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Shadows On The Soul by Jenna Black
Cover Artist: Getty Images
Review by Carolyn Frank
Tor Mass Market  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765357175
Date: 28 August 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Even vampires can have souls. In the version of the world in which Shadows on the Soul takes place, vampires possess immortal spiritual life forces, together with their mostly immortal bodies. Major life traumas leave scars, and souls can become just as disfigured as flesh.

Gabriel is a 500-year old vampire, still traumatized by his father's attempt to kill him several hundred years before. However he still looks and acts like the sexy young man that everyone sees. Jezebel, a young woman with AIDS that Gabriel rescued after a brutal gang rape by vampires, is now Gabriel's fledgling vampire. Although Gabriel has walled off the memories of her final trauma as a human, she still retains the horrendous memories of her childhood with her junkie mother and hateful grandmother. As these two hurting and lonely souls stumble through learning to understand and forgive themselves, they also learn to open and trust each other.

Until just before the start of this book, Gabriel has been living in Baltimore. Having recently deposed his mother as the vampire Master of Baltimore, he has now come back to Philadelphia to kill his father, the vampire Master of Philadelphia. This is modern day Philadelphia, although mostly described at night, with the addition of vampires. The Philadelphia vampires are different, instead of killing humans, they drink lamb's blood laced with milk. Led by Eli, Gabriel's father, they call themselves Guardians, and guard the local humans from murder by outsider killer vampires.

To learn what is going on in Eli's house, Gabriel has sent Jezebel to Eli for training into how to be a vampire and how to fit into vampire society. Jezebel is a reluctant spy but her fledgling vampyric powers are no match for Gabriel's abilities to force her to comply with his demands. On the other hand, her years of being an outsider fighting for her self esteem plus her innate femininity levels their confrontations on the intimate side. And as they are both sexy vampires, the romance moves into the erotic zone. Although somehow actual vampyric sex seems to avoid dealing with the issues that one might think that vampire fangs might raise.

Set in the same paranormal world as the prior books in the Guardians of the Night series, Watchers in the Night and Secrets in the Shadows, this volume focuses on the relationship between Gabriel and Jezebel. The earlier stories provide additional background and introductions to many of the characters involved in this tale, but a reader who enjoys vampires, mysteries and romance would find this book to stand firmly on its own. Vampires should be mysterious and erotic, and these vampires are top of the line.

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