Ileandra Young’s Silk Over Razor Blades, published 2015, is the first in the vampire trilogy Saar’s Legacy.
There are two stories being told here, one set in present day Britain, and one in Cleopatra’s Egypt. One evening, two weeks before her wedding, Lenina is attacked by a vampire as she is jogging home. She survives this, but not without infection. As she transforms slowly to become a vampire herself, she is beset by the memories of Saar, the first vampire.
It’s nice to see a female vampire who isn’t obsessing over an alpha male. It’s good to see a female protagonist who is vulnerable, yet with a strength born of determination to fight and survive rather than special abilities – though she has those as well. It’s good to see a female vampire struggling to be human and heroic despite a hunger for human blood that cannot be denied.
This is an intelligently written story and well written. I hope the rest of the trilogy is as good as this first book.
If I have one complaint, it’s the character of Cleopatra. The episodes in Egypt are described in detail and vivid colour – I love when vampire stories embrace history – but Cleopatra comes across as quite silly. The reality is that, whether or not she was beautiful, she was brilliantly clever and wrote books on medicine and other matters. I would have preferred to see this Cleopatra.
(As an aside: Maria Dahvana Headley’s Queen of Kings: A Novel of Cleopatra, the Vampire has Cleopatra transform into a vampire. What I read of it was very well written, but I was very unhappy about the character of Cleopatra there and soon put the book down.)