Solace Morgan was born a vampire. Raised in foster care, she has always tried to keep her abilities secret, until an eerie encounter with a faceless man prompts her to run away. Finding others with similar gifts, Solace soon becomes caught up in a strange, more vibrant world than she ever knew existed. But when the mysterious Professor Lukin takes an interest in her friends, she is forced to start asking questions of her own. What happened to her parents? Who is Sharpsoft? And since when has there been a medieval dungeon under Hyde Park?
Wow. Just, wow.
Solace & Grief got off to a slow start - the first third of the novel, while beautifully written, was somewhat stagnant. Solace runs away after a meeting with a faceless man, makes friends with a bunch of unemployed youths who live in a warehouse. She has some vaguely vampire-like traits - the sun tires her, she's strong, she can eat very few foods. It's all very mysterious, but not a whole lot seems to happen.
But then - we get to the second third of the novel and bam! there's suddenly tonnes of crazy stuff going on. Reality bending, alternate universes, people with special Tricks who are known as the Rare and someone out to kill them. Or capture them. Or something. There was a lot going on. I loved the ideas behind everything, this whole Rare species, the unique abilities everyone had. I think at times the dialogue was a bit unbelievable - young Australians in this day and age don't tend to talk so eloquently - but there were so many lines I absolutely loved and had to write down.
The final third of the book was amazing - while everything was not totally wrapped up, we did get some answers, and it was a very exciting ending. The kind you think about long after you've finished the book.
This is a vampire novel, and I think it'll appeal to paranormal romance fans, but also to people who don't like the whole vampire trend. It's just different enough to make it refreshing but also appeal to the people who already love books like these. I hope it gets picked up by an American publisher soon - I can see it having a lot of crossover appeal (it reminded me somewhat of Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, though I'm not entirely sure why).
The first book in what's sure to be a fantastic series, I highly recommend this novel to people who like urban fantasy and paranormal romance novels.