I release you Lenah Beaudonte.
Believe...and be free.
Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish. Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?
This book took me a very long time to read. I stopped and started several times, reading other books in between. I finally found the time to sit down and finish it and I enjoyed it. The story was well written and had an interesting combination of past and present. Lenah had been a vampire for 500 years, turned as a teenager. The book begins on the first day she has become human again, living the life of a sixteen year-old girl in current times. She is alone at a private school and must start over, making new friends and a new life. As days go by she has flashbacks to her old vampire life. Her history is slowly revealed and the contrast is obvious. As a vampire she was lonely and violent. She had to kill and drink blood to survive. She also turned specific victims to create a coven of her own for protection and companionship. Now as a human she has emotions that help her realize how horrific her actions were but knows she was driven by blood lust. She begins making friends that she really cares about but she knows that her old coven will come looking for her.
I liked most of the characters and found them interesting. Rhodes was a devoted friend who gave his life for her, Tony is a new friend who already cares for her deeply and Justin is more than a friend. Vicken will do anything to destroy her. I was curious to see how they would all interact. Together they had plenty of tension, suspense and action.
I didn't feel all of Lenah's excuses and situations were very believable. Everyone was too accepting of her reasons for not acting like most teenagers. She was new to every experience but they didn't seem to find it that strange. I also thought the social life of these teens was more like a college situation than high school. They were able to go to night clubs and bars and had access to boats and cars. This was a private school and many of them were from wealthy families (but hey, I'm not that familiar with either of those things!) but it still seemed excessive for teenagers.
This was the first book in the Vampire Queen trilogy and this author's debut. I look forward to the sequel and to more books from Rebecca Maizel.
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: August 2010
Price/format: $9.99/trade paperback
Type: teen fiction