Published 2008 345 pages
Summary (from the press release)
Tessa Noble-Davenant will do anything to protect her brother, Brandon, even if that means travelling across the country with Rene Morin. A cynical, brooding, yet startling sexy vampire, Rene seems to take pleasure in finding fault with Tessa's every move.
Despite this, a sensual attraction begins to develop between the two, one to which neither can afford to succumb. Rene and Tessa are being followed - and a single misstep will put them at the mercy of forces more dark and powerful than they can even imagine...
Dark Hunger is Sara Reinke’s second novel about the Brethren, a cult-like family group of vampires living in modern day Kentucky. The events of Dark Hunger follow on directly from where the first Brethren novel, Dark Thirst finished. While both novels are stand alone romances meaning that you don’t have to read them in series order I would still recommend reading Dark Thirst first, since events from that novel are continued through out Dark Hunger.
Readers already acquainted with Brandon, Tessa’s brother and the protagonist of Dark Thirst will know that author Sara Reinke chose to eschew the traditional vampire romance hero stereotype in favour of a young handicapped deaf mute vampire. She continues in a similar vein in Dark Hunger only this time the protagonist Rene is a physically handicapped vampire, who lost his leg after being shot in the knee. As Rene muses to himself a couple of times in the book, he’s not exactly “some goddamn romance novel hero” material.
But then again, neither is Tessa. Pregnant with the baby of her violent and polygamous husband she comes with plenty of baggage of her own. Running away from the Brethren home complex is strictly forbidden by the Brethren Elders, both they and her abusive husband will stop at nothing to have her returned home.
The Brethren are not typical vampires, they can go out during the day and most of the time appear to pass as human. Apart from bloodlust, telepathy, superior healing abilities and longevity they have little in common with traditional vampires. The Brethren are generally evil but their malevolent natures have more in common with how hateful humans can sometimes be to each other than a supernatural inclination to wickedness.
The Brethren Elders are misogynistic, cruel, jealous creatures who rule the Brethren clan with an iron fist. The rules are strict and their treatment of their women particularly harsh. It is easy not to like them, which is good because they are the villains of this piece after all, but it is interesting to see the Brethren through both Brandon and Tessa’s eyes because they both seem to have a different opinion and interpretation of their relationships with their dysfunctional vampire family.
With its non-standard romance novel protagonists and its Brethren vampires, Dark Hunger has an original twist on the usual paranormal romance formula. Its multi-faceted characters have enough realistic flaws to engage romance readers, while the conflicts between both the characters and the demands of their environment will continue to satisfy readers up to the final pages. The background plotline of how Rene’s family left the Brethren, what are the Elders’ secrets and what is Brandon’s place in their plans continues to gain strength and will leave readers wanting the next instalment of this unique series.
Dark Hunger is a vampire romance cliché free zone, if you are tired of alpha male heroes in leather trousers and velvet smoking jackets this could well be the book for you…
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To read an excerpt from this novel and find out more about Sara Reinke’s other novels, visit Sara’s website.