Vampires, Airships, and Romance, Oh My!
Yes folks, I said it. I meant it- this novel has all four and more, because why not? What could possibly go wrong when you combine all 4 of these ingredients in a Victorian-era Europe, with Noble Houses engaged in subterfuge against each other? Absolutely nothing, right? Heheheh. Wrong. Hope you’ve got your safety harness rigged up proper, this book is a fast-paced and rollicking fun time!
I started reading vampire stories when a friend introduced me to Anne Rice. This being my junior year of high school, it would fall somewhere between August 2003 and May 2004. *waits for the Get Off My Lawn jokes to end* To my surprise, the school library had Rice’s then entire published works available for checkout, and I read all of them. Vampire-centric novels are still not my cup of tea. Sucking blood from somebody as a form of feeding, or being fed on by somebody doing so does not pique my interest. That having been said, I like how Ezell and Murray handled it. Male or female, it doesn’t matter who engages in the practice, there’s a benefit from it, a reward to the person giving of themselves, and a serious consequence for having given blood. From the beginning we see different aspects of this practice, and how one character’s experience can vary from another.
With Kacey Ezell as one of the authors, you’re going to get air travel of some kind. Over the Night Horizon is no exception- yes we really get airships. The story opens with airships and a pirate raid utilizing light craft! I love action in stories, and here I will state one of my dislikes- I didn’t get enough sword play. I could have used several pages more of it. There was a noted lack of fisticuffs. However, this is tempered by my understanding that they’re not writing an action story: they’re writing romance. And here I say “well-done” on the authors’ parts. We have enough action to kick things off, not so much that it would turn off the target audience. If I need to see a body count stack up, I’ll go turn on Expendables.
The story revolves principly around Johannes de Graaf, captain of the NightShip Leeuwin. And who is his paramore? Eventually, one Lady Lucia Delsarte, daughter of a wealthy trading magnate. For a period piece, the authors handled beautifully the involvement of chaperones and elder family members in courtship. Johannes and Lucia don’t fall all over each other in the first minute of meeting, we don’t have corsets bursting at the laces, no heaving bosoms drenching every page with all the accuracy of a bad erotic Pride and Prejudice fanfic. This is written far better, with class, even in scenes of intimacy. If you wanted erotica, this is not the story for you. If you came looking for romance and a slow-burning seduction amidst a fast-paced adventure, you’re in the right place.
Without going into too much detail (which would give away the story) I will state that while I disagree with how quickly the authors resolved matters or revealed particular details, I can appreciate and respect the fact that they’re writing romance, which is a separate and distinct genre from mystery or adventure. Certainly they incorporate elements from those, but Over the Night Horizon is at heart a romance, skillfully blending in elements of science fiction and fantasy. It stays fresh, fun, and classy, all the way through. The heroine is laudable and good, without being saccharine. The villain is worthy of the contempt shown to him. And the hero is dynamic is his development, rather than a two-dimensional plank of wood with fangs and a dong to be slavishly worshipped by a simpering bimbo airhead. Enough such pieces already exist in the genre, thus Johannes de Graaf feels to me very refreshing. Certainly he’s far more real and believable than many other male protagonists.
I not only enjoyed this novel, I recommend it. I read this in one sitting, over several hours. Spend a weekend with Over the Night Horizon, maybe even read it aloud, curled up with somebody you like. Ezell and Murray have crafted a story you won’t regret picking up.