Monday, October 31, 2011

REVIEW: Better Off Red by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Better Off Red, the first volume in the new Vampire Sorority Sisters series, starts simply, almost predictably, with a pair of roommates pledging the hottest sororities.

Except, of course, Ginger really has no interest in pledging, and is only doing so to appease her roommate . . . and keep her ignorant of Ginger’s sexuality. Except, of course, the sorority that so draws their attention seems to have a few secrets . . . such as how an empty table has managed to have so many people sign the pledge sheet? Except, of course, Ginger can’t even get through the simple act of signing a pledge sheet without a call from her mom . . . and a ‘helpful’ chat with her brother.

The initiation into the sorority is so very well done, introducing just a little eroticism, and then keeping us on edge, playing out the suspense while building more than a little fear, that I found myself breathlessly turning pages. Standing before the queen the pledges have no choice but to confess their innermost desires for other women . . . and she is only too delighted to help see them realised. That, right there, is what converted me from a hopeful reader to an expectant one. I loved the fact that Rebekah managed to establish so much of Ginger’s character so early, and to weave so many other layers into the tale. I wasn’t expecting to have so much of the sorority (and its queen) exposed so early on, but I loved the mythology she created.

I was equally surprised to find the story developing into a passionate romance. Ginger’s relationship with Camila was not at all what I expected, but precisely what I had (in retrospect) hoped for. I fell in love with Ginger early on, and so wanted to see her thrive. She’s a high-strung, smart-ass, vulnerable young woman who portrays a façade of perfect confidence. She literally leaps off the page, taking on a personality that seems to stretch beyond the story itself. A large part of my anxiety when reading was fear for her, fear that she’d be destroyed by her vampire seductress, but Rebekah betrays the genre clichés again, and takes the story in a far more interesting direction.

Almost the very definition of a paranormal romance, this is a book that exceeded my expectations, and fulfilled my hopes. It’s well-written, incredibly sexy, and as full of emotional satisfaction as it is physical. I wouldn't dream of spoiling the ending, but I will say this - it literally had me throwing my hands in the air, squealing with girlish glee, at the wonder of it all.

I will definitely be keeping an eye out for whatever she has to offer next, and anxiously awaiting the next chapter of the Vampire Sorority Sisters.

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