Monday, 11 August 2014

Book Review: The Midnight Guardian by Sarah Jane Stratford

It’s 1938, and Hitler's tentacles have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be purged of all "tainted" bloodlines…including vampires.

London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent and resolves to send its five most formidable vampires— immensely powerful "millennials" who have lived more than a thousand years— to infiltrate and destroy the Nazis. Brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, for it means leaving behind her vampire lover Eamon, whom she made eight centuries ago. But go she must; her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success.

As the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable and more monstrous than they'd ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free world. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.

My Review:
When I picked up this book, I was expecting an all out action-fest with vampires battling Nazis as they try to get to Hitler to stop the war-but that is not what this book was about. Yes there were Nazis and vampires but it was not what I was expecting so I was a bit disappointed with it in some ways.

We have two story threads running which we switch between. We have 1938 when the five vampires are heading to Germany with plans to infiltrate the Nazis and create discord from within to stop their evil plans. This story develops into how the plans develop and what they are going to do next. The second story is in 1940 as Brigit is trying to escape Germany on a train with precious cargo while evading various nasty humans who want to harm her.

Both threads include the story of the torn apart lovers Brigit and Eamon who is back in London worrying about her. The love story involves frequent flashback to how both were turned into vampires, how they met, details about their lives together, Eamon's love of music and drawing, their sex life...all things that just slowed the book down every time it looked as if something might be happening either in 1938 or 1940. And that was the main problem with the book-too slow and very little Nazi killing action. The 1938 story has the vampires seducing low level Nazis who are nowhere near the inner circle thus finding out the secrets like the invasion of France too late to do anything about it. I didn't find the cocktail parties and this slow infiltration very interesting and I can't see how they actually hoped to achieve anything. We never get near attacking high ranking Nazis or anything like that. And of course a rash move which provide the few bits of action lead to problems and more talk and flashbacks.

The 1940 story was slightly more interesting because you instantly have questions. Where are the other vampires? What is the secret cargo? Who are the people targeting her and what are their agendas? It was  still very slow and punctuated by flashbacks to Brigit and Eamon which I was getting a bit tired of. The 1940 story did get intriguing when you started to find out the answers to those questions, leading to a bit of tension in the storyline and the desire to see her kill more people on the train.

The book was well written and the author is a good storyteller but this book just lacked the action that I want in an urban fantasy book. It was more of a love story with Nazis and vampire hunters thrown into the background to give a reason for them being split up. That said, it is still a decent enough read but I wouldn't continue with the series unless I knew it livened up a good bit. If you don't mind a slow historical vampire read then you might like this but there are only a few action scenes in the whole book so don't go expecting much of that. I'd probably rate this 2.5 but I don't have a yellow star for that so I'll give it the extra half for now.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. I vaguely remember this cover. And it might have been from one of your posts. I'm not sure. Sounds interesting, but not sure too. Thank you. :)

    1. Yeah it was on my Throwback Thursday post a few weeks back-finally got round to reading it!