I haven't been that thrilled and awed by a self-publishing author since I've read Meilin Miranda's Lovers and Beloveds.
Some books are like delicious dark chocolate, but some books are like exquisite red wine - rich, intoxicating, powerful. A Hidden Fire is just one such book.
It reminds you why you fell in love with vampires all those years ago when you had your first Anne Rice's book or watched Count Dracula with his fake Transylvanian accent charm Mina.
A Hidden Fire delivers strong feel of Anne Rice but with a touch of Elizabeth Kostova and Dan Brown. It's not a paranormal romance, but a mystery with romantic elements.
Two main characters, - Beatrice, a young and very bright Goth girl slash librarian, and a 500 year old vampire Giovanni work together to unravel a mystery, stay alive and bring the villain down.
Giovanni or Gio had been groomed as a perfect vampire and turned young five centuries ago by an unhinged Master. As an Italian aristocrat who grew up in times of Borgia he is a skilled politician, strategist and has an enormous self-control, but he can't help being fascinated by Beatrice.
However, this is one of the few rare book where a vampire acts his age, and not like a train wrecked on hormones teenager. He thinks things through and thinks of the consequences. Both Beatrice and Gio fight their attraction, there is this gradually building sexual tension between them during the whole book... And this is another thing I was so wild about. Nothing heats up blood better than delayed sexual gratification :)
Secondary characters are just as mesmerizing. The pace is unhurried (the book covers I think over a year and a half of Beatrice's life), the action is very Anne Rice-ish, and the powers of each vampire are frankly unique.
I'm sorry I'm giving you spoilers, but I can't help gushing about this book. This is one of the two books which absolutely blew me away last month. I can't stop thinking about it, and I'm very glad that the second book This Same Earth comes out on the 7th of December. I'm privileged to get the ARC, and the review will be coming very soon.
Guys, you absolutely have to read it, especially if you like old world vampires. This was terrific.