Eternal Hunger
by Laura Wright, fantasy (2010)
Signet, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-451-23149-9


Eternal Hunger is the first book in a series called Mark Of The Vampire. If this book is anything to go by, the series is best described as a melting pot of all the tropes and clichés present in books by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Larissa Ione, Christine Feehan, Lora Leigh, and others, with an additional generous helping of a very dumb brand of derivative. It is as if author Laura Wright cranked this book out after taking some online web course on how to write the most derivative paranormal series in the shortest time possible to make lots of money.

The world building is pitifully sketchy, relying on my familiarity with the worlds of those other authors I've mentioned to fill in the blanks and the author is obsessed with lineage purity as well as guys mating with the correct women. Eugenics-driven love is nothing new in paranormal romances, but the author takes it to new levels of creepiness with phrases like Pureblood and the hilarious Impureblood.

Our hero here as well as his brothers are Purebloods, naturally. We don't want the taint of weak blood contaminating the purity of our virile males, after all. Alexander Roman, our hero, is a vampire who has recently undergone the change process called "morpho" tad prematurely. No matter, what's done is done and he is now a Breeding Male. Seriously, that is what the author calls him. Being a Breeding Male means that Alex has two key-shaped marks on his cheeks. He will recognize his mate by the same marks somewhere on her body. Oh, and if he doesn't find his mate soon, he runs the risk of turning into some sex-mad fiend who will go around raping everybody.

Sara Donohue, our heroine, has a job, although frankly, it doesn't matter because soon her job description becomes "seminal depository for hot creepy vampires". She is a psychologist who is motivated by her brother's mental scars to... um, do something that puts her in contact with a dangerous demented patient. Guess who saves her. Guess who wants her.

In addition to the whole premise being some silly excuse for the hero and the heroine to have sex under the pretense of true love, the story can be mind-bogglingly silly in other ways. The hero and his two brothers, Lucian and Nicholas, are already boring clichés right down to their names, but the author has to add some unintentional hilarity to her paint-by-numbers story by introducing conceptual words and phrases like Impurebloods and the Superior One along with dozens of gobbledygook like "credenti" and "paven". Capital letters are everywhere to make boring words feel "exotic". But even with all that gobbledygook and all those Very Important Words, the world is still flat and colorless. Then again, when the setting is pretty much a cut and paste of settings of worlds created by more established authors, there is probably very little that can be done to make the setting interesting.

Maybe there is some method behind the madness, maybe this story is actually a brilliant satire on the more brainless paranormal romances out there, and maybe I'm going to wake up one morning and discover that I have thirty million dollars in my bank account waiting to be spent.

The three Brothers Cliché can be quite dumb in this story. Alex lusts after Sara with the intensity of a prisoner in solitary confinement for five years, but it never occurs to him to check her for the barcode that will mark her as his designated boink buddy. The villains are said to be all-powerful and evil, but they are startlingly inept when they actually deign to come out from the background that they are relegated to most of the time.

Eternal Hunger is a paranormal romance with heavy crotch action and little else. Everything else - depths, characterization, plot - is secondary to the whole mating thing between the hero and the heroine. But frankly, I'd recommend that you read books by Larissa Ione or Sherrilyn Kenyon if you want stories of this kind, as with this book, Laura Wright comes off like an elevated amateur who tries too hard to imitate those authors only to miss the speeding bandwagon and fall flat on her face instead.

Rating: 38


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