Review of Vampire Hearts (Dark Origins #1) by Katie M. John

Alexander had loved Lydia, but then he’d nearly killed her. This is his vampire curse. His dark origin.
Now, he is forced to run from the human world and everything he knows. Newly emerged, and terrified of his increasing powers, there is only one place that can save him, Bathory Academy; home to the descendants of history’s most infamous vampires. A place where legends become truth.
Thrust into the luxurious and magical world of the vampire, Alexander soon learns that some students will stop at nothing to claim the future throne of the vampire realm… or to secure their own immortality.
But Alexander isn’t interested in crowns and thrones, he just wants the answer to one question.
Does he still have a heart, or is he now a monster, fated to destroy anyone he ever loves?

Vampire Hearts was an out of comfort zone read for me, whilst I love a great fantasy, paranormal just doesn’t hold the sway.  However, I was completely drawn in by the blurb of this book and I am so happy I took the plunge.  Vampire Hearts is an outstanding read!

From the moment you walk through the doors into the sumptuous surroundings of the Bathory Academy, you are immersed into the decadent world. I have to say that as it’s a genre that I don’t often read, I found myself very much identifying with Alexander as he traversed not only his new surroundings but also a whole new etiquette and lore. Finely balanced social networks and heirarchies leave his head spinning, so far removed from the “normal” life he left behind.  I loved how his story unfolded throughout the book, the author very cleverly balancing story arc and necessary information so it never felt overwhelming for a first book establishing a series.

Alexander finds himself thrown in with the Monarchy, those descended from the royal bloodlines, including the Bathory sisters themselves, Scarlett and Charlotte. With an instant connection to Scarlett he must battle the ever watchful eye of her boyfriend Byron, who just happens to by a descendant of Jack the Ripper!  All the characters are wonderfully written and realised, I’m so excited to find out more about their stories in future books.

Vampire hearts is pitched at an upper YA/NA range and the start of more adult themes is growing, I like that is a real feel of a slow burn though with the characters, which is always my favourite! Plot wise there is a ton going on, having established the main players we are quickly introduced to the big bad of the series, the mysterious “Saints” and as the plot unfolds and we learn more about students and teachers at the Academy many of whom have more going on than first meets the eye and some more dangerous than others.

It’s rare that I will have the chance to finish a book in a day any more, but Vampire Hearts was one that I just could not put down, there are no moments that drag or feel over complicated and if, like me, you’re pretty new to the vampire genre, there is nothing to fear! It’s a wonderful and rich world that has been created and I can’t wait to find out more in book 2!

5*

Vampire Hearts is out now and available via Amazon

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