"The smell of blood is in the air, I sense it even now. People thirst for it; the entire country is mad with desire for it. And now we are going to war with our brothers because they look like us, and because we can smell our blood coursing through their veins...” A mysterious letter starts a university student on a journey into the war-torn lands of rapidly disintegrating Yugoslavia. Naively trusting his enigmatic professor, the student unwittingly descends into a dystopian crucible of decay, destruction, passion, death, romance, lust, immorality, genocide, and forbidden knowledge promising immortality. As the journey grows ever more perilous, he realizes he must confront an ancient evil that has been once again loosed upon the earth: from medieval Bosnia to enlightenment-era Vienna, from the bright beaches of modern-day Southern California to the exotically dark cityscapes of Budapest and Belgrade, and horrors of Bosnia.
Steven Roberts is a young teacher's assistant to Professor Doctor Marko Slatina. When he learns he unable to get a research grant to finish is Ph.D., Slatina sets him up with a private foundation who will pay for his research abroad in order for him to finish his studies. Steven, of course, jumps at the chance. Only once he is there, his research leads him to the history of vampires and folklore. In fact, every bit of research leads him back to vampires and he can't seem to get away from the subject. This leads Steven down a very dangerous path and now he isn't sure what to believe. He does know that he is in serious danger though, and things are not just going to go away easily.
It's no secret that I don't read a lot of paranormal or fantasy books. I have a hard time with these stories because I just can't seem to force myself into believing these stories are possible. And when that happens, I just can't get let go and get into the story. But back in the day I enjoyed these stories. In fact, I was quite a fan of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. Since then though, vampires and werewolves and you name it have taken a turn for the worse. But when I was approached for a possible review of Kiss of the Butterfly, I hesitated to say no. I thought this might be the vampire story I was waiting for. And I was right.
Right away I knew things weren't going to go well for Steven. Even after being told to be careful who he talks to, he just can't seem to shut up. He tells everyone he meets about his research and this causes nothing bu trouble for him. Even so, I still liked him quite a bit. He was very genuine in how he reacted to women and I found that refreshing. He didn't take advantage of his situation and I appreciated that. But aside from that, he was also funny and charming and came off as a little innocent.
I wasn't sure how I felt about Slatina at first. I knew he was hiding something but just didn't know what. I didn't like that he used Steven for his own personal gain, but I understood his reasoning.
What I really enjoyed most about this story was that it was 100% believable. I did not doubt for one minute the plot or anything else. There is an incredible amount of history and facts blended into this story that it is nearly impossible to tell which part was fact and which was fiction. This made me turn the pages even faster and it completely sucked me in. It is quite apparent that this author spent an enormous amount of time researching Balkan history and he worked it into this story flawlessly.
I can't say I knew much about Balkan history going into this story, but I definitely do now. There is so much to learn between these pages and one hell of a story. It is creepy, violent and even pretty funny. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series and see where the author takes it. I am so invested in these characters now that I don't think I could stop reading even if I wanted to.
Overall, this book was crazy good. If you are looking for a more realistic and scary vampire read, this is definitely it. You don't want to miss out on this one, trust me!
For more about James Lyon and Kiss of the Butterfly, check out his Facebook page!
Be sure to come back tomorrow for an interview with the author and a giveaway!