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Twilight Hunger

Edge of Twilight by Maggie Shayne
(Mira, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-7783-2022-7
Edge of Twilight is the tenth novel in Shayne’s “Twilight” series. This book does not do well as a stand alone. There’s a large cast of secondary characters whose histories are only hinted at because their stories appear in previous books. I recommend that you read this latest installment only if you’re familiar with the series already.

Edge is a vampire who has been wanting vengeance against a human, Frank Stiles, for the last forty years. Stiles ruthlessly killed a young band of fledgling vampires that Edge had taken under his wing. They were the closest thing he would ever have to children. Edge has killed him on more than one occasion, but Stiles formulated a serum from the blood of the Chosen One, Amber Lily Bryant, that makes him immortal. Amber is the child of a vampire mother and human father. No one is sure what all of her strengths and powers are. Edge decides his best chance at finding Stiles again is to find Amber and use her to attract him. Stiles had taken Amber prisoner when she was eighteen and did several tests on her because she is the “Chosen One,” although it’s never clear why she carries this designation. This was the time when he formulated the serum from her blood that keeps him immortal.

Amber is on her way to Salem because Willem, a close human friend of her vampire family and the man that rescued her from Stiles several years ago, just found out he has terminal cancer. When Amber hits Edge with her car on the way to Salem, he gives her a story about his car breaking down and says he is also heading for Salem. Amber doesn’t trust him. She’s horrified to find that he’s the vampire she’s been dreaming of for the last year. In her dream he gives her the gift of death, which terrifies her. But she also finds she is strongly attracted to him. In fact, whenever they touch, the feeling is literally semi-electric and definitely beyond what either of them has ever experienced before. She also wants to get to know this vampire so that she can find out what her dreams are trying to tell her.

The romance that develops between Edge and Amber is a bit strange. In the beginning Edge admits to himself and to Amber that he is only interested in her physically (as well as to lure Stiles to him, but he doesn’t tell her this) and wants to have sex with her simply for the experience. She says no because she’s unsure of who he really is and she’s not interested in sex without love and romance. Edge doesn’t use seduction to win Amber over, like any other hero would; instead he uses sarcasm to continuously remind her of what he wants. Eventually she finds the attraction too much to resist and does have sex with him (despite his immature near-begging tactics). But any hint of romance takes a backseat to the adventure that involves finding Stiles and all that goes with it. It was a bit of a disappointment, although the story itself is intriguing.

Something I had a problem with throughout the story was the question of how Stiles could be killed. It’s mentioned that Stiles had been killed on several occasions, not only by Edge but by others as well, and each time he’s come back to life. This time Edge intends to finish him off for good, but he’s stumped as to what will really kill Stiles. Well, since vampires are immortal and since Edge’s band of fledgling vampires had been killed by draining them of their blood, it would stand to reason that maybe Edge needs to try draining Stiles of all his blood. This makes the most sense, but was never brought up in the story.

Also, since I haven’t read any of the previous books in this series, I didn’t feel any type of connection to the secondary characters. There are a lot of them and they all play a big part in what happens during the story. But, I felt like a stranger sitting down to Christmas dinner with a large close-knit family. It was uncomfortable and awkward.

Despite the problems, the story between Edge, Amber and Stiles was intriguing. There is some action once Stiles is found. Perhaps if you’ve been keeping up with the “Twilight” series, you’ll find Edge of Twilight much more interesting than I did.

--Tracy Merritt

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