Lynsay Sands

An Argeneau vampire novel

Gollancz (2010)

ISBN: 9780575093836

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely, April 2010

Lucern Argeneau was born in a time when women were seen and not heard, waited for men to make the moves, stayed home and raised children. He most certainly did not approve of forward “modern” women – career women, pushy women, women who didn’t take “no” for an answer. When romance novel editor Kate C. Leever forces her way into his home and his life, Lucern is torn between being affronted and amused. Kate is everything he’s never wanted, but somehow, with her stubborn dedication to his burgeoning career as a romance writer and his own well-being, Lucern finds himself re-evaluating his standards and beginning to come out of the shell he’s been hiding in for centuries.

This series is an unusual one. The first few books were originally published a few years ago, and out of chronological order. Now reissued by Gollancz, the linked stories follow (at least in the early books) the Argeneau family of vampires as they meet and fall in love with their soul mates. Sands has created a wholly modern vampire world – her heroes are business owners, computer programmers and novelists, living in the now, although with old-style values and very long histories. Living primarily on blood bank supplies, the Argeneaus embrace the world they live in quite convincingly.

Single White Vampire is chronologically the third of the Argeneau books, following the story of Lucern, with a neat bit of meta-text that suggests the first two books of the series are his own – truly biographies, but released as romance fiction. If I didn’t know better, I would have said this really was a book written by a man. While there is a lot to like in the world-building and storytelling, I was a bit offended by some of Lucern’s arrogance and chauvinistic attitude. At one point, it was almost as if the author was condoning a kind of date rape, enabled by the vampire’s mind powers. Sure, the author explained it away by putting in the context of his history, but it was quite off-putting.

I didn’t hate the book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first one I read – I don’t think Single White Vampire was as sympathetic as Love Bites, nor was the plot as interesting. However, I did enjoy the parts of the story set at the Romance Writers convention – fans are fans everywhere! – and I liked the character of Kate, who is far more realistic than Lucern himself. I’ll happily continue to read the series, but they won’t top my review pile.