When it comes to creating an intricate YA vampire world peopled with believable creatures, few do it as well as Cassandra Clare. Her Shadowhunters world is imaginative, and has been so successful that a movie based on the first book in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Bones, is due to be released August 21st.
But for anyone just coming into the world it can be confusing. There are several series, a graphic novel spin-off and the short story eBooks to consider. Who knows where to start? So, I put together a bit of a guide to help you out and get you up to speed on this amazing world of half-angel warriors called Shadowhunters.
The Mortal Instruments
It is a New York City the likes of which you have never imagined with vampires, werewolves, demons and a fifteen year old girl caught in the middle. Lush, sexy and told with an elegance that is often missing in your average YA vampire series, the world of the Shadowhunters in The Mortal Instruments is seductive.
Clary was just hanging out at her favorite dance club, The Pandemonium Club, when she witnesses a murder. To make matters worse she watches as the body of the dead boy disappears, and discovers no one but her can see the murderers. The three beautiful teenagers, covered with tattoos and brandishing strange weapons seem to be invisible to everyone but her.
The three are Shadowhunters, warriors created eons ago to rid the world of demons like the one they just killed. If Clary can see them, then she cannot be human, but what is she? When her mother is killed and demons suddenly become a little too interested in her, she knows she will need the Shadowhunters help.
Clary’s discovery that she is a Shadowhunter has certainly complicated her life. Her mother is in a magic-induced coma. The city she thought she knew is now revealing the Downworld to her, a place filled with creatures like vampires and werewolves. She misses her best friend Simon and her old life, but her newly discovered brother Jace is not about to let her disappear on him again.
She needs to find her father, a rogue Shadowhunter called Valentine who is not only crazy but evil to boot. Even if he is behind the string of Downworlder murders, he may have the only answer to saving her mother. When the Inquisitor comes to investigate who stole one of the precious Mortal Instruments, Jace is implicated. Can Clary find her father, clear her brother’s name and still find time to explore the love that has grown between her and Simon?
Clary travels to the legendary ancestral home of the Shadowhunters, the City of Glass. She is there because it has the answer to how she can save her mother. She knows the punishment for entering without permission is death and Jace has done all he can to stop her. To make matters worse, Simon has been imprisoned by the Shadowhunters as a daywalking vampire.
When a mysterious Shadowhunter comes to her aid she begins to learn more about her family, and what she learns disturbs her. Her father Valentine is assembling an army to defeat the Shadowhunters and the only way to stop him may be the ally themselves with their enemies, the Downworlders, if they can. In the midst of this chaos, Clary finds out she has the power to save them all, if she is willing to pay the price.
While the war may be finally over, life somehow has not gotten back to normal for Clary. True, her mother is finally able to marry the love of her life and Clary has found her own true love, with the man she thought was her brother, Jace. But her best friend is in trouble as his own mother abandons him when she discovers he is a vampire and it seems that Jace has begun to pull away from her. Trying to discover what is going on is just putting Clary into deeper trouble.
As she digs into her own past, she begins to have her suspicions that something she is responsible for could in the end cause her to lose everything and everyone she loves.
Jace and Clary may be soulmates, but it comes with a price. Clary has discovered that Jace and his evil brother Sebastian have been bound together by the magic of the demon Lilith. This binding has made her beloved an instrument of evil, even if it is against his will.
Can Clary find a way to free him before the Clave destroy him? If the price to free Jace is her own life, in exchange for freeing his immortal soul, is she willing to pay it? Can a soul be lost forever and is there a price too high for love?
This series is a trilogy set in Victorian England. The three stories center around a set of young Shadowhunters who were all orphaned at a young age and now must find their own destinies in a world where werewolves prowl the alleyways and vampires hold balls in fabulous homes. With a touch of the steampunk mixed in with fantasy romance, this “back history” of the Shadowhunters is a perfect complement to The Mortal Instruments.
Tessa Grey is only 16 when she crosses the ocean from New York to London in search of her missing brother. When she is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters she discovers a secret- that she is herself one of the nefarious Downworlders with a rare gift. Tessa can shapeshift at will to any other person.
Hunted for this ability she soon takes refuge with the Shadowhunters, where she meets James and Will. These two will help her find her missing brother, and torment her with the choice of who to love. Will she discover that love is the most dangerous magic of them all?
Tessa finds herself involved in a war between the Downworlder’s Magister and the Shadowhunters that shelter and protect her. That protection may be gone soon should the Clave be successful at ousting the head of the Institute, Charlotte.
Soon Tessa finds herself on a journey along with the tempestuous Will and loyal Jem to find the truth behind the war, Tessa’s true heritage and a shocking betrayal.
The series comes to an astonishing conclusion as Tessa is kidnapped by Mortmain, the creator of the Infernal Devices that threaten the Institute and all the Shadowhunters. The dangerous lunatic plans to use Tessa as his final lynchpin in the army of automatons he is scheming to set loose on an unsuspecting London.
Will and Jem set out to save her, but Tessa knows that the only person who can set her free is Tessa herself. She may have become powerful enough to command an army of angels, but will that be enough? Loss, love and betrayal all play a part in this powerful conclusion to a thrilling steampunk view of the Shadowhunters history in Victorian England.
The Bane Chronicles
These are a series of short stories in eBook form about Magnus Bane. He is a warlock in both the Infernal Devices series and The Mortal Instruments series and has become a favorite of readers in both series.
There are tales that explain why it is that Magnus has been banned in Peru in What Really Happened in Peru, and how invisible air balloons and of course Magnus play a role in helping the French Court escape certain death during the French Revolution in The Runaway Queen.
When Magnus goes to London to help with the peace negotiations, he of course is soon caught up in a pair of possible love affairs that could have disastrous consequences in Vampires, Scones and Edmond Herondale. Edwardian London is the setting for another short story of Magnus’s dalliance that involves a beautiful ward, the son of an old friend and the sinister plans of Tatiana Blackthorn in The Midnight Heir.
These are just the tip of the iceberg, for Cassandra Clare has collaborated with fellow young adult writers Sarah Rees Brennan (Unspoken, Untold) and Maureen Johnson (Scarlett fever, Girl at Sea) to create ten wonderfully fun and exciting short stories that follow the adventures, and misadventures of everyone’s favorite character from the world of the Shadowhunters. Be sure to preorder the rest of the set for a lovely surprise story as they roll out over the rest of the year.
When it comes to writing a vampire series with wit and style, J.R. Rain has it all sewn up! His latest series: The Spinoza Trilogy is a great example of this. I was familiar enough with J.R. Rain’s work from his Samantha Moon books. In fact, I recently reviewed the latest in that series, Vampire Games, here on Vampire Librarian. Our main character in this set of novella’s is actually a minor character in that series, so it is nice to get to know him a bit better here.
If you were a fan of the Girl With a Dragon Tattoo books you are going to recognize the title and homage right away in this latest series. I love how he has taken first the titles and then a bit of the character set-up or plot from this series, and turned it on its head. Here is the basic premise, see how much of it you recognize as a tilt of the fedora to Stieg Larsson’s masterpiece.
The story centers on Spinoza, a private detective who is very good at what he does, which is finding kids who go missing. But- he has a dark past that he pretty much never tells anyone about, though eventually it is revealed. Somehow it is all tied to his past struggles with alcohol, although he says that he now has that under control.
Into this troubled man’s life comes Veronica. She too has a troubled past, and more than that she is a hunter. But what she hunts is not missing people, but rather vampires. That was when Spinoza’s life took a different spin.
It all starts with a missing girl. Her name is Veronica and ever since she witnessed the brutal murder of her parents she has been obsessed with tracking down and killing those responsible. But when the high school student goes missing, private investigator Spinoza is brought in to solve the case.
He specializes in finding missing children. In fact he is so good at it that it can be downright scary. But this hunt may be a bit different. For it seems that somehow Veronica has decided that whoever killed her parents was a vampire. To avenge them she must learn to be the one thing all vampires, according to all the books she has read, fear. She must become a slayer.
At first Spinoza shrugs it off as another teen fantasy obsession. But as he tracks the clues to Veronica and her intended victim he begins to wonder. Could the girl be right?
This time the missing is not a hunter of the undead, but an actual dead body! When Evelyn Drake died she left everything to a young man everyone thought was long gone. In order to prove he is indeed the heir, he offers to match DNA. The only problem, when they unearth the coffin the body is nowhere to be seen.
With the help of a familiar detective, Spinoza tracks down the answer. But not before he finds himself face to face with some chilling discoveries. With snappy patter, more than a little sleuthing and a generous helping of donuts (but, of course!) he gets to the bottom of a very dark mystery.
It seems that the local medieval diner has more going for it than bad acting. Our man Spinoza is hired by a worker at the joint because he thinks someone is being held against their will. As part of the show there is an actor in an Iron Mask. But he never takes it off and no one knows anything about him. Could he be a prisoner in the forbidden deep basement below the theatre?
Spinoza decides to investigate for himself. To his surprise when he arrives at MedievaLand he runs into someone very familiar, from an earlier case. When he discovers that the man behind the mask is no ordinary man, but rather a vampire, he needs to consider the consequences of freeing him.
This final novella in this detective vampire series is available from Amazon in kindle format only.
This vampire tale gives us a whole new mythology to build a vampire race around, and it is a stunning one. Taking the old Egyptian gods as a template, author Irina Argo introduces us to a dual race of supernatural beings: the Amiti and the Vampire Elite. The Vampires were an accidental creation of a vengeful goddess, made from drops of her blood upon the ground. Realizing that they would eventually, in their bloodlust, destroy all humanity she created the Amiti. These creatures are the ones that could “unlock the love hidden within the vampires”, but only at a price.
Drawn by an irresistible force to each other, when a vampire drinks directly from an Amiti they create a “blood-bond” that both empowers the pair and locks them together to prevent either from overpowering the other race. The vampires soon develop a solution: to drink the Amiti blood indirectly by hunting and capturing them. They then imprison them as blood cattle, kept alive and healthy for the blood that will always sustain the Vampire Elite. And so it has now gone for centuries.
Two Sisters with Different Destinies
This first book in the Vampire Elite Series centers on two half-sisters. They share the same mother, Istara Queen of the Amiti. But Simone’s father is Tor, the King of the Vampire Elite and she is raised by the vampire’s family as one of their own. Arianna is the offspring of a forced coupling between Istara and another Amiti, and finds herself orphaned and unprotected at the age of 18 when her father dies. The two meet and soon become fast friends, but even this friendship has its price.
Simone knows that it is just a matter of time before Arianna becomes the blood chattel of some vampire, perhaps even of her own family. She is determined to find a way to protect her from this destiny. When she arrives at her half-sisters cottage home, she is surprised to find that Arianna has come up with her own solution to the problem. It is a daring idea, filled with all kinds of risks. When the two decide to follow Arianna’s solution they know they are going down a path neither can return from without great personal risk or maybe even death. But they have to take it.
The Power of Love
It might seem strange to read a vampire tale that is all about the power of love, but that is exactly what this amazing series does. I was quite frankly amazed at what a good job Irina Argo, the pen name of two friends for whom this is their first novel, does with both setting up this world and then portraying a pretty large cast of characters. Don’t be put off by the cover, which I will admit is somewhat amateurish in appearance. The writing is first class.
The two sisters set everything in motion, but the real conflict comes when Arianna embraces the need of her people to be freed of the vampire’s enslavement. Her bond with her sister connects her to the Vampire King Tor, Simone’s father. When an unexpected attraction pulls them together they must both choose between their loyalty to their people and their overwhelming need for each other.
If you are looking for a vampire tale that leaves the old Europe-centric concepts behind, Vampire Elite will feel like a drink of fresh blood. You can download the Kindle version from our friends at Amazon today or order the paperback for a quick shipment of vampire driven enjoyment.
Deep in Your Veins is a vampire series with not one but three kinds of vampires, and all sexy hot. MMM-boy, my kind of book! Wright has created a vampire world of its own, with vampires who each have their own special gift, in addition to the basic attributes of their vampire race. First, there are the Pagori vamps. They are at the top of the chain with their awesome strength and power. Next are the Keja vamps. Their beauty is so over-the-top that it is a power unto itself. Finally there are the Svente vamps. They don’t have the power or beauty of the other two breeds. But what they do have is an ability to control their blood-lust. This makes them the perfect agents to walk amongst the humans.
In addition to this, all vamps receive a special power when they come of age. Each one is unique to that specific vampire. Sam, short for Samantha, is a Svente but with a rare gift. She is a “feeder”, which means she can feed off of the energy around her to manipulate it. She can turn it into basically anything she wants. This is a formidable weapon.
A kickass chick who takes nothing from nobody, Sam has decided that she wants to take part in the tournament that will decide who is part of the elite Grand High Master’s Private Army. It is much like deciding to be in the King’s Guard, almost impossible. The only problem is, no Svente has ever joined and no woman has even tried to join. At least not until now.
Yup, the title is a bit tongue in cheek, because if there ever were a bunch of overly proud of themselves sexist vamps who are just setting themselves up for an ass-kicking, it’s these guys. And Sam is more than happy to oblige.
The first two books of the series introduce us to Sam along with the sexy and extremely sexist Jared and a host of great support characters. Be forewarned, the hot and heavy scenes may not show up until about 70% into the book- but they are soooo worth it! They are also really explicit, so be ready for a cool shower after.
We meet Sam and get the lowdown on just why she is not only an awesome fighter, but also loves to put this bunch of macho boys in their place. She may not like Jared, the commander of the elite guards she wants to join. That doesn’t mean she isn’t attracted to him. Jared, on the other hand has a hard time (every pun intended) separating his overwhelming need to bed the woman, and to show her up.
One thing he is certain of, no woman has ever made it pass the tournament and into the elite troops, and they aren’t about to do it now. But Sam is about to show him just how wrong he can be. When the Grand High Master, impressed by her skills, invites her to co-captain with Jared, things suddenly become much more personal for both of them. Never underestimate a willful and powerful woman, when she knows just what she wants!
The war that put everyone on the line is won, but something doesn’t feel right to Sam. She is about to be “bound” to Jared, and she should be happy. But she keeps having these dreams. When she begins to suspect that her “dreamwalker” abilities have linked her to someone in peril she sets out to find out who and why. What she discovers shakes both her and the vampire society she has sworn to protect. Then, just when she needs it most, her chameleon abilities betray her and leave her helpless.
Of course, Jared is still the overly protective sexist vamp he has always been. While he knows that Sam is no wallflower, he can’t help himself. The moment he senses that Sam is in danger, he is off to find and rescue her. But this may be something that all of Jared’s strength and power cannot fight against. Even he may not be able to save her.
Want to get your hands on this thrilling second part of the series now? Well, you can when you download the Kindle version today. If you are fine with waiting you can always order the paperback version and get it shipped to you while you enjoy the thrill of anticipation.
He is a prince and a deadly assassin. She is the ward of his greatest enemy. In a sweeping new series from the creator of the Immortals After Dark series, we enter the hidden world of a dangerous vampire society.
Trehan Daciano has served his people well. Any threat that shows up to them, he has dispatched. A shadow in the night, and danger to anyone who would threaten his people, he has never before been faced with being denied that which he desires. And the moment he laid eyes on Bettina, he knew he wanted her and had to have her no matter what the cost.
But Bettina was bound to another. Worse yet, her heart has already been given. Determined to prove to her Guardians that she is once again worthy, she agrees to accept the suitor who prevails in a competition. How was she to know that one of the competitors would haunt her dreams?
But even with the competition won, the dark prince cannot claim her if she is not willing. His code of honor will not let him claim his bride until he has claimed her heart. The lonely years make him impatient. He longs for release. When it finally comes will she soar with him?
A New Vampire Romance Series
If you like your heroes tall, dark, brooding and clever – then you just may be the perfect audience for this new series from acclaimed fantasy author Kresley Cole. Yes, it is a bit formulaic. But then what romance fantasy isn’t, when you get right down to it. But here, we finally get the chance to learn more about the vampires thought to be only legend within the Immortals After Dark series.
If you have been waiting for a story that tells the tale of the mysterious Dacia, this is a great place to start. Cole says it is just the beginning of a series that she has been longing to write. You know the dark prince will get his woman, the fun will be watching it happen.
Have you ever inhaled deeply while walking past a cupcake shop? Don’t they smell like heaven? Why would anyone not want a cupcake shop in your neighborhood? But then if your neighborhood was full of vampires, maybe a cupcake shop would not be your first choice.
Of course Daniella, did not know this when she planned to open her new cupcake shop in a little hidden neighborhood of Chicago. Still, she was determined to open her own shop, even if the head of the business association wasn’t exactly welcoming. When Daniela was determined, few things stood in her way.
A Problem of Convincing
Nick St George liked to think that the last 200 years as a vampire had taught of thing or two about mesmerizing humans. Convincing this one to not open a cupcake shop should’ve been a snap. Their neighborhood didn’t need more humans; it needed to stay the same quiet sleepy neighborhood it had been for a while. The only problem was his suggestions did not seem to be working.
This is a charming little novel with a very different view of vampire romance. Yes, Daniella is spunky, as all good heroines in a vampire romance should be. And yes our hero Nick is dark and handsome and a little dangerous, as all good heroes in a vampire romance should be. But there is a tongue in cheek quality in the writing that takes it beyond your simple vampire romance.
A Tasty Change Of Pace
If you came here looking for a dark and broody fable, you are plain out of luck. Daniela is perpetual sunshine while Nick has its hands full just keeping Daniella safe when word gets out that she can resist a vampire. Of course the real question is can she resists Nick? And why does Nick think he’s fallen for her, when he knows as a vampire he no longer has emotions. Sleeping with the Entity is a delicious vampire romance that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.
Seventeen year-old Sofia is alone in this world except for her best friend Ben. But even best friends can let you down, as she felt he did that fateful night. She walked along the beach, berating herself for even caring that Ben had forgotten her birthday. That might be why she didn’t notice the stranger until he was there, in front of her. He was gorgeous and dangerous, dark and deadly; all things 17 year old girls are both attracted to and know they should run from quickly. Perhaps she should have done the later.
But Sofia didn’t run and soon found herself captive on an island where the sun not only doesn’t shine; it is not allowed to shine. A coven of deadly vampires inhabit the island, and she is soon destined to belong to the Prince of them all. She is a gift from Lucas, the stranger on the beach, to his brother Derek. Derek has been sleeping for 400 years, and when he wakes he will need her.
But instead what happens is unexpected. For Derek and Sophia somehow find themselves attracted to each other. In a world where ordinary humans are more victims than partners, how are they to find an answer to this?
If you are expecting your run of the mill teen girl meets vampire and they fall in love, yes this is one of those. But while the plotting may seem predictable, the writing is everything you want in a book like this. It has great characters, stubborn gutsy heroines, and a hero to make you swoon. This is just the novella to introduce us all. If you love it, be sure to come back for A Shade of Blood, which continues the story.
You know the old saying to never judge a book by its cover? Well that saying really is true for Wolf Spell, a real knockout of a debut novel by M.R. Polish. It may not look it, but this vampire book has plenty of other paranormal creatures. But even with all the witches, warlocks and shape-shifters that populate this story, I say it is still a book that firmly sits in the vampire universe. Plus, the YA nature of it, the hot pair of would-be lovers and the wonderful paranormal romance is so right on. There is good reason that this book is making the rounds at all the review sites right now. It is a great addition to the world of fantasy and vampire stories.
Uncovering the Mystery
It all starts really with a funeral. Unfortunately, for Esmerelda, it is her Mom’s funeral. And even more unfortunately a man she thought was her family doctor used the opportunity to kidnap her and then explain who she really is. He also told her who her mother really was. But most of all, he told her who the man she thought of as her Father really was – a warlock. Worse, he was one that had held her and her mother captive all these years.
Choosing the Love
Now that she knows the truth, what does she intend to do? There is a battle going on, and she is in the middle of it whether she wants to be or not. Luckily she has help. Jarek is her guardian, and also someone she thinks she may be slowly falling in love with. He knows he is falling for her, even if he is trying with all his might not to. This all would have been fine if only Ian hadn’t shown up. Cocky, fresh and oh so sexy Ian. Now what is a witch to do?
There are mysteries to unravel, witches to awaken and lovers to decide upon. This was a delightful book and I for one am really looking forward to the next installment. The book is perfect for the YA crowd, but don’t let that stop you if you are a bit older. The storytelling is very all grown up and wonderful to read.