Review source: Library
Reviewed by: Kathy Davie
Series: Dorina Basarab, 1
First in the Dorina Basarab urban fantasy series revolving around a dhampir, Dory, Mercia's rebellious daughter.
As for how it fits into the Cassandra Palmer series, Louis-César has been brought over to battle Rasputin and the Black Circle have already raided MAGIC, putting the American Vampire Senate on a war footing with the Black Circle. AND Tony's machinations have been revealed.
Considering how similar Cassie and Dory feel about Vlad, I'd think the girls would get on well.
This story sets the background for future romance and adventures for Dorina with Caedmon, the light fey king, and Louis-Cesare, the European fencing champion. Some background history on Vlad the Impaler is also given. And, oh brother...talk about dysfunctional.
I do love Dory's attitude toward Daddy dearest! Crack me up! It's such a typical teen sort of reaction, except this is with vamps! She's cheeky, she's snarky, and she takes no prisoners when slagging off Dad.
Except Louis-Cesare isn't impressed, and he has his own ideas for capturing Vlad and none of them include a dhampir! But she's Mercia's get, so what choice does he have?? Dory isn't excited either---I do love when she learns who L-C is! Still, she is practical, and she'll perform illegal acts if it'll help out. She fights mean too as L-C discovers.
I love Uncle Pip's house!! Well, okay, there are some aspects I'd like to avoid, but the way in which it deals with trespassers and makes repairs?? Oh, yeah.
I do like how Chance pops in Dory's and Louis-Cesare's memories with those walls of emotion. A great way to provide backhistory without it being an info dump.
Oh, man, I'm not sure if I'm curious or appalled at the idea of that dinner at Radu's house. Little cows wandering around the table. People picking them up and popping them in their mouths or simply biting off the legs. It's so ewww and yet my taste buds are wanting that hint of beef!
We learn why Mercia is so anxious to keep Vlad alive. It'll make you cry. As will lots of backhistory on Dory, Mercia, Louis-Cesare, Radu, and Vlad.
It's fun and adventurous with a chunk of drama and a slab of tension with mage traps, trolls bashing down walls, great escapes, illegal auctions with...um...different...um...things.
Yuck, the...test? gauntlet? that Ǽsubrand makes her run!
It's also a courtship. Not one most people would choose, but it works for these two. Just, well, just not so well for Radu...he simply doesn't want to know why his niece is naked and tied up.
Claire's been missing a month and Dory is becoming more frantic. Worried enough to wipe out most of Michael's crew at the bar where Mercia shows up. Seems Daddy Dearest has a job for his recalcitrant daughter---recapturing Drac, Mercia's youngest brother---and isn't taking no for an answer.
Mercia does have a powerful incentive for Dory to pay attention to what he wants. And Dory is desperate enough to accept this rock and a hard place, she's so desperate to have Claire back.
Dorina Basarab is a dhampir: half human and half vampire. Scum as far as vampires are concerned. The only thing that saves her is who her father is: Mercia. Doesn't cut him any slack where Dory is concerned. Stinky is the baby Duergar Dory rescues.
Claire, of House Lachesis, is a null who specializes in healing---she keeps Dory calm, is a strict vegetarian, and is Dory's fabulous roommate---she's also pregnant! It's Uncle Pip's house where Claire and Dory live. Warded up the wazoo. Claire ended up working for her cousin Sebastian at Gerald & Co. Although, later in the story, Chance says Sebastian finally tracked her down...huh?? Heidar is the Fey with whom she hooked up. A.K.A., Alarr. Miss Priss is one of Claire's cats, a cute white kitty kat that morphs. BIG. Seems that Jackanapes has the same "talent".
Louis-Cesare is on loan from the European Senate for his dueling skills with a rapier. Kit Marlowe is a vampire, playwright, and onetime Elizabethan bad boy as well as the head of intelligence for the Senate.
Mercia, Count Basarab, is Vlad Dracul's brother. He's also the chief diplomat for the American Vampire Senate. Radu is the littlest Basarab brother with an inquiring if vague intellect, horrible taste, and preferring to live in his past. Mehmed II was Radu's lover and political patron---sucking up to him kept Radu alive. Geoffrey is Radu's major domo at his wine country estate in California.
José and Kristie are a couple of miscreant friends of Dory's whom she's finagled out of jail. Benny is a Skogstrol, a forest troll. Olga, a Bergtroll, or mountain troll, was not only Benny's secretary, but his wife as well. She'll lead the pack. A friend, so to speak of Dory's, Benny specialized in weapons. Jay is a Nsquital demon packing up to get out of Vegas. Dory reckons when the demons start leaving, it's bad.
Uncle Drac was mean and nasty when he was alive. Now that he's dead, nothing has changed. He's following Rasputin. For now. Admittedly, after the way his father treated him and his brothers, he does have reason, but come on, it's been centuries. Get over it.
Alejandro, the leader of the Latin American Senate, kidnapped Christine a century ago, a friend of Louis-Cesare's to force him to fight Tomas in his challenge.
Kyle is a lowlife vamp. Yup, even lower than most. Michael is a low-level vamp. Jack the Ripper has been turned by Augusta back in the past which would make this story start after Claimed by Shadow, 2, and Mircea and Cassie are hunting Dracula.
Jonathan is a Black Circle mage desperate to recapture Louis-Cesare. For the fun of it.
Caedmon is a cheeky Fey out having a good time. He encounters Louis-Cesare and Dory at the auction house while all three are looking for Claire. Three Houses of the Light Fey: Blarestri are Blue Elves and the current ruling house (the king has a son, Prince Alarr, but no heir; they followed the Vanir, older fertility gods); the Svarestri, the Black Elves, (the king's sister married a noble and they have a full-blood Fey son, Ǽsubrand); and the Alorestri, the Green Elves aren't much interested in politics. The Ǽsir, the Lords of Battle, ruled ages ago. Eluen Londe is Faerie.
The cover is of Dory's backside in her tight-fitting black leather jeans and her black cropped tank top. There's a complex arrangement of straps at and around her waist. She's holding a gun---smart girl— and looking out over the water to a city.
I dunno about the title. Obviously Dory is Mercia's daughter and I reckon the midnight could well refer to Mercia's state, functioning in the night, leaving us with Midnight's Daughter.