I was recently tweeting with Julie Kagawa (and you know we love Julie around here!) and asked her what book she was planning on reading during her vacation. Vacation books are a big deal for me. I put so much importance on them that when Julie said she was thinking of reading Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel, I figured I would have to read it too.
Lenah Beaudonte is, in many ways, your average teen: the new girl at Wickham Boarding School, she struggles to fit in enough to survive and stand out enough to catch the eye of the golden-boy lacrosse captain. But Lenah also just happens to be a recovering five-hundred-year-old vampire queen. After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah is able to realize the dream all vampires have -- to be human again. After performing a dangerous ritual to restore her humanity, Lenah entered a century-long hibernation, leaving behind the wicked coven she ruled over and the eternal love who has helped grant her deep-seated wish.
Until, that is, Lenah draws her first natural breath in centuries at Wickham and rediscovers a human life that bears little resemblance to the one she had known. As if suddenly becoming a teenager weren’t stressful enough, each passing hour brings Lenah closer to the moment when her abandoned coven will open the crypt where she should be sleeping and find her gone. As her borrowed days slip by, Lenah resolves to live her newfound life as fully as she can. But, to do so, she must answer ominous questions: Can an ex-vampire survive in an alien time and place? What can Lenah do to protect her new friends from the bloodthirsty menace about to descend upon them? And how is she ever going to pass her biology midterm?
Okay, so maybe you're thinking, "Another vampire book. Really?" But, wait! This is one of those vampire stories that turns the tables, and I loved it for that. You won't get the "Oh look! I'm a beautiful vampire with lots of money and my eternal life is so fabulous and don't you want to be me?" story here. Nope. Rebecca Maizel looks at the dark side of being a vampire. They cannot feel anything under their touch, they cannot cry without horrible pain, they feel desperate longing for human emotion, and any sort of human happiness inspires the need to inflict suffering. You won't find many friendly neighborhood vamps in this story. And, I liked that.
Now, that's not to say I liked the savage nature that Lenah had as a vampire. What I like is how this book explores the desire to be human and what exactly that means. It crosses the age-old story of a high-school crush with the story of a centuries old vampire queen. And it's wonderfully done.
The ending of this book left my jaw on the ground, but thankfully there is a chapter from the next book included, so you won't be left completely dumbstruck. And make sure you read the chapter - I almost feel like it could have been part of this book instead.
Have you read Infinite Days? Are you planning on adding it to your TBR list?