“A Dark Infection” is the sequel to “A Dark Inheritance” in which ten years have passed since Tina was taken by the vampire, Kalmar. Slowly, she is being turned into a vampire herself, as the properties in her blood allow for her to accept the virus that is being introduced to her bloodstream through Kalmar. And, just like its predecessor, this book does not shy away from the fact that much of Tina’s current situation was, and is, not one of her choosing. So few with her blood type remain that she is coveted by vampires in order to ensure the survival of their species, but, and more importantly, she is vital to Kalmar. While Tina still struggles with the idea that perhaps her feelings for her vampire abductor, even ten years later, are not real and just a form of Stockholm Syndrome (which is valid), Kalmar has bonded to her, and wishes to remain that way. Despite stronger forces wishing to claim him as their own, and giving Tina away to another vampire in the process, Kalmar wants no other. While the vampire world of danger and intrigue continue to sweep Tina up in its wake, the world Tina was forced to leave behind also comes back to haunt her, weaving into a new mystery that threatens to destroy both of the worlds Tina inhabits. Except Tina, once again, doesn’t seem to be given a choice about which world she gets to save.
Lander has a way of sucking me in to every single one of their modern-day vampire novels, and “A Dark Infection” was no different. I flew through this book, even if, at times, some of the characters really bothered me. Like Jo. I never liked Jo as a character. I found her annoying and abrasive, which was odd given who she is and what happens to her. I just never felt much of a connection to her and therefore didn’t find myself as drawn to her plight or her part of the story as I was with Tina and Sasha. Tina also got a little more frustrating in this book. The cause of her problems, the source of the mystery that’s causing her and Kalmar such anguish was very obvious—at least to me—so whenever Tina got around to “investigating” it felt very unnecessary as the answer always seemed to be right in front of her. Plus, her and Kalmar tend to fall back on the miscommunication trope—as in them just not talking to each other—a few more times than I personally liked, but, even with all that, I was still binge reading this book late into the night.
Everything about this duology has been dark—both in atmosphere and topics and I always loved that. You have these vampire characters that are so ancient, that their humanity is just a shell of what it once was; they are so tainted by being alive for centuries that human lives and lifespans mean very little to them. And yet all the vampires feel intensely and are very close to their animalistic predator side. It’s what made the bonding (almost like “fated mates”) in this story so compelling, especially when it comes to which pair in the bond is made the dominate one and what that does to their partner. Despite my issues, I did genuinely enjoy watching Tina and Kalmar struggle with that aspect of their relationship. I also really liked getting a more intimate view of the vampire world and the politics within it. Plus, you add all the complications as the human world—through Tina’s family—starts butting up against the vampire world, and the devastating consequences of those encounters, and you have a really engaging paranormal novel.
While this duology is perfect for spooky season with it’s dark, and vicious vampires, its romance elements also make it a great read any time of season as well. Lander has a knack for character and world building, and “A Dark Infection” is no different; it was a lot of fun to watch Tina discover how to stand on her own, and become the person she wanted despite the forces pushing against her. Even though this book is on the longer side, I devoured it! And that’s in spite of Jo not being my favorite, and my wish that Tina was a bit more astute when it came to the source of her problems. The pacing in this second book I found to be better than its predecessor as well, which is why this gets 4.5 stars from me! So if you are a fan of tonally dark vampire romances, I highly recommend this series! And thanks to the author for sending me a copy for an honest review.
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