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Last Quarter Payoff?

“A Vision in Crimson”

Frostbite, Book 1

by Kathryn Troy,

Pale and sullen, Luca is a man with a mission: to destroy all vampires—especially the one that fathered him. This will not prove easy, as Luca is the son of Dracula.

That’s a great pretext for a story. However, this story takes place on the world of Icarya in the year AD 12,205 and Luca’s companions include a three hundred-year-old time-traveling witch, an aging Hercules (yes, that Hercules), nymphs, fauns, a minotaur, a pegasus, and a talking rat.

If the author is going to throw all of that in one book, she had better be able to make it work.

Luca the vampire hunter and Kate the witch fall in love. They go mining for quartz because it’s an explosive substance, you know. They and their companions are just the sweetest people you’ll ever meet and nothing bad ever gets in their way very long. Only after the halfway point do we meet the assassin Alaric and learn of a plot to take control of Icarya.

Sharper writing would save the book from some of the silliness of the plot. The writing falls into the passive tense too often. The writing is not actually bad—but we’re told what happens; we aren’t made to feel it. We’re told the characters have problems, but we don’t feel them—at least not until three-quarters in where we get a series of powerful vignettes from Luca’s youth. The few scenes with Dracula convey power and terror.

All the characters, be they human, animal, ancient Greek, or whatever, all speak in the same voice, the same vernacular. Adding some variety in speech would make them come alive more. Within a pseudo-medieval setting, characters say things like, “Lay it on me, baby.” We also jump from one character’s POV to another as we go from sentence to sentence. A couple of times, it’s within a sentence.

Again, it’s not a bad book, just a little too over-the-top to take seriously. The story will appeal to fans of High Fantasy but fans of horror might be left cold. That’s not expected in a story featuring Dracula as the main villain.

3 stars

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