Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguié
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads: Centuries ago, Raphael was a blasphemous knight who fought in the Crusades purely for his own mercenary benefit, and to satisfy his taste for killing. Now, condemned for his evil passions and hypocrisy, he wanders the earth a vampire, cursed with first-hand knowledge of the supernatural world he once denied existed. The powerful relic he still possesses from his days as a Crusader has been stolen by a rival vampire who has recruited an army of soulless underlings to aid him in spreading evil. At the time he learns this, Raphael has been hunting this vampire for nearly a century, and it seems the final battle is destined to take place in Prague.br For help in this quest, Raphael must enlist the aid of two humans, David and Susan, who suddenly find themselves immersed in a world they never imagined, entangled with supernatural forces they can't control. Susan, in particular, finds herself conflicted as she struggles with her inexplicable attraction to Raphael. In the end, both Susan and Raphael will be called upon to exercise courage and faith, and in the process, the question, "What would happen if a vampire truly accepted God?" is answered.
My take: What I liked about this book is the different perspective on vampires. Vampirism is a curse given to those who are nonredeemable in a lifetime. The premise is that, given enough time, a vampire, who is immortal, will have time to turn his life around and make better choices. But then, of course, something goes wrong. It seems that a group of vampires really are wicked to the very core and will never change. Instead, they organize themselves to take over the world.
Raphael struggles with the existential questions of God and Christ's redeeming blood. There is also some symbolism in the book of sacrifice, blood, and unconditional love. Definitely more uplifting than other vampire books I've read but still Gothic and dark. Apparently, that's just the way of Prague.
The book sets up the story for the next book. I didn't really connect with any of the characters, although I didn't dislike them. There were some inklings of depth that never quite materialized. Perhaps this will be further explored in future books. For me, it was an interesting read but not one that stands out in my repertoire.