Born and raised in The Netherlands, V.V. Aku (Veerle Ackerstaff) soon discovered that the world was a place worth exploring. After graduating high school, she set out to travel the globe until she finally touched down in China. On the border of Tibet she met Anzi Aku, a wild Black-Yi man who lives at the foot of the Himalayas. She has joined his clan and tries to find her place among the tribe and its shamans. When she’s not researching the clan’s mythology on vampires, she shamelessly gives in to the compulsion to write about the countless characters that haunt her dreams.
V.V. Aku is the author of The Fire of Dawn and Black Dusk. She has been the creator of stories since the age of three, and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults from The University of Cambridge ESOL. After nearly a decade of working as an English language teacher and TEFL trainer in China, Thailand, The Netherlands, and the UK, she now devotes all her time to writing, her family, and practicing Kung Fu. The Fire of Dawn is her debut novel.
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Review:V. V. Aku
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: VA Publications
Age Group: Mature Young Adult / Adult
Source: Review copy provided by RABT Tours & V. V. Aku - thanks!
Interest: Paranormal Fiction; RABT Tours
It’s the last day of the summer holiday in The Hague when Leah Koopmans’s carefree life as a teen is brutally flipped upside down. Her pale skin turns a dazzling gold, her senses heighten, and her muscles possess an uncanny strength. But with these exhilarating new powers comes a thirst that can only be quenched by one thing: human blood.
While her body craves for fresh victims and her heart drowns in guilt, she meets inhumanly handsome Max Machiavelli, who claims that Leah is an immortal like him. Infatuation ignites into blistering passion when Leah joins his coven in Amsterdam. But as the mysteries shrouding her sudden change to immortality unravel, she quickly learns that her aversion to taking life isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from this group of herculean strangers.
From the picturesque canals of Amsterdam to Corsica’s limestone cliffs and the untamed Siberian wilderness; from first loves to fierce battles, The Fire of Dawn is an extraordinary tale packed with romance, betrayal, and bloodsucking suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page.
So when I started the book, realizing it was about something along the lines of vampires, like a lot of people I imagined something along the lines of this well-known book:
And of course, my interpretation of Max, along with the other male immortals came out something along the lines of this:
*Image Courtesy of jmercurio44 @ Blingee.com*
Anyways, onto the review! It's needless to say that it definitely wasn't what I expected, otherwise I wouldn't have gave it a rating of 4. Although the vampires are quite stunning (and maybe sparkly), they definitely weren't passive. They were vicious, had lots of emotions, and were definitely fighters.
Let's start off with the heroine, Leah. By all means, she should have been a character I hated. She was pretty stubborn, let her desires overwhelm her, and, let's face it, didn't do much during the first half of the book but make out and lust for Max. But again, I didn't hate her. She's definitely a flawed and confused character. On one hand, she's controlled by the unreconcilable desire to attack humans in order to satisfy her hunger. On the other hand, she doesn't want to kill them or be seen as a monster. Of course, she's already realized she's a monster, and there's nothing she can do to stop it. It's kind of like reading a book about a drug addict. They definitely want to stop, but they aren't capable of doing so. Nevertheless, they have to try, and sometimes, their efforts are utterly heartbreaking.
This wasn't exactly Leah's scenario, but it definitely held some similarities. She shows remorse whenever she drinks, sometimes even breaking down and running away from the coven. Her emotion was very strong, and definitely seemed real. The author was able to show many sides of her throughout the story, and I was definitely able to connect to her. Eventually, she does grow stronger, and I liked seeing her journey in order to become a better person.
I also liked the author's portrayal on vampires. As I mentioned before, based on the past vampire books I've read (which, I admit, is limited to three novels, all of which I didn't enjoy), my picture of vampires is less than perfect. By portraying them as less-than-perfect, even as criminals, I definitely had a wake-up call. This filled the plot with suspense, some intense romance, and a lot of intrigue on my part. Moreover, I liked how the author also featured the Brotherhood's POV, which gave me an insight to the supposed antagonists, as well as another perspective on the immortals. This eventually tangles itself into the plot line in an interesting way, but also developing the characters in an original way!
My only complaint is regarding Leah & Max's relationship, which definitely shows signs of insta-love. I get that Leah had a lust filled, intense desire for passion and warmth, but it seems a little unrealistic that Max would go from a die-hard, loyal family member of the coven, to willing to do anything for Leah, even if it means betraying the coven, in a couple of weeks. However, Max is still another interesting character that's willing to make a lot of sacrifices, so I would say that The Fire of Dawn is still worth the read!
Overall, The Fire of Dawn is a refreshing read with a more original take on vampires, and definitely worth your time! I would recommend this to people who may have given up on the vampire sub-genre of PNR / UF - The Fire of Dawn definitely presents a new take and a realm of possibilities for those previously extra-sparkly creatures.
International Giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway
I also have a giveaway to share with you guys, so you can all read this amazing book! It's international and ends on August 14 at 12:01 EST. Ready set go!
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*