In the Forests of the Night is the story of Risika, a 300-yr-old female vampire who appears to be 17, and her inner struggle between morals and the vampiric ways of life. The plot alternates between the 1700s, when she first became a vampire, and the present, where she is still living in the same town, Concord, MA (and if you read about the author, you find out that it's also the name of the town she lives in). The day before she was changed into a vampire by the spiteful Ather, Aubrey, also the "offspring" of Ather, came to her house and gave her a black rose. Now, in the 21st century, he again leaves her a black rose-- a warning to stay out of his territory. Aubrey's character is one that I think is especially well crafted-- the author manages to make him both powerfully evil and intriguing. Risika, formerly Rachel, has now become quite powerful and will no longer take orders from anyone, so she ignores the message, and as a consequence her only friend left, the tiger named Tora living at the zoo, is murdered by Aubrey. This invokes Risika's great anger and sorrow and the promise to avenge her friend. It is certainly chilling to watch the heroine kill human beings for food without a thought for their lives or families. The reader not only pities the main character, but is curious throughout the story. The book has an excellent plot, but lacks feeling and depth at many points. I also think that if it were a bit longer, it might have been even better. As a vampire novel, this book does not especially stand out; however it is obvious that it deserves praise, and that the author deserves tribute as a promising young fiction writer.
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