Review: “Immortalis Carpe Noctem” by Katie Salidas
Posted by Ames
Explore the emotional upheaval that is the transformation from human to vampire.
Bleeding to death after brutal mugging on the campus of UNLV, Twenty-five year old Alyssa, is rescued by the cold and aloof, vampire, Lysander. Taking pity on her, he shares the gift-and curse-of immortality. She awakens as a vampire and is soon devastated by harsh realities of her new way of life: An unyielding thirst for blood as well as the loss of her friends, her independence, and her humanity.
As if having her humanity stripped away was not enough to make life interesting, Alyssa finds out her “turning”, did not go unnoticed by the rest of undead society. Old enemies; an ancient sect of vampire hunters, known as the Acta Sanctorum, as well as a powerful Vampire mistress, each set plans in motion to destroy both Alyssa and Lysander.
Only by accepting her new-found immortality, seizing the night, will Alyssa hope to survive. She and Lysander must fight together against two sets of enemies bent on destroying them both.
Published March 2nd 2010 by Rising Sign Books
Read: 12 June 2011
I’m going to be honest, the first 30% was 1 star. I struggled against the awkwardness of the writing and really wanted to put it down and read other things especially when Lysander, the 2000-year-old vampire and leading man, openly admitted to his newly sired vampire child that he’d watched with curiosity while she was tortured, almost raped and about to be dealt a death blow.
‘I regret that my fascination with the brutality of their attack prevented me from stopping them before they had done too much damage.[…] She was an innocent. A young woman. Too young to die.’ ~An excerpt from Lysander’s journal.
He only stepped in once she’d been stabbed and lay badly beaten waiting to be raped and murdered. I think in all the time he’d been alive he’d seen women beaten, stabbed and possibly raped before -why would he be curious about it now? Had he no feelings about it at all? I understand he was disconnected from the world but that stuck with me through the whole thing.
Anyway, after that first third of the book, the writing changed, new characters were introduced. The book lost that cabin-fever feeling with both Lysander and Alyssa getting at each other’s throats and avoiding embarrassing lust-filled moments with only moderate success. The visiting clan of vampires brought with it 3 characters which made a true impact on Alyssa and the story: Jessie, Rozaline and Crystal. Jessie as the reckless youth and the others as wise elders.
Alyssa struggles with her new life as a monster killing people every night to survive. She even tries blood from a butcher which proved she had to have fresh blood from the living. She can’t stand Lysander being right all the time and ignores his warning: “Immortality does not mean invincibility” defies him and follows another vampire’s example leading to an unintentional death which preyed on her conscience because he was innocent and she meant to only kill criminals just as Lysander does.
Longing for her old life Alyssa imagines telling her best friend Fallon what she is and ‘That I must feed every night, and because of that, I choose to feed from those who do harm to others? Even to myself, it sounded stupid. I sounded like some bastardized superhero.’ I like how this was addressed because that’s exactly how it sounds.
The adversary, Kallisto, was a woman scorned and we all know how that works. She’s Lysnader’s ex and believes herself worthy of worship and unending fealty as a sort-of queen of the vampires, as one of the eldest in existence. She’s power-mad, selfish and cruel. No one matters but her own needs and survival. Lysander was her former king and mate though she never let him go, he walked away. She’s given him every chance to re-join her and now she wants him dead because if she can’t have him, no one can.
The people to be even more afraid of were the Saints, men of the Roman Catholic Church who came together to specifically hunt vampires. They even turned a dying warrior, Santino, into the very thing they condemned in order to kill more vampires, promising automatic entry into Heaven. He fails to acknowledge that lie, no matter how many times Lysander presents him with it:
“I know the commandments you are supposed to live by. There is no fine print in ‘Thou shall not kill’.”
The love or rather lust-becoming-more was borne out of a lack of other options, for Lysander in particular. I couldn’t understand what he saw in 25-year-old Alyssa other than her youth and beauty. For Alyssa, on the other hand, she was presented with a knowledgeable older man who obviously wasn’t hurting for money -that much was clear when their financial situation was contrasted with the gyspy-like travelling vampires. Of course, she would be infatuated by him, he was her teacher. He had power and authority over her. Her forgiveness of his hesitation to save her life at the beginning came too easily and quickly. It was brushed aside as something that didn’t matter. No grudge, no fights over it. No disgust. Unrealistic.
I was surprised by Edmond’s actions towards the end, honourable though they were. He worshipped Kallisto but he meant nothing to her which she delighted in telling Alyssa with Edmond in the room. I’m not sure how Lysander trusted what he claimed when he divulged the whereabouts of his life work and I’m unsure of what Edmond had ever really done to Lysander to provoke the death sentence he demanded but I found myself liking Edmond’s character much more than Lysander.
Overall, I’m not particularly fond of the main characters. I liked the travelling vampires, Kallisto, Santino and Edmond. The writing was shaky and awkward to start with but improved as the author seemed to gain confidence in what she was doing, and the book became more interesting as a result.
*Although this was a free e-book from the author this did not impact on my rating or review.
Steph’s review of “Immortalis Carpe Noctem” by Katie Salidas