Vampires exist among us. They can be our neighbor, best friend, our child’s teacher … They alter their aged appearance based upon the amount of blood they consume. They move to a new area, drink a lot of blood, and appear young. Slowly they limit their intake of blood and age, right in front of our unsuspecting eyes. After decades, they fake their death, move, and do it over and over again. Most live quiet lives in an effort to blend in. Some however want power and control. The Colony is an elite group of vampires sworn to protect the President of the United States from these rogue vampires. Sterling, a half-breed vampire who works with a covert team of vampires to protect the President of the United States, is the weakest link in the chain for his team, and he knows it. His unique ability to glean information from inanimate objects has Sterling spending much of his lonely life down in the evidence room at FBI headquarters. His current case involves the kidnapping of vampire children by a religious cult trying to save them. Sterling snatches the opportunity to do some field work by teaming up with a purebred vampire, Kate, who is the nanny of one of the missing children. Sterling’s world is turned upside down by Kate. She is everything Sterling could hope for in a mate, and he wonders if she’d ever consider loving a half-breed. Kate is beautiful, intelligent, charming and sophisticated – but has led a sheltered life and is considered handicapped by vampire standards. Will she be willing to trust Sterling with her dark personal secret? Could she be able to open her heart to a bad-boy who’s never known true love before? Together, can they save the children and find true love?
I received this First Reads Goodreads Giveaway book for an honest review.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway without having read Regina Morris’ first book in her series. Luckily, you don’t really need to have read the first one to understand the second one. And may I also mention that the author is wonderful. She sent me a thankyou note with the book. It really gives me warm feelings about the author. Anyway, onto the book review.
UNITED SERVICE is set in modern day USA with a twist, vampires have been living amongst us taking on identities to hide their longevity (Morris might be onto something, there are a lot of Smiths in the phone book, but I haven’t met one yet, hmmm). These vampires are closer to the old mythos of vampires. For instance, they don’t sparkle. And as much as I love/hate the Twilight series (I am a Twihard, though I don’t know why), nothing irks me more than the glittery form of the Cullens. Morris’ vampires are a great change of pace in that they are not sparkly and they have interesting issues with mirrors and silver (something you can find in some vampire myths).
I would say the book is divided into two different storylines. One is the mystery of the missing vampire children and the other is more about the family dynamics between Sterling and his father. Though I liked both of them, I feel that Morris could have integrated them together. I would have loved it if the mystery would have lasted just a bit longer. As it was, it does take up about 3/4ths of the book. I just would have liked more.
However, I love that she delved into her world, explaining to the reader the way vampires are governed and how they limit their population (they are able to procreate sexually as well as changing). I was worried how she would explain that, but I liked what she did with it. I also like that with abilities there are side effects. It makes more sense that a person with a special ability would have both negative and positive traits. I liked that.
Now, for the romance. Kate is a lovable character and I do like Sterling a lot too. I was hesitant about him, some of his character traits was a bit shady and he seemed too down. I’m glad he found someone that really softened him. That sort of change is what I look for in a romance. If the two characters aren’t changing for the better because of one another, I feel something is wrong. And as for the sex, sorry die hard soft porn fans, the sex scenes are not Morris’ focus. There is some sex and you do feel the UST coming out of the two leads, but there isn’t sex in the beginning or middle (though Sterling does have sexual encounters in the beginning, you don’t get a play by play).
I actually really liked that fact. You don’t need a lot of sex scenes to see that Sterling and Kate do feel about each other. Really, this book was more on the romance of cultivating a relationship, whether it was between family or lovers. I liked that.
If you like romance and vampires, then you should give Morris a try.