Cynthia Ayala ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
Author: Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Published: January 27, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Series: Vampire Assassin Trilogy Series
Genre: Science fiction & fantasy
Brilliant book! I was captivated from the first page. This novel is the first of three novels set in an alternative early-15th century in a Venice where Marco Polo’s family have been hereditary dukes for five generations. Meanwhile, the Mongol emperor, Tamberlaine, has conquered China, making him the most powerful ruler in the world. The book features Tycho, fallen angel and assassin, who’s stronger and faster than any man has a right to be, can see in the dark, and sunlight burns him. Rumors also spread that he drinks blood. Also featured is Lady Giulietta is the Duke’s cousin. She enjoys greater privilege than many can even dream of, but her status will demand a terrible price. This novel blends history, politics and dark fantasy into an alternate version that Venice could have been.
The best aspect of this story was the detail into the description to the world of 15th century Venice. The detail of the realm put me there. While I was reading it I was enthralled and almost believed I was there in Venice. You don’t need to go and look up pictures to try and imagine where you are in this novel because of the beautiful detail in the novel.
As far as characters go, I love Tycho (I have this problem of falling in love with dreamy, broody torn handsome characters). As I read the book, I could picture him perfectly and could imagine here there. His facial expressions are limited but the narration to the novel characterized him incredibly well, which is probably why I love him. The pain in his character is perfectly done and portrays the vampires incredibly reminiscent of Anne Rice. The best part is he is never called a vampire. You can go through the entire book and never see that word at all through the 450 pages.
In regards to Lady Giulietta, at first she came off as a snobbish character, but after everything that happens to her she becomes this incredibly strong woman whose personality just resonates off the pages. Her actions and her narrative build a strong character that makes you want to root for her.
Many of the other characters like the uncle were quite distasteful, but every novel has a villain. The climactic scene near the ending was amazing. The detail and the acts themselves, the personal turmoil between each character was intrinsically beautiful. I just could not put the book down.
Honestly, if you want a good Vampire book, if you love betrayal and love and literal backstabbing, you will love this book because I certainly did. If anything, the language is beautiful. ★★★★★