The Dark Ink Chronicles by Elle Jasper
Read by Natalie April-June 2011
Natalie recommends this as my absolute new favourite vampire series!
Afterlight is the first in The Dark Ink Chronicles, a trilogy following the life of the saucy little firecracker that is Riley Poe. Now a successful tattoo artist in sultry Savannah, Riley was once a train wreck. Getting lost in the dark seedy underworld, she became hooked on drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex and everything in between. The murder of her mother shook some sense into her and with the help of Gullah man The Preacher and his wife Estelle, she got her life together and now runs a successful business and raises her baby brother Seth. Although she puts up barriers to the rest of the world with her alternate dress sense and heavily inked skin, her tough exterior doesnít completely mask the love and loyalty to feels towards Seth, her surrogate grandparents and best friend Nyx. So when one night Seth and his friends inadvertently release a terrifying monster into Savannah and in doing so become infected themselves, Riley will do anything to help him. Enter the Dupre family. Friends with the Gullah, the Dupres are vampires who with the help of Gullah magic are able to peacefully live in Savannah protecting it from the rogue vampires who threaten to kill. At first surprised, Riley struggles to believe that vampires exist and that she apparently has a unique blood type that is extremely potent to them and which has been masked by the Preacherís magic for most of her life. What she canít deny is the intense attraction she has to Eli, the eldest son of the Dupres, and really who can blame her, because damn is he HOT! Possessing incredible strength and speed which coupled with his good looks, French accent and fiery temper makes him the perfect match for Riley (telling someone they are killing you in French Ė sexy as hell!). Sent to watch over Riley and protect her as they attempt to rescue Seth from the clutches of two evil Romanian vampires, Eli has wanted Riley for a very long time, much longer than she thinks. But a loss of control on his part 12 years ago sees him trying to fight the attraction, afraid that he will kill Riley. This doesnít last long and when these two give inÖ.well letís just say itís hot enough that steam was practically rising off the pages. The story is fun, itís sexy and itís well written. The characters are well described and all of them have a role to play and oh, did I mention it was hot?! I will admit to being slightly scared after reading the last line of the Prologue, which just screamed Twilight, but luckily, the rest of the book was nothing like it and itís safe to say I devoured it in a day or so.
Book two, Everdark came out in June 2011 and pretty much picks up straight after Afterlight. Having been bitten by the two evil Romanian vampires, Riley is now going through detox on the Barrier Island with the help of Preacher, her brother and the Dupres. With intermittent periods of lucidity, Riley struggles with wanting to drink blood and attack everyone around her, all the while Eli is there with her, protecting her. When she finally recovers, Eli starts to teach her about her tendencies - her new strength and speed that come from being infected with powerful vampire blood. Oh and yeah an increased libido too, which Eli has absolutely no problem handling! Not used to asking for help, Riley knows how she feels about Eli but is afraid to voice it, hoping instead he will read her thoughts instead. Eli on the other hand has no problem telling her how he feels, and goes to great lengths to show her. Once recovered, the whole group head back to Savannah where they attempt to hunt down the surviving Romanian vamp before he can do more harm. Only now Riley is having conversations with him in her head and terrifying dreams and visions where she witnesses a strange vampireís killing spree. Seems the vampire blood has given her more than just tendencies and as she struggles with these visions and Eli struggles with sharing her mind with someone else, all hell starts to break loose. Heading to Charlestown to try and stop it, they end up in vampire fight club where mortals are pitted against vampires, but when Nyx, Rileyís best friend is captured by the monsters back in Savannah, she must go against everything she has been taught and head back there to save her, alone. As Eli rushes to help her, the Romanian vamps control her more than ever and we are left on a cliff-hanger that sees Riley leaving Eli behind as she leaves with this evil vamp that we are never sure can be trusted. Thankfully, Elle Jasper had the good grace to include an extract from the third book Eventide (out December 2011) at the end, where we see Riley rescued from the Romanian by that sexy French vamp Eli. Of course if you pay attention to the timeline from the original Prologue, you will see all ends well. I gotta say, Eli is fast becoming my favourite vamp of all time and what makes this series so great is that there is no pathetic, submissive female lead. Instead you have Riley and Eli, both headstrong, both independent, both used to getting what they want and both used to risking themselves to protect the ones they love. Can you imagine what itís like when these two go at it Ė yeah, in a word HOT! To say this book is hotter than the first would be an understatement. But it is also a great story, full of great characters, great dialogue, great settings and of course that sexy French vamp! Do yourself a favour and pick this series up, you wonít be disappointed. I for one cannot wait until the third book is out, but in the meantime if you want more, including character profiles, check out Elleís website.