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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Opera Macabre by Michelle Rodriguez

Opera Macabre by Michelle Rodriguez
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (380 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Count Aiden de Lazarus has grown apathetic to the world around him and the monotony of immortal life. Determined to regain his zest for vampiric pursuits, he chooses a mortal girl and bites her with the intent to drain her. Instead, her intoxicating taste and enchanting beauty stirs feelings he has long buried. Scared by such mortal feelings, he gives her to another vampire as payment for a debt.

After eight long years, Bianca is still living a cursed life—singing on stage in Alexi's profitable opera and enduring the bites of the undead as part of his undercover auction when the stage lights dim. Doomed to become Alexi’s vampire bride, her future is bleak.

Aiden is horrified to find Bianca still alive and Alexi’s prized possession. Her image has continued to haunt him. Now he must find a way to free her from the life he unwittingly condemned her to and prove that he, unlike the vampires she has known, can be a man worth loving.

Aiden has vowed to protect Bianca from Alexi, but can Aiden protect her from himself?

From the moment I read the blurb for Opera Macabre, my interest was piqued. Curious as to how Bianca could ever come to love the man who stole her life, I eagerly started reading. Once I delved into the pages, I discovered two characters filled with despair. However, when they meet, the chemistry between them was immediately apparent. For the first time in their lives, Aiden and Bianca began to hope that there might be something more to life. Aiden’s new found purpose is Bianca’s well being, but can Bianca ever truly trust a vampire, especially after she learns Aiden’s role in her situation?

Poor Bianca! Her situation was so tragic and completely out of her control. She presented a haughty fa├žade, but the moments when she broke down into tears were truly moving. Though she lamented her situation, Bianca did not let Alexi crush her spirit. Instead, she grew into a beautiful and talented woman. Obviously she was unsure of Aiden and his motives when they first met, but it wasn’t long before she realized that she and Aiden were destined to be together. I enjoyed watching her drop her mask and really open up to Aiden.

Aiden was the perfect hero for Bianca, and yet he was the very reason that she needed rescuing. Guilt ridden by what he had done to Bianca, Aiden vowed to rescue her from Alexi’s clutches. He never expected to fall in love with her. Aiden then struggled to balance out the hunger he felt for Bianca as a man versus the hunger he felt as a vampire. I admired Aiden’s resolve, self control, and loyalty, but I do wish he had been more honest with Bianca at the start. Aiden and Bianca fall in love before he had the opportunity to tell her that he is the one who gave her to Alexi in the first place. As I watched their relationship grow, I knew Aiden’s deed would come to light eventually, and I couldn’t help but think that their relationship was being built around a lie. This made it very hard to relax and enjoy the romance of their relationship. Despite this issue, I thought Aiden and Bianca had a very powerful romance that culminated in some very moving and well written love scenes.

Ms. Rodriguez created a wonderful secondary character in Rufus. Though he doesn’t have the strength of a vampire, he cared for Bianca as if she was his daughter. Rufus became so real in my mind that I could see him fussing around her in his brightly colored suits, and I could even hear his voice when he called her “butterfly.” He was a truly enjoyable character.

As I neared the climax of the book, I had a pretty good idea of what sort of turn the story would take. However, Ms. Rodriguez put in some twists that were completely unexpected. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I will say that Aiden and Rufus find an interesting way to rescue Bianca and thwart Alexi’s evil scheme.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to read Opera Macabre. The characters were compelling and the romance was passionate and spicy. Fans of paranormal romance should certainly give Opera Macabre a try.