Tricia Barr’s The Amarant, beckons readers into a fantastical vampire-filled world, where a young woman’s crush on a fictional character leads her into an incredible reality where romance, the paranormal and an untapped legacy of fantastic supernatural power merge to change her world, forever.
The heroine of the story, Crimson Wilkinson, portrays a complex and strong-willed young woman, who refuses to let the darkness of a hurt-filled past take over her life. Being only seventeen, she lives with her mother in Tucson, Arizona, a locale which is wanting when it comes to excitement. As with any high schooler, Crimson undergoes some common experiences; an angry teacher, a bullying nemesis, ditching classes, an attraction to a hunky football player, and boredom. Her only real escape from the doldrums of her life concerns either hanging with her best friends Robert, Reina and Amber or getting lost in her favorite series of paranormal fiction novels which centers on a reclusive, handsome vampire named Nicholae Albaric who she crushes on and obsesses over.
Crimson’s story begins with the start of another seemingly uneventful high school year. Seeking excitement, her curiosity and infatuation for her crush sends her on a whim to search online for the fictional Nicholae. However, things change drastically and the true adventure starts when her search fatefully reveals that her vampire crush, Nicholae Albaric, is a real living vampire. Determined to turn dream into reality Crimson finds a way to meet her crush and the romantic sparks fly seemingly a destiny fulfilled. Consequently, their meeting sets off a series of events both romantic and adventurous, as she quickly becomes acquainted with Nicholae’s extraordinary world, which in turn, also leads to a startling revelation concerning her own untapped supernatural powers. Meanwhile, dark forces with other than friendly intentions focus their sinister machinations on Crimson abruptly throwing her world into utter chaos with danger and blood curdling action ensuing, as Nicholae and other supernatural denizens become her immortal protectors.
Altogether, The Amarant was a nicely executed novel. It fell easily into the Young Adult/Paranormal Romance paradigm with its blending of youthful, animated characters, paranormal creatures and intensely building romance. And overall, I found it made for a good escapist read which should appeal to fans of the genre, albeit, the pace of the story did start out slow but picked up later with an intensity that I wish was present earlier in the story. Additionally, I particularly enjoyed author Tricia Barr’s use of creativity when it came to the diversity of the vampire archetypes and especially her skilled use of imagery during the ferociously bloody vamp fight scenes which made for an especially exciting reading.