So Once Burned and Twice Tempted eh? That would describe me pretty well regarding this series.
I still love you Vlad! But not the real you, but the one I made up built off of the series you originated from. I have at least that in common with Leila. This change in Vlad's character- I can only describe it in one way: Anders from Dragon Age Orgins DLC ---> Dragon Age II. Yeah if you play Bioware games you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Night and day difference of character.
After I finished the last 10% of this book after I woke this morning (after reading this literally all night) it dawned on me that I really shouldn't be surprised that Frost writes WTF endings. I just never noticed before because I read the Night Huntress series back to back and after it had been mostly all published (which is my preference for series- it helps not to have a year or more gap between books and I hate rereading to remember). I loved the Night Huntress series because it was packed with a lot of cheesy good humor- I remember laughing a lot reading through it. These two books? Not so much. Another thing the Night Huntress series was awesome at was pure camp factor. This book takes itself too seriously.
My humble observations, or otherwise known as my dismay of how this turned out:
-Virtually everything Vlad does in this book for Leila makes no sense to me. From offering her his ring and vampirism- to a toilet in his private inner sanctum. It rang false. I wondered about why it rang false and you'd think after Leila has suffered so much in the name of love she deserves all of that right? Then I realized ok this is why it seems so fake. Leila didn't really suffer so much as she did because she was running around being classically TSTL with Mr. Red Herring.
-Red Herring-ish aka Maximus. I didn't read the blurb on this book- but if it hinted at a love triangle then Frost doesn't truly know what a love triangle is. This is more of a feint. And honestly it isn't as if a good hefty love triangle was really going to improve the book at all but if you're doing to do it DO IT. Maximus also made no sense to me. I knew he had the hots for Leila since book one..but really? This "but really" is full blown Saturday Night Live BUT REALLY? He sure is risking a lot for a woman that is like "meh" and has given him a few tepid kisses and then dumped him for his uber powerful master and liege and boss man. I wasn't buying it. Also- Maximus had the inkling of maybe what I'd like to have read in another book. Tall blonde and Viking looking? I would have been interested if Frost hadn't destroyed what could have been a good side character. But then again look what happens to her creme da la creme side characters like beloved Vlad. What can I expect...
-Can someone kill Gretchen already? PLEASE? I didn't understand why none of the vamps just mesmerized her and stuck her in a closet the entire book with the order "stay in there". That would have been fine.
-Leila's father. I get that he's steely ex military. But these are vampires dad. You can talk about how much you dislike them..but yeah. Dad you totally left Leila to her own devices for what? Ten years? And when she's neck deep in paranormal world and danger that's when you decide it's time to opine and pitch cane waving fits?
-Leila is TSTL. Self Explanatory.
-Vlad needs to work on his relationship skills. His idea of good relationships equal this, literally: Hey love I'll make you a vampire, and THEN all those times you wanted to know how I felt about you? YOU'LL KNOW ALL OF THE TIME. Presto.
The ending- here's all I can say for all of the WTF endings I have shelved:
Robert McKee says this to Charlie Kaufman in Adaptation (a film):Robert McKee: I'll tell you a secret. The last act makes a film. Wow them in the end, and you got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you've got a hit. Find an ending, but don't cheat, and don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that, and you'll be fine.