Sara Reinke’s Dark Thirst is an engaging entry in the vampire romance genre and is a solid beginning to her Brethren series.
The Brethren are none other than a well-off group of vampires living in the Bluegrass State, raising thoroughbreds and making bourbon. They’re a brutal lot, living according to a code that does not sit well with our hero in Dark Thirst, the young Brandon Noble. Unlike most of his relatives and the other clans that make up the Brethren, he actually embodies the definition of his last name.
Brandon is a unique character in the vampire romance world. He is a deaf mute, the result of being brutally beaten by burglars when he was only 4 years old and before he had developed the supernatural healing abilities of his species. He grew up a sensitive child, frequently picked on and brutalized by his older brother and other bullies, and is treated with disdain by the other Brethren. He is considered weak and a major disappointment. That’s a lot to heap on a child, but Brandon survives and his father, somewhat sensitive to his son’s plight, hires a teacher, a deaf African American man named Jackson Jones, to educate his son and teach him to communicate. It is a relationship that turns into a deep and abiding friendship, one that proves pivotal in time, and also introduces Brandon to Jackson’s lovely younger sister, Angelina, who becomes the object of Brandon’s first crush and his first love.
Much of this background story is learned in flashbacks throughout the book, with current action taking place several years later as Brandon, increasingly uneasy with life amongst the Brethren and determined to not participate in the savage Bloodletting ritual rite of passage, flees. He simply refuses to kill someone and become the monster he has watched even his beloved twin sister become. He runs, with death and danger on his heels, to the only person he has ever trusted and ultimately into the arms of the young woman, now a police officer, who enchanted him as a teen-age boy.
There is so much more in this book than I can’t relate here without giving away the entire story. Suffice it to say, it has a strong plot with a number of surprises along the way and some interesting characters. The love story is sweet and tender, a bit cliched in places, but still satisfying. The writing is solid but I noted a couple “typos” — most noteably wasteband instead of waistband, which, for the news editor in me, was a definite speedbump in the middle of a sex scene.
Overall, Dark Thirst is a solid book that efficiently plants the seeds of a promising series. The cliffhanger ending definitely left me wanting to read more. I really want to find out what happens to these characters.
Have you read Dark Thirst? If so, please feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you think.