Saturday, February 13, 2010
Review - Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze
Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider
by Ellen C. Maze
2009 Outskirts Press
Genre: Adult Paranormal
Summary (Press Release)
What is your novel attracts the wrong kind of attention- and an age-old evil turns out to be all too real?
Bestselling author Beth Rider enjoys her fame as the South's newest literary star.
That is until Jack Dawn, a real-life vampire, vows to kill her because of the vile redemptive message her book is bringing his people. The ancient race of bloodthirsty immortals to which Jack belongs, known as the Rakum, have spread evil among mankind since the Beginning. But Jack alone recognizes the novel's destructive potential and she must die.
Jack's proselyte Michael Stone was brought up from his youth to be strong, sensible and brutal. But at one hundred and thirty, Michael is old enough to appreciate his quiet and ordered life. When he strumbles upon the beautiful and apprently innocent Beth Rider, he is puzzled by his Elder's unreasonable actions against her. Instantly smitten, Michael takes it upon himself to protect her from the limitless lust of his brethren.
Facing the most terrifying trial of her life against creatures known only in fables, one simple woman will threaten the existence of a powerful and accursed people. In the climactic final battle, it is a race to the death, or if Beth has her way, a way to the life - of every Rakum who make the choice.
When I first started reading this novel, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. To my surprise, it had a supernatural element to it, and was about vampires. Then I thought it would be another stereotypical novel about vampires, glorifying their race (not that there's anything wrong with that, but I was looking to read something different at that time). I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns of this novel and how different it was from the normal take on the vampire themes we have seen lately.
I love it when au author can take a legend or mythological idea and twist it so it becomes something new and interesting. This is definitely what happens in Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider. Ms. Maze creates her own unique vampire race, the Rakum, with Fathers, Elders, clans, always keeping the amount limited to 100 000 in the world. Vampires in the novel are not created from humans, but are born from the Fathers with a human mother and are raised in one of the Elder clans. Their gifts are nurtured and developed and they are educated in their beliefs from the time they are small; each Rakum have to pass a series of difficult tests in order to be initiated as full adult Rakum. Interestingly, there are no female Rakum. Their world is ordered, civilized, and controlled.
Beth turns all this on its feet with her new book. She is converting hundreds of Rakum over to her cause just by the Rakum having read her book and beginning to question their existence and asking questions about God. Jack Dawn, worried and anxious about his race, tracks Beth down and marks her as his Rabbit, believing her to be a traitor to his race. Beth is shocked when she discovers from Michael why this has been done to her and Michael is astounded when he discovers that Beth is the Rabbit he is sensing. He senses something wrong about the whole thing and becomes her protector. The relationship between Michael and Beth develops slowly and as events throw them together, they are forced to depend on one another more and more. Michael especially begins to question why he is going against his brethren and everything he believes in to protect a human woman who is about to turn his world upside down. As we are led down Michael's path, we learn many truths about the Rakum and about Michael himself. Michael becomes Beth's 'Knight in Shining Armour' and I loved watching him take that path to enlightment and watching their relationship develop.
The many other characters in this novel were interesting and quirky, to say the least. I enjoyed the interaction between Elder Roman and Javier, and how they became more affectionate towards each other towards the end. As many of the characters became more 'human', they acted more human-like whereas the characters who didn't believe in Beth's books, became more evil and did more evil things. There was almost this yang-yang effect; as some people grew nicer and more forgiving, others grew more evil and attempted more desperate acts.
Despite the lightning-fast plot, with many twists, the novel gave you a lot to ponder. While it was a page turner, and had me hooked right from the very beginning, there were some deep philosophical ideas present in this novel. It dealt with faith, mythology, philosophy, evil and goodness, redemption, and belief in God. While it didn't go indepth onto these topics, they were certainly present, and I had to stop reading at several points so I could ponder some of the points that were made. I had to admire Beth's deep faith in God as it helped to keep her calm throughout many difficult situations that I'm sure I could not have faced with the same stoicism she displayed. Many of the Rakum questioned their own belief system and their own reasons for existence and it was interesting following their paths to redemption.
This novel had a great plot, definite thrills, chills, and suspense to satisfy anyone, fantastic characters, and mythological elements. It hooked me right from the beginning and didn't let go, even after I finished reading it. It's a fantastic debut novel from an author whom I hope to read more about soon.