How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire
There are a lot of series in my TBR pile I’ve been meaning to read for a loooong time. One of those is Kerrelyn Sparks’ Love at Stake series.
The vampire PNR books have been in my sights for a while, I just never really got around to picking them up and diving in despite the rave reviews I see for the series.
And I’m all about vampires and sexy romance so it’s up my alley. I’m happy to confirm some of those rave reviews: How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire, or book one of the Love at Stake series, was a darn good read!
I liked the world Ms. Sparks introduced in this first book and although I get the feeling this is only a sneak peek of more world/setting development, from a writer’s standpoint I admired the easing in of information. To do this the story was supported by steady pacing. All plotlines were wrapped up, even though some were less developed and therefore weaker than others.
WARNING: this review does contain spoilers or content that can be considered spoiler-y, so know now you’ve been cautioned.
For example, I really didn’t like Shanna’s father, Sean Whelan. And not in the omigosh-he’s-such-a-crappy-dad way, no, I just thought he played a stereotypic role. Case in point, see how he reacts to Roman’s proposal to Shanna:
Sean’s eyes narrowed. “I haven’t heard of this Casimir. And why should I believe anything a demon tells me?”
“It’s true, Dad,” Shanna yelled. “You need these men.”
“They’re not men!” Sean shouted. “Now, step away from that monster and come with me.”
Roman cleared his throat. “I don’t suppose this would be a good time to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage?”
Sean whipped a wooden stake from his belt. “I’ll see you in hell first!”
(and there’s more of that ridiculous back and forth near the end)
Other than Shanna’s childish, holier-than-thou father, there’s that whole “God’s blood” fiasco and Roman’s character in general. I liked his back story, and I didn’t mind that Ms. Sparks used the virgin hero trope. It’s much more rare—and probably unlikely—plot feature from its female counterpart (the virgin heroine), and although I can’t imagine WHY a 500+ year-old vampire would be a virgin to start with, I didn’t really care. It worked with the back story and therefore I suspended my disbelief.
Roman’s a special guy. What else can I say?
What I didn’t understand was the insta-love. Shanna’s know him for all of, what, a few days—a week tops! There isn’t a clear chronological indicator, but the nights and days suggest a plot spanning one-two week(s) if not less. And Shanna decides that she totally loves Roman enough to marry him.
Come on! Come on!
At least save that for an epilogue that dates a few months later. Give the girl (and guy) sometime to actually think out their decision to commitment to a human/vampire lifetime.
I did like that Shanna wasn’t turned and she chooses not to turn at the end of the novel. So that was a refreshing touch, and a decision that could change AFTER Shanna gets to know Roman and might decide growing old and dying and leaving him (also the sex) would be better if she switched species teams.
But I think the hands-down best part of reading How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire was the cast of secondary characters: Ian MacPhie, Gregori Holstein, Connor Buchanan, Jean-Luc Echarpe, and Angus MacKay. Seriously, props to Ms. Sparks for giving me something else to look forward to when Shanna and Roman were making too much lovey-dovey, googly eyes at one another…
Though Roman + Shanna did have their moments—which is why I’ll sign off this review with one of my favourite scenes, still in the dark about the whole vampire world, Shanna mistakes Roman’s day slumber for his death:
“He is alive.”
“He isnot!” Shanna’s voice rose higher and higher. “He’s dead! Deceased. Snuffed out. The Roman Empire has fallen!”
(and I assure you the rest of the whole ‘Roman-is-dead debacle is funny).