Calisto and Kate are old souls, separated in a past life and still searching for forever with one another. His entire reason for existing is the chance that he might get to see her again, even though she may not be the same woman he fell in love with. Hello, über romantic! Of course, Kate doesn’t realize she isn’t ‘brand new’ so the intensity of her feelings for Calisto are frightening and are ultimately the defining factor for the pace of the story.
It starts off as a leisurely stroll through character introductions and laying out the rules of the universe. Frequent flashbacks help keep the reader engaged until the plot starts to unfold. Initially, it’s a little difficult to really become engrossed in, but the flow of the story is pleasantly unhurried and, as we learn more about the characters and the circumstances that bring them together, segues nicely into the juicy parts and action scenes. Oh, you know you want to hear more about the juicy!
The intimate scenes in Night Walker are solidly in the “romance” category, without the vulgar language or extended physicality typical of erotica. Calisto’s touch is knowing but oh-so-tender, and Kate is passionately generous, letting him sweep her away and protect her from her fears while still participating as an equal. Their spiritual bond with one another really amps up the intensity of these scenes and gives you that little clench in the chest that tells you you’re experiencing something special.
Ok, so he’s a vampire right? Yes and no. Vampires exist in this universe but, while they seem to be technically the same species, Calisto and the one who made him consider themselves to be Night Walkers. The difference isn’t yet well-defined, but the gist of it is that while Night Walkers can exist mostly peacefully in human society, vampires are inherently evil and are governed largely by their bloodlust and craving for power over weaker beings. Calisto’s transition into a Night Walker is shadowy and not explicitly depicted, but is definitely not your typical romantic sip-trading, where the new vampire gets to be blissfully dined upon before rising immaculately from the grave. This transition feels more visceral, but without the horror and gore.
Calisto’s spanish accent and the cadence of his speech are some of my favorite things about him. I’m a Southern girl. It is nigh impossible for me to talk without excessively using contractions and employing other rampant word mangling, so seeing a character speak with NO contractions really gets my attention, and it makes it easier to hear his voice. Now that I have Antonio Banderas on the brain, I would REALLY like to see (erm, hear?) Calisto say “Feed me… if you dare!” *grin* When it comes to protecting Kate, Calisto has no inhibitions and is not afraid to embrace what he is. It’s refreshing to see a hero who accepts who and what he is while still keeping that awareness of humanity and respect for life that usually defines the “good guys”.
Ms. Kessler’s musical background (she’s a professional vocalist) really shines in her depiction of the piano scenes. The notes fairly dance and soar off the page and make me wish I could step into the moment to experience it for myself.
With a surprising reveal at the end, the path of the rest of the series is left open to question. Who is really the villain? Will Calisto and Kate face more of the same or will there be a new, unexpected, more powerful Big Bad? Do the events of the story mean more than just to serve their purpose as a plot device? Luckily, we won’t have long to wait, as the next book in the series is tentatively slated for a December release. Woo for not having to wait a year or more!
Who needs to learn to drive when you know how to fly? “Where are you parked?” Kate asked. “I am not.” “You’re not? Did you take a cab or something?” “Something…”
If you enjoyed Night Walker check out the Dark series (starting with Dark Prince) by Christine Feehan. Her Carpathians are similar to the more vampire-traditional feel of the Night Walkers, and the flow of the stories and relationships between the characters have a comparable sentimentally impassioned ambiance.
You might also enjoy A Discovery of Witches (the first book in the All Souls trilogy) by Deborah Harkness. Discovery is a little more epic, but the chivalrous undertones and the unexpected quick emotional bonding of the main couple is similar. The pace of Discovery is also slower at the start, taking time to let the reader get to know the players before plunging into the mystery and action.
If you like your romance with strong bonds and heartfelt emotion, with tenderness and a sedate pace, with a strong, determined hero and a heroine who isn’t afraid to take chances, put Night Walker on your “to read” list. I’m looking forward to watching this series develop, especially as the characters learn more about their abilities and we (hopefully) get to meet more Night Walkers… and maybe a few vampires too? *wink* The great thing about Night Walker being the start of a continuing series is that no matter if the upcoming stories focus on Calisto and Kate or on other characters, we’ll still get a peek into their continuing journey as a couple and as immortals, and that’s a happy thought! =)(less)