Review of Vampire Masks (Bathory Academy #2) Katie M John

HE NEEDS TO GET STRONGER IF HE’S TO SURVIVE, AND THERE’S ONLY THING THAT CAN HELP HIM–BLOOD. 
With the deadly vampire hunting organisation, The Saints, increasing their efforts to eliminate all offspring of the great vampire courts, starting with the youngest of the Bathory sisters, the academy is on lockdown.
But not all enemies are outside the walls, and history lives in the blood. 
As Alexander Augustine’s legendary family story is unveiled, he begins to understand that in order to survive the present, he must embrace the past, and all the dark secrets that go with it; including his darkling origins, even if it means sacrificing the one girl who has promised him salvation. 
Inverted crosses are burning in the grounds and assassins are in the woods. Fear and rebellion are whispering on the wind. And, on the evening of the Night Court Masquerade, everything changes. 

Vampire Masks is the 2nd book in the Bathory Academy series. Book one, Vampire Hearts, was a five star read for me last year and I have to say that book 2 keeps the same high standard alive. Back at the Academy we follow straight on from book 1 and Alexander’s struggles accepting all that comes with being a vampire. Not only does he have to deal with his inner battle over the taking of swans, but also the intrigue about his family history and how he is linked to the Bathory family. It’s easy sometimes to forget that the timeline of book one was actually over a pretty condensed period so it’s not surprising that Alexanders inexperience is still pretty high on the agenda. That becomes even clearer at the Night Court Masquerade, an event which reminds us that underneath it all the Academy is still a decadent place which is steeped in the traditions of ancient bloodlines.

Insofar as character development goes, I’m loving Charlotte Bathory’s persona the most, she is gorgeously decadent but yet on the fringes of both greatness and terribleness as she starts to embrace her heritage in an almost sinister way. She also has one of the stand out scenes of the book for me, you’ll know when you get there! Alexander’s emergence is also tantalising and as we have snips of his struggle, an almost Jekyll and Hyde persona comes forward, which is going to be something I look forward to seeing more of especially as it appears tied to his relationship with Annabel. The story gathers pace in terms of the work of The Saints and the tone does become darker as a result, there is still a ton of mystery surrounding them and the idea of danger within the academy walls starts to surface too, it’s all leading to pretty exciting places for the future of the series I have to say! 

Katie M John has such an easy writing style, the words flow so beautifully across the page, every chapter ended on intrigue and I just had to keep on reading; I rarely put it down – but I really did need to sleep. It’s well balanced in terms of story, I felt that all the main characters had enough time and focus, with a good dose of history alongside of the contemporary setting, there were also a few breadcrumbs left in respect of future story arcs and some links into the companion series featuring Astrid. As with book 1 the reader is never overwhelmed with information in one go and we are still learning alongside Alexander – this makes it a continually accessible read for those not already immersed in vampire lore.

5*

 

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