“A Dark Inheritance” is a modern vampire story, so you kind of already know what to expect. A woman with a rare blood type catches the attention of several vampires and is kidnapped once she reaches 40, ripped away from her life and her family, and told she can never return to them. Unlike most vampire stories, Tina did not want the attentions of Kalmar, or The Count. She didn’t even know vampires existed and now… well, now she can’t leave his castle and her daughter thinks she’s dead. No matter what Tina does, she can’t seem to escape Kalmar and even the few times she kind of manages it, she finds out that life is exceedingly more dangerous outside his castle walls than within. There were parts of this story that I absolutely loved, and parts that still leave me feeling uncertain, but all in all, I thought “A Dark Inheritance” was a nice twist on a creature type that has been done to death—ha.
First things first, Tina mentions how, as she starts to accept her situation and see Kalmar in a new light despite the kidnapping and assault, that this must be what Stockholm Syndrome is, and is like. And it is! It absolutely is! Vampires treat humans like pets—that’s not an exaggeration, that’s how they refer to the humans that take and keep. I hated Kalmar and hated that Tina was warming up to this guy… and then the story did the “Beauty and the Beast” thing where you—as in me—accepted it. I started liking Kalmar too, I started enjoying Tina and his relationship, I no longer wanted to throttle Wolfie for not helping her leave. And then I ended up spending a whole day just devouring this book. I must have read close to 40% of it in one afternoon, and I wanted to hate myself because nothing about Tina’s situation is ok, nor should it make her feel any kind of passion for the people responsible. But dammit if I didn’t really, really enjoy it, too! But this is a vampire story, so honestly, I guess if it were to have a real life twist, this would be it. This would be how it’s done in “the real world”. Lander does a wonderful job of building that out and explaining how vampires can coexist with humans and their customs to keep vampire populations from decimating humans. So I really do have to hand it to the author with how that was handled and the character arcs that her cast of humans and vampires take.
Because of the character building, this is going to be a slower paced book. There are sections that you’ll want to just binge read, but others that felt unnecessarily slow and not vital to the story as a whole. Like when Tina meets with a group of accountants. I understand it’s all part of building out how Kalmar has been able to exist for so long but still, it slowed down the otherwise lovely pacing. Additionally, there is some pretty mature content in the book. There is some language and violence—which should go without saying—and also some pretty overt sexual acts which all kind of start when you get introduced to Ivan. It’s nothing so graphic I’d label this as erotica by any stretch, but there is also no hiding EXACTLY what certain characters are doing with both their male and female partners, but this is a romance story as well, so that is a bit par for the course. But if you have a low tolerance for that kind of thing, be forewarned. This is not a Twilight-esque novel in the least, the main character is very much a woman, and therefore I think this book is best suited for adult readers as the content is rather mature and will be appreciated most by a mature reader.
It does take a minute to get into the story, especially given how Tina is forced to be with Kalmar against her will. But once you get into it, you really get into it! I enjoyed the twist and turns this story took and how Tina and Kalmar were challenged so often with other vampires trying to steal her away. The ending was gearing up for something big, or it felt that way, and then when we get there it just kind of… ends. There were some pretty big loose ends left in regards to Vicenti (I’ll say no more to avoid spoilers) and what Tina will do when she has to stand the way Wolfie did in order to join their society. And I’m not entirely happy with where things ended between Tina and Kalmar, either. There is enough left where I think this story could easily be a duology but I’m not sure if the author has any intention of doing that, which is fine, I’m just personally not all that enthused with where things ended.
All in all, I really loved about 60% of this book. The character building was well done, the time spent on the world was good, and the pacing was great. But the other 40% feels a bit slow, and can be hard to reconcile with the Stockholm syndrome, plus then there was how things ended… I think the author writes wonderfully and she has a great knack for telling compelling stories, so I’d definitely be interested to read more by her, but this book is a pretty solid 3.5 stars for me. And thanks to the author for providing me with a copy for review!
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