Sunday, April 17, 2011

Infinite Days review

Infinite Days
August 2010

Lenah Beaudonte, a more than 500 year-old former vampire queen is desperately trying to adjust to modern life in a boarding school. After Rhode, a fellow vampire and the love of her life, sacrifices himself in an arcane ritual, she unwillingly becomes 16 years old and human again. In the meantime, the coven she left behind (now led by her former protégé, Vicken) are trying to track her down and destroy her new life.

I loved the way that Lenah's alien-ness, and cold, calculating nature immediately come across. The first half of the book deals with the fight against her vampire instincts. For example, when a teacher annoys her, her first thought is how quickly she would be able to kill him. She initially looks at her schoolmates as human prey, not as potential friends. Lenah has some trouble adjusting to modern technology, of course, because she's been hibernating for a hundred years. She also struggles with simply being human: after centuries of carefully honed caution, sunlight still scares her.

At school, Lenah immediately becomes interested in Justin Enos, a perfect, All-American, good looking jock. His brothers and their girlfriends make up the circle of popular kids, which, with her "new at school" status, and socially awkward ways, she is immediately shut out of. Instead, she befriends Tony, one of the kids in the arts crowd. When she does finally get Justin's attention, Tony's sense of betrayal is heartbreaking, and the vapid and clueless girlfriends' attempts to adopt Lenah's gothic fashion sense are truly laughable.


One thing I loved about this story is the way that Lenah's centuries of experience and schooling leave her far, far superior to her human classmates. This is hinted at in Twilight, with Edward's easy good grades, because he's repeated high school several times, but is fully realized in this book, where Lenah speaks dozens of languages fluently, and has already read every book on the course syllabus multiple times. Her intelligence is intimidating, and her clumsiness in social situations means that, at first, she doesn't think to tone it down to try to fit in with her classmates. After having traveled Europe, and ruled over a nest of vicious vampires with an iron fist, she carries an air of being supremely confident and sure of herself, even as she feels completely out of her depth at an American high school.

I have to admit, I was a little mystified by Lenah's attraction to Justin. She's already had two great, epic loves in her life (or unlife), Rhode and Vicken. What is it about Justin that draws her? (Aside from washboard abs?) I honestly thought that even Tony, the sensitive artist, best-friend who carries a torch for her, would make a better match. Although of course, I was rooting for her to stay loyal to Rhode all along. The only other minor quibble I had with the book was that when Lenah is originally made a vampire, during a rainstorm on her family estate in the 1500's (she happens to go out to her father's orchard after dark) I wished that she had some better knowledge or experience of being around vampires before being suddenly thrust into their company.

In many books, flashbacks can be poorly handled, distracting from the important action of the present day, and slowing the pace of the book; in this novel, they are a necessary way of understanding who Lenah is. The vampires in this world haven't tried to blend in with human society and it shows. They are ruthless, cruel, blood-thirsty and more than a little crazy. The sequel, Stolen Nights, was supposed to have been released on March 1st, but that obviously hasn't happened. Maizel has put out a statement that the delay is due to re-writes and she hopes to have the book ready "Soon I hope. Sooner than soon. Sooner than sooner than sooner." I'm sure all of her fans fervently agree.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

4 comments:

  1. I felt the same way about Justin. I love Rhodes! What's so special about Justin? Anyway, great review!

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  2. I own this book; but I found the first chapter really strange 0_0 and I actually didn't know what it was about! So thanks for the review I'll definitely give it another go.

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  3. @P.E. Honestly, I thought that Justin was a bit of a tool! But, maybe the appeal is that he is so gosh-darn different from the deadly dangerous kinds of murderers that Lenah is used to hanging out with.

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  4. Oooh, I like the twist of having a vampire become human! I have a feeling that I have a lot of students who would really get into Lenah's story.

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