fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Piper Maitland Acquainted With the NightAcquainted with the Night by Piper Maitland

An elderly academic is murdered. In his death throes, he leaves a cryptic message intended for a young female relative. This coded message sends the young female relative and an attractive male academic on a treasure hunt across Europe. They discover a secret that casts new light on religious history and on the female lead’s genealogy, fall in love, and are pursued by both legal authorities and criminal goons. You may be thinking you’ve read this book before. Piper Maitland adds a vampire twist to the formula, but I could never quite shake that Da Vinci Code feeling. Of course, we all have our favorite tropes, and one reader’s “unoriginal” is another reader’s “comfortable like an old shoe.” If the idea of The Da Vinci Code with vampires appeals to you, then Acquainted with the Night is the book you’ve been waiting for. For me, though, the clichés hampered the reading experience.

Maitland does, however, flesh out the two central characters, Caro and Jude, more fully than many thriller characters are developed. For the most part, this is a positive. There’s a stretch in the middle of the book where both leads become annoying — their romance sours, he’s being a bigot, she’s trying to wheedle him into a reconciliation — and I didn’t like either of them much for a while. But overall, the two protagonists work well. I also enjoyed the vampire tycoon with a soft spot for our heroine, his dog, and modern-day goth rock. After meeting the other vampires in the novel, most of whom are evil and gross, he made a nice change. He’s manipulative, sure, but he’s interesting!

Acquainted with the Night is filled with action; the chase scenes and double crosses will keep the pages turning. Unfortunately, it ends on more of a “the story is just beginning” note than one might expect of a 500+ page book, and the unoriginal elements make the story predictable in places. Depending on your tastes, Acquainted with the Night could be a good popcorn book but, ultimately, it’s forgettable.

Acquainted With the Night — (2011-2013) A woman’s quest for the truth…A medieval icon that holds the clues…And an ancient book with the power to shake Christianity-and humanity itself. London tour guide Caroline Clifford has never believe in vampires- until her uncle is brutally murdered at a Bulgarian archaeological site, and a vampire hunter who corresponded with him seeks her out. Strange anagrams on her uncle’s passport lead them to a cliff-top monastery in Greece, where a shattering revelation connects a relic Caro inherited to an age-old text on immortality-and an enigmatic prophecy that pits the forces of darkness and light in a showdown that could destroy all they know…


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.