Second Bite
By: Lauren Stewart

How far would you go to save the person you love?  I believe most people would absolutely insist that they would do whatever is needed to accomplish such a worthy goal.  All personal goals and dreams would be shoved aside to help the one they hold the most dear.  Total sacrifice in the name of love.  For lovers of true romance, with an added “vampire twist”, Second Bite by Lauren Stewart could be the novella for you!

Essentially, the story begins with a party planner by the name of Olivia charged with organizing a birthday party for Magnus, the leader of all vampires.  Having been supplied with synthetic blood and actual blood donations, vampires are no longer hunting humans, and the two walk the earth together as one.  Or do they?  This birthday party soon leads to a bash of a whole other sort.  However, it also ignites a passionate romance between Olivia and the kind and caring vampire, Daniel.  Will this love be true?  Or is Olivia being set up as the next potential meal ticket?  What follows is a showcase of ultimate sacrifice in the name of love that even the threat of ultimate demise cannot extinguish.

There can be little doubt that this story has an overwhelmingly popular theme.  For instance, sacrifice in the name of love at all costs is a very heroic and captivating idea.  However, to have such an all encompassing and overwhelming love for another takes a lot of time to develop.  It is not something which can occur in the duration of a birthday party.  While it is understood that this is a fantasy novella, and that things move very quickly, this particular relationship was not built up enough to make it entirely believable.  Lack of faith in the main idea sets up other problems for this novella as it progresses.

In regards to character development, while we are certainly given insight into Olivia’s and Daniel’s personalities, something is still missing.  A little more background in regards to their individual character traits, and why they are so wildly passionate about one another, would have helped.  The author does do this somewhat, with Daniel in particular.  For example, we are shown tidbits of his history and how he struggles with guilt and grief caused by past actions.  As for Olivia, she is shown to be a divorcee with many of the typical problems which are rightly or wrongly associated with that.  By further developing their characters, the entire theme of the novella could have been better supported.  Once again, the short nature of the story can certainly be seen as a contributing factor here.

Wile the plot may lack some believability due in large part to underdeveloped characters, the author does make up for this with her writing prowess.  This can be seen in a number of areas, but most noticeably in the setting description.  It is particularly challenging to virtually travel between worlds in a short novella.  The description of the different times and places are sufficiently detailed to engage the reader without losing them in excessive explanation.  There is also great use of literary devices and the writing has an excellent flow and readability to it.

All in all, this is a pretty good short story.  While it may be lacking in certain elements, it makes up for it in others.  As there are some mature scenes which are contained within the story, I would recommend it for an adult audience and up.

3 Bloodsucking Starts for this one!  ***