Author: Virna DePaul
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
What I’m Talking About:
In Turned, Virna DePaul introduces readers to the Belladonna Agency, a top secret section of the FBI that knows all about (born) vampires and uses rogue vampires to turn human agents to made vampires. Special Agent Ty Duncan is one such agent that was turned against his will by a group of rogues who captured and tortured him, along with his sister Naomi, Peter Lancaster and Ben Porter. Ty is now helping to recruit human females who will help the Belladonna Agency bring down the renegade rogues.
Ana Martin grew up on the streets, protected by the Sangre gang. She and her sister had a rough life until one night when everything went wrong. After spending some time in jail, Ana escaped her past and made a new, anonymous life for herself as the owner of a Seattle coffee shop. Yet she yearns to know what happened to her sister, and after meeting Ty, she realizes that maybe her life isn’t as wonderful as she makes it out to be. Taking a big chance, Ana agrees to join Ty and the Belladonna Agency.
Like many first books of a new series, Turned is packed full of new characters, complex backgrounds and intensive world building. I appreciated the idea that the FBI is keeping the vampire secret from humans while simultaneously using the vampires and double crossing their queen. Unfortunately, sometimes the story becomes weighed down by the sheer volume of information. At times, I got characters confused, and I had to take detailed notes to understand the different layers behind both the FBI’s and vampire’s plans. In addition, part of the problem for me was how the information is doled out in bits and pieces. Often the reader is only privy to a part of the bigger picture with hints of “more,” and it isn’t until much later that we discover the whole story. It was the constant reminders that I didn’t know the whole truth, which really began to wear on me. Yet, the world is an interesting one, and I throughly enjoyed the concept at the core of the series. I’m hoping that the next book will be a bit more streamlined now that we have the basics of the world.
Right from the get go, we find out that Ty has an insatiable attraction for Ana, yet he doesn’t even understand why, only that he has difficulty keeping the vampire side at bay when he thinks of her. The pair share some extremely sexy dream time and make for a lovely couple while asleep. However, in real life, both characters attempt to keep a tight leash on his/her emotions. Of the two, I found that I liked Ty a bit more than Ana. I like that he is smart and on top of things rather than being easily mislead. For a long time I had mixed feelings about Ana. I found her strength and determination appealing, yet when she does things like leaves Ty before he can leave her… ugh! I got so frustrated!
A big part of the storyline comes in the last half of the book when Ty and Ana go undercover to find out if the Hispanic Community Alliance is really a front for rogue vampires to illegally collect human blood. This part of the story is pretty exciting, especially given who the leaders of the group are. I enjoyed the detailed scenery and play-by-play of the pair’s infiltration. I appreciated that the pair finally had the time to take a good look at their “relationship” and what it meant. Although I wasn’t overly excited by the mysterious man who created key plays in the climax of the story, I liked the end results. And I liked that even though the story has a definite conclusion, there are still many unanswered questions in the grand scheme of things.
Overall, I enjoyed Turned, but it was a mixed bag for me. At times the book kept me completely engrossed, while during others, I found myself wanting to skim through. After a while, the constant mysterious tone felt forced and became tiresome. In addition, the world building and character introductions were a bit overwhelming. However, I am intrigued by the core mythology and definitely want to read more. I liked the ultimate direction the story took and found the cast of characters full of potential future tales. In the end, I find Turned worth the read for fans of paranormal romance.
Rating: C+ Liked It, but I had issues
About the Book:
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own.
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Series: Belladonna Agency #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (384 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley
Turned (Belladonna Agency #1)