So it's been awhile since I updated, so quick update: Aubrey the sexy bad-boy high-school-going vampire is currently neck-raping the town skank/party hostess, Shannon. Nobody seems to have noticed. Well, it turns out that ONE person has noticed: Caryn. Yes, Caryn seems like a natural person to be hanging out at the party, especially considering she's been at the school for five minutes and nobody seems to have noticed her presence or become her friend.

And Caryn senses Aubrey because... cliched supernatural creatures can always sense each other's presences.

Caryn had no idea what she would do once she encountered Aubrey,

Scream, cry and run away?"

She could feel his power slither across her skin.

I have a hunch that Atwater-Rhodes read LKH. Just a hunch.

This ability was her line's gift—or curse, as some would say.

... the ability to sense a vampire's power? What?

I don't know if it a sentence was cut there, but it sounds like it was.

Though her family, the Smoke line, had always been healers, most witches were vampire hunters.

... which means we could be reading a far more awesome book than we are right now. The witch version of a first-year medical student is going out to confront the vampire instead of a Marine.

Caryn had a witch's blood, which was sweeter and stronger than a human's, and a witch's knowledge, which made her dangerous to the vampires.

  1. What's the biological difference between a witch and a normal human?
  2. Seriously, what's the difference? I mean, does using magic somehow make your blood sweet, or are they supposed to be a different species? I'm confused.
  3. Also, what knowledge? If she means the knowledge that he IS a vampire, then... it's not much of a weapon.
  4. Or is she supposed to have the knowledge of how to harm/stop him? Because... I don't think we've seen any evidence of any weaknesses.
  5. I mean, he walks around in daylight. I doubt Atwater-Rhodes would have crosses or whatever since she was a Wiccan when she wrote this. I don't think she'd have other sacred objects affect him because... well, that would imply that he's bad or something. And I don't see garlic being a big weakness either.
  6. It's almost as though the author can't bear to give her vampires any serious weaknesses, thus making them invincible to us poor puny humans, which is very boring and lazy. Sort of like another author I can mention.

But she did not have the ability to fight. She had always known herself to be easy prey, and had tried out of self-protection to avoid their kind, unless doing so meant risking an innocent person's life.

Eh, whatever, she's still more interesting to read about than Bella. Caryn might not just sit there and drool if someone tried to rape her.

Throughout her childhood, Caryn had been taught to respect life, and to protect it whatever the cost.

Because that makes a vampire novel truly gripping: respect for life.

So she wanders off into the woods and yells Aubrey's name because... apparently sneaking up on him is too subtle.

Aubrey glanced up and glared at her as he continued to feed. What do you want? he growled.

"Oh, all sorts of things. I want movie tickets, and a lot of inexpensive glitzy teen jewelry, and a new purse, and a bunch of CDs and DVDs-"
"I meant, what do you want from ME?"
"Oh, okay. Well, please stop killing that girl. You know, so your morals won't be tainted in the eyes of teen readers who want to swoon over a vampire hottie."

Caryn jumped at the intrusion into her mind but somehow managed to find her voice. "Let her go, Aubrey."
"Is that a threat?" Scorn laced his voice as he dropped Shannon.

... no. It wasn't. It was a command. Just because she didn't say "please" doesn't mean she's threatening you.

So Caryn checks on Shannon, and assures us that the Hot Love Interest hasn't actually done anything that would make him MORALLY AMBIGUOUS. In other words, Shannon is still alive. Whatever.

"How many people have you murdered like this?" Caryn demanded, her voice wavering.

... um, she's not "murdered." She's alive, and clearly going to be a-okay.

And why is she even asking this? Does it make some sort of difference?

"I don't think you really want to know," Aubrey answered coolly.
"Don't you have any conscience at all?"

HE'S A FUCKING VAMPIRE. Your entire species... people.... race... tribe.... WHATEVER have devoted their lives to wiping his kind out because they kill people. That's the whole point! Why are you expecting him to feel BAD about it?

Did you figure it would turn out like this?

"Don't you have any conscience at all?"
"Of course I do. Secretly I just need The Right Girl to teach me about love and puppies."
"And when that happens, you won't kill people?"
"Of course! The Perfect Man/Woman can't actually do anything morally ambiguous!"
"Good! Just like the Cullens!"
"... I changed my mind. I am so evil I should be ruling a tyrannical third-world regime."
Aubrey is unimpressed by the Care Bears routine, as well he should be.

He was enjoying this, Caryn realized. He could easily have avoided the argument by disappearing and finding prey elsewhere, but instead he was playing with her.

He must be VERY bored if exchanging witless banter with Caryn is more fun than feeding off people.

"You'll kill her," Caryn protested.
"So?" Aubrey responded, sounding amused,

Caryn seems to have gotten her witch memos a bit late. This is the sort of reaction a NORMAL person might have to finding a vampire drinking someone's blood... you know, if they didn't immediately shit their pants and run off screaming. If you're part of a race of dedicated vampire hunters, then you BETTER know that yes, they know perfectly well when they're going to kill someone, and they probably don't care.

No one in her line had harmed another creature since Evelyn Smoke, the first of the Smoke line, had stopped hunting vampires.

... and pray, why did she do that? And honestly that brings up a NEW moral dilemma: you are allowing evil things to kill other people who wouldn't have died if you had killed the evil things. In other words, more people will die because you're too busy linking hands, singing kumbaya and making friendship bracelets.

Now I'm opposed to killing of sentient and semi-sentient creatures as a matter of course. But I'm not so naive as to think that there are no exceptions - and honestly, if vampires existed, I think they might be the exceptions. For one thing, they're already dead. For another, their existence depends on hurting and killing other creatures.

Anyway, moral diatribe over. Caryn starts whining and begging Aubrey, which has absolutely no effect at all.

"That would accomplish very little," Aubrey pointed out.

"I mean, she's just a token bitch character. She'll probably never be seen again after this scene."

"I would just have to draw someone else from the house. Would you like to say that this girl's life is more important than, oh, her boyfriend's? Or—"
"You're having a great time, aren't you?" Caryn finally shouted,

... um, what makes her think that? He actually made a pretty decent point. And he hasn't said or done anything to indicate that he's actually having fun with this.

Aubrey is unimpressed by this, obviously.

Had she been from any other line—Vida, or Arun, or even Light—she would have killed him then. But the last of the Light line had died nearly three hundred years earlier, and the Vidas and Aruns had other vampires to deal with that night.

Not good enough. There is a vampire stalking teenagers at a friggin' high school, and those oh-so-tuff witches are literally doing nothing about it. In fact, they deliberately sent in someone who COULDN'T fight them and therefore couldn't save anybody without probably endangering herself.

... these witches are assholes.

So Caryn Smoke did the only thing that her training would allow her to do in this situation.

Specifically, her Bella Swan training: respond to every problem by standing there and drooling, or fainting.

Actually, it's not that different: she offers to let Aubrey drink her blood instead. Because hey, she couldn't possibly call for help or anything. And it's not like those other witches would logically want to stop a VERY VERY POWERFUL vampire who is targeting innocent kids.

"My blood is stronger than human blood." Her voice quaked for a moment, but she forced herself to continue. "You wouldn't need to kill me."

... he doesn't need to kill anybody, since he could drink from multiple people if he chose. I assume killing is just a perk of the vampire job.

Aubrey's gaze flickered to the pulse point on her wrist, but that was the only sign that he cared for the offer at all. "And what is to stop me from draining you dry?"
"Your word that you won't."

Even the vampire thinks this is stupid.

Most witches lied and broke promises almost by habit when it came to Aubrey's kind. Vampires weren't considered people, so even the proud Vida line had no hesitation about deceiving them. In general, only the Smoke line considered honesty important when dealing with Aubrey's kind.

Yes, because the Smoke witches are lameass pusses. No, actually, there is no real reason why the Smoke witches are all about honesty with vampires. In fact, Caryn has no reason to actually believe Aubrey would do it.

A vampire's word was said to be broken as easily as a wineglass, and Caryn had no doubt that Aubrey's was just as fragile.

So of course, she totally expects him to give her his word and stick with it. DUMB. ASS.

In reality, the only thing that might keep her alive was Aubrey's awareness that killing a Smoke witch brought down instant retaliation from all the vampire hunters in the other lines.

Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Of course, they sent someone with no fighting skills into a situation with a very powerful vampire. So clearly they don't care if you live or die.

So Aubrey bites her, and Caryn does the usual swoony vampire victim act.

You taste good, he said absently.

Hello, unintentional innuendo!

Caryn tried to focus. She had been taught so much discipline…why couldn't she think?

You're making the jokes for me, dumbass.

So because Aubrey is a Sexy Bad Boy Vampire Soulmate, apparently being bitten by him makes you bliss out. Because you know, it's not possible to have it be painful if the vampire is sexy, and a sexy vampire love interest would never bite someone in a painful way.

Eventually, after what seemed to be hours,

... the scene ended. Seriously, I think this is the longest scene thus far, and nothing really happens.

So Aubrey leaves after considering whether he wants a nightcap, and Caryn just sort of checks on Shannon. Why do I have the feeling that this is Shannon's entire role in the stupid book?

Hopefully, when the girl woke she would just assume she had drunk too much. She would never know how close she'd come to dying.

Yes, I'm sure the bite marks and bleeding won't make her suspect anything except too much booze.

With this thought, Caryn put a hand over her own heart, feeling the rapid beating. Unlike Shannon, she was completely aware of how close Death had brushed by her tonight.

Unlike the author, I was completely aware of how close melodramatic prose had brushed by me tonight!