The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Hunters: Victoria Book 1) By Colleen Gleason
Beneath the glitter of dazzling nineteenth century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil…Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long ago taken control of the world.
In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous moonlit streets, Victoria’s heart is torn between London’s most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her dark, dangerous duty.
And when she comes face-to-face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make a choice between duty and love.
What makes The Gardella Vampire Hunters different from other vampire books out there? A fresh mythos, fantastic characters, romance and fast-paced action! The series has been said to be a cross between Buffy and Jane Austen and I don’t disagree. Victoria Gardella, our heroine and main character, is strong and doesn’t easily conform to her demands as a woman of society in nineteenth century London. Her calling is to be a Venator, a vampire hunter who must devote her life to eradicate the world of evil undead beings.
The more that she tries to balance her obligations with her calling to hunt vampires, the more she struggles between choosing to be the person that society tells her to be and this other part of her that she is still discovering. I believe that even though the time period is different, a lot of the difficulties that she faces are easily relatable. Victoria isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes. She wants to please her mother while simultaneously doing things her own way. Victoria may have societal pressure to find a husband, but she holds out the hope that she can marry for love.
The other vampire hunters soon arrive with their own pressures and expectations for her as well. While Victoria’s society says to socialize and find a husband, as a vampire hunter everything is expected to be secondary to killing vampires and keeping people safe. The burden of this responsibility also means that there is a part of her that Victoria has to keep secret.
Joss Whedon has said that much of Buffy deals with a theme of loneliness. Colleen Gleason similarly echoes this theme, as various characters’ brushes with the undead leave them grappling with isolation, identity and redemption. The secondary characters not only provide comic-relief and romance, but add substance to the overall story arch and are often as interesting as the main characters. The back and forth banter between Victoria and her mother was hilarious to me!
There are many layers in the setting and history of this series. Everything from the undead, to the villians, to the hunters are given specific motivations. The plot is never boring and written with careful detail. The series describes Victorian life and society, but it is done in a way that isn’t difficult for non-historical readers to follow.
There are five books in the series: The Rest Falls Away, Rises the Night, The Bleeding Dusk, When Twilight Burns and As Shadows Fade. I have read the entire series and can tell you that it gets better with each installment. Right now they are available on Amazon.