vampire story like no other, and although it's been compared to The Twilight Series (which I've never seen)  many people are saying it's much better - and I have to confess to being thoroughly besotted by the hero, Nathan Gray.  One of the most honorable, gentle and charismatic characters I have come across in a long time.

First of all I have to confess I am not a 'fan' of vampire romances. I've never quite been able to understand the attraction of a blood-sucking member of the 'undead'. However, Nate's words 'I will protect you until the day I die...forever.' were enough to make me curious to read this novel - and even if I hadn't known and admired the author, I would have still wanted to read it!

Nathanial Gray, ‘Nate',  may be a vampire, but he and his little family group have sworn off feeding on human blood and instead live off the blood of animals - and black pudding! If that last sounds a little humorous, there is a lot of humour in this story, as well as angst, passion, anger and deep sorrow. The incident where Rowan's parked car (with its safety features, 'modified' by Nate without her knowledge) is hit by a double decker bus with disastrous results - for the bus, had me laughing out loud! There were also times when I felt Nate’s passion and his pain and I could not help but empathise with him.

From the moment Nate accidentally rams into Rowan's car he is smitten by her, and his amazing and disturbing connection to her results in him feeling her emotions as well as his own. A vampire 'feels no emotion that is not his choice'.  So what is going on?

 It takes a while for Rowan to return his feelings and the path of their romance is far from easy, with a previous lover and a mysterious and sinister figure, Simeon Frey,  added to the mix and attempting to keep the two apart. Their relationship is also further complicated by the fact Nate longs to tell her what he is, but is afraid that if he does, he will lose her for ever. Rowan also has some secrets in her past, and her Aunt Hetty in particular causes  much speculation and concern to the vampires.  There is something distinctly unusual about her and  in addition, there is the question of the death of Rown’s parents ,  when she and her sister were children, which now appears to have been murder.

Nate has all the charm of Mr Darcy, but is more sensitive and vulnerable. The anguish and fear he feels when his beloved Rowan is in danger comes across the pages as both mental and physical. He is also a perfect gentleman with the type of courtesy that is unfortunately all too rare these days. I am an old fashioned romantic, and a male who opens doors, carries the heroine up the stairs to avoid further injury to her foot, (caused when she kicked his car in fury) and sends her white roses, certainly has the ability to melt my heart. Sarah Tranter has a fantastic ‘voice’ and the scenes were written so vividly I felt I was there, experiencing it all with Nathan, Rowan and the great cast of supporting characters. I love first person narrative and Ms Tranter manages to pull off the male POV very convincingly.

Both Nate and Rowan are very strong characters.  Nate, despite his gallantry has a fierce temper when provoked, especially if he feels Rowan is being threatened, and makes a formidable adversary.  Rowan is feisty and independent , but where Nate is concerned her softer side shows through.
The story is fast paced  and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next, while at the same time I didn't want it to end. The climax is real edge-of-the seat stuff and although the ending was wonderfully satisfying, it left me with several questions, and yearning for more.  I can't wait for the next book in the series.
(Sarah also has another (unrelated novel) 'Romancing The Soul', due to be published by Choc Lit next year.)


I will protect you until the day I die … forever!
A vampire does not have to feel any emotion not of his choosing.  And Nathaniel Gray has spent two hundred years choosing not to feel.  But when he accidentally runs Rowan Locke off the road, he is inexplicably flooded with everything she’s feeling, and that’s rage, and lots of it.

He is consumed with the need to protect Rowan at all costs including from himself. To Nate, what is happening is unthinkable and is pretty much as unbelievable as the existence of faeries. 

But you see, ‘There is no such thing as …immortality.’

This is Nate’s story …



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