This is the first Paranormal Romance I've read in a long time, and yet I know for a fact that it felt different from the usual vampire novels out there a couple of years ago. For one, Adrian wasn't the usual moody, expression-less vampires we readers have come to expect after Twilight. Also, I think I fell in love with Adrian's cashmere sweaters before I fell in love with the guy himself. If I'm being real, Adrian seemed to be exactly what he was: the nice boy next door. He wasn't mean to people and he didn't actively push them away - before the main character Caitlin showed up in town, he just existed. In school, he was admired, not talked to. Then Caitlin came along and things started to change. Sound like another book? Yeah, well it's not.
The plot goes even further. Before Caitlin first goes to school, she's stuck outside during a freak storm. Adrian shows up out of nowhere, uses some of his vampire powers on her, thereby saving her. Of course, Caitlin doesn't remember any of this because he used his compulsion on her to cover up her memories, to a certain extent. To her, the first time they actually met was the first day of school. After they get to know each other a little - this includes Adrian driving Caitlin to and from school on his motorcycle and him wanting to kill a guy who kissed her without her permission (yes, I swooned) - Adrian reveals that he's actually a vampire, and he's going to be her bodyguard now, which means they have to pretend date. What does he have to protect her from? Oh nothing, really. It's just that the freak storm was really Adrian's demon dad entering Earth from Hell, and now that he's smelled her emotions, he wants to impregnate her so she can give birth to a little vampire baby, which would obviously result in her death. No biggie.
(I may be making fun of the plot a little because it's ridiculous when I try to explain it, but trust me, West makes it work.)
I have absolutely nothing against Twilight. I loved the series when I was in middle school. However, this novel reminded me so much more of Vendetta by Catherine Doyle than the afore-mentioned books. Adrian was a genuinely nice guy who begins falling in love with Caitlin. Of course, he's not supposed to, and when he realizes how painful it would be for an immortal vampire to fall in love with a mortal human, he pulls away. Unlike in Vendetta, however, I rooted for nice guy Adrian, though that might simply be because Adrian's actual bad boy brother was a bit too old for Caitlin. But enough of that tangent.
I started reading Velvet because I was in the mood for vampires, and to my utmost dismay, I stopped being in such a mood by the middle of the novel. Not great timing. The fact that I ended up enjoying the story even after I satisfied my vampire urges attests to West's writing prowess. I suppose the differences between Velvet and the usual vampire-human romances also helped keep my interest, as it made it harder to predict what would happen next at any given moment. The only thing that truly surprised me about the novel though was the cliffhanger at the end - something happens to one of my favorite characters in the novel, and I'm both excited and scared to see how that will affect the plot in the next installment.
The climax of the plot was easy to recognize even though Caitlin apparently had no clue that it was the moment she had been dreading for weeks on end. I find it difficult to believe that she was so busy mourning her lack of vampiric love life that she didn't recognize the danger she was in, and that she did what she did in that moment. It's inconceivable, really. Even so, it didn't take away from my interest in the storyline - it just made me really eager to shout at Caitlin for being so stupid.
I'll be honest, the entire time I was reading this I felt like I was indulging in a guilty pleasure. I don't know if it's because I've become unused to reading about vampires or what, but I was in full-on childish glee while holding the novel. I think there's something wrong with me. Either way, Velvet was a delectable retreat into the paranormal romance world I hadn't realized I'd missed, and I'm keen on seeing what becomes of Adrian and Caitlin's relationship as the plot advances, especially since in this book, vampires are born, not made.
Book Synopsis: First rule of dealing with hot vampire bodyguards? Don't fall in love.
After losing both her parents before age seventeen, aspiring designer Caitlin Holte feels like her whole world has been turned upside down, and that was before the terrifying encounter with a supernatural force. Then, she learns that her hot bad-boy neighbor, Adrian—who might have just saved her life—is actually a half-demon vampire.
Suddenly Caitlin is stuck with a vampire bodyguard who feels that the best way to protect her is to become her pretend boyfriend. Trouble is, Caitlin is starting to fall in love for real, while Adrian can never love a human. Caitlin trusts Adrian to keep her safe from his demon father, but will he be able to protect her heart?