Werner's Reviews > Pro Luce Habere Volume II

Pro Luce Habere Volume II by Krisi Keley
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-i-own, supernatural-fiction, vampires
Recommended for: Fans of supernatural/vampire fiction who don't mind religious themes
Read from July 24 to August 09, 2012 , read count: 1

Pro Luce Habere, the prequel to Keley's series opener On the Soul of a Vampire, was published in two volumes due to its length (covering as it does some 800 years of history). This volume picks up immediately where its predecessor left off, and its last chapter touches base with the first book (in a masterful way that avoids extensive repetition), ending almost where the first one ends, but with an added development and insight. Along the way, it fleshes out our protagonist's background in myriad ways, and sharpens the author's themes --but the journey is no joyride.

Valery Castellane is a dark, but not unsympathetic, figure. His undead existence is shrouded by sorrow and guilt: he's an essentially kind and gentle soul who cares about people --and who ironically experiences a bonding union with his victims, as they die, in which he knows their whole being, a deep and even beautiful experience to which he's addicted, as all Keley's vampires (except the Eastern European ones) are-- but who can sustain his existence only by regularly killing other people; as naturally devout a person as any fallen human can be, but convinced that he's everlastingly damned by virtue of what he is and does, and exposed to enough traumatizing horror and darkness to make him question the existence of a God who can allow it; starved for emotional intimacy, but unable to secure it without cursing the person he wants to be close to as he himself is cursed. In this installment of his tale, we follow his centuries-long journey from the atrocities of the just-beginning witch hysteria, to the reaches of a New World that isn't immune to the sins of the old one, through the madness of the French Revolution and the mind-numbing nightmare of the world wars, to a present day that may hold some promise of deliverance --but how? Along the way, we'll see him be the giver of both kindness and death to others (and sometimes they're the same thing); we'll hurt with him as he suffers heartrending loss more than once; and we'll be privy to all his psychological/spiritual quandaries.

The literary style here is consistent with the earlier books of the series. Keley doesn't neglect outward action --and she doesn't spare us rare instances of graphic gore, where it's necessary-- but there's also a lot of the character's interior life here, and some serious discussion of ideas. (Valery --and Michel, whose relationship with him plays a big role here-- contemplate modernity with the outsider's perspective of someone not raised in it, but they also have to grapple with its questions.) This, and a penchant for dialogue that may take close attention to follow, has led me to compare Keley to James (in his better manifestations) elsewhere, and that's equally true here. She also lists Anne Rice as a favorite author, and recognizes a stylistic influence by the latter; and her prose does have something of the same sensuous quality, not fully "purple" but rich, and sort of like a caress for the mind rather than the body. But her literary vision has light as well as darkness, and doesn't convey the cloying odor of rotting moral squalor that Interview with the Vampire does (at least to me). Even more than Rice, though, she can mesmerize!

This volume is currently only available for purchase as an e-book; but I received an electronic copy, which I could print out and read as a paper book, as a generous gift from the author herself, whom I'm proud to claim as a friend. Now, I'm waiting with bated breath for the series finale, Genesis!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Krisi (new) - added it

Krisi Keley Thank you so much for another kind and extremely insightful review, Werner! It's an honor to have you for a friend. :-)

Werner Thank you, Krisi! (Blushes, and scrapes floor with toe of shoe.... :-) )

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