Monday, December 5, 2011

Review: Acquainted with the Night

Acquainted with the Night by Piper Maitland

Publication Date: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Horror
Pages: Paperback, 539

(Received for an honest review from Berkley)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Piper Maitland on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Acquainted with the Night


A woman's quest for the truth...
A Medieval icon that holds the clues...
An ancient book with the power to shake Christianity - and humanity itself...

Caroline Clifford's bland life as a London tour guide flips upside down when her beloved uncle is brutally murdered at a Bulgarian archeological site. While traveling to recover his remains, she meets a man who corresponded with her uncle. Jude Barrett is a biochemist on a mission - to rid the world of vampires...

At first, Caro is dismissive of Jude's beliefs, but she can't ignore the signs that are all around her: the human bite marks on her uncle, the men following her, the anguished cries after sundown. Strange anagrams on her uncle's passport lead her and Jude to a cliff-top monastery in Greece, where a shattered revelation connects a relic Caro inherited from her parents to an age-old text on immortality - and an enigmatic prophecy that pits the forces of darkness and light in a showdown that could destroy them all...

Author Piper Maitland is no stranger to the publishing world. Though, her latest book Acquainted with the Night is a far cry from her novels under the name Michael Lee West. This book is the delicious beginning to a new series that Maitland has created. The world-building alone in this book is worth the read, not to mention the fantastic characters and engaging plot. At over 500+ pages this book may appear daunting, but it grabs the reader on the first page and refuses to let go!

Paranormal and Urban Fantasy fans will find that this one has lot to offer as far as vampire mythology is concerned. Thriller fans will love the non-stop action of the book. Mystery fans will be on the edge of their seats trying to figure out the villains next move and the history enthusiasts will be beside themselves with the historical implications. There is a lot going on in this one and some readers might think it would be confusing, but Maitland describes everything in such stunning detail that it is anything but. I had a hard time putting this one down and revelation after revelation kept me up long into the night!

Maitland's vampires are a cross between legend and modern interpretation. Readers have seen the vampires of old who are ruthless and full of malice and the newer "tamer" versions of the vampire that are popular today. In Acquainted with the Night, Maitland gives the reader a cross between the two that is both interesting and entertaining. When an author can make me like the villain in spite of his behavior, they are really doing something. I try not to make snap judgements of villains but that's usually how it goes. But Maitland made her villain a lot more accessible than most. He was a manipulative, evil guy, but his very sneakiness is fun to read about. He is someone that readers will find themselves a little drawn to in spite of his ruthlessness.

The two main characters Caro and Jude are so well written that readers will feel a kinship with them and their struggles. The relationship heats up fast and Maitland isn't shy about the heat coming off this couple. They make one heck of a team in more ways than one. There were moments when I loved them both, and moments where I wanted to throttle some sense into them! I liked the way that Maitland gets the reader invested in them and then pulls the rug out from under them. Readers are by that time so pulled into them as a couple that will refuse to stop reading until everything is resolved. Great technique and very well drawn characters. The mark of a good writer!

The overall mystery and plot to this one was astounding. It did remind me a little bit of the Da Vinci Code in a sense because of the fact that the ancient text was pointing toward some really strong religious references. But the addition of the vampires took this one in a totally different direction. As with many vampire novels it comes down to good vs. evil and who will win out. I loved the fact that Maitland strings the reader along with breadcrumbs. Giving little bits of detail and revelations in just about every chapter. I was on pins and needles. This book is definitely a cross between the paranormal and the thriller, seat of your pants, edge of your seat kind of writing! I loved it!

I'm recommending this one to just about all of my readers. There are some areas of this book that might offend some of readers. And the idea's are not all cut and dried. But isn't that what makes it good fiction? I couldn't give this one anything other than a five rating. One of my favorites of the year in this genre! 
Acquainted with the Night is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag. 

Piper Maitland lives on a Tennessee farm with her family. She is the author of the vampire thriller, Acquainted With the Night (Berkley/November 2011). She is currently working on the sequel, A Requiem for Daylight. Piper has also written novels under the name Michael Lee West.

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