Night Tastings: Part One: The Ingress is the first part of a trilogy of books by new author, Bervi Adams. Set in the 19th century, Night Tastings: Part One introduces us to the ill-fated Nikolai Rozumovsky, the son of a wealthy aristocrat in czarist Russia. Despite having wealth, good looks and successful career ventures, Nikolai is still unwed at the ripe old age of 30. Under tremendous familial pressure to produce an heir, Nikolai is unimpressed by the women he has courted; until he meets the youngest daughter of a duke. Only 15 years old, Tatianya entrances Nikolai and thereby enrages her father. Even in the 19th century, Tatianya is viewed as a mere child and this courtship scandolous, but Nikolai’s ambitious and single-minded nature ensures their marriage.
When it seems Nikolai must surely be satisfied with his life and new-found love, he is taken in by an alluring stranger and a business proposition involving a ritual of vampires during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Never dreaming that this course of action could lead to the devastation of all he holds dear, Nikolai brings his new wife to New Orleans with him, where they meet a dark and ancient force.
Bervi Adams’ debut novel, Night Tastings, is both enchanting and compelling, bringing to life the allure of 19th century Russia as well as that of the “New World,” in New Orleans and the Napa Valley. Adams’ prose is poetic in nature, and the novel reads as if it were actually written in the 19th century. Fans of 19th century horror literature will be reminded of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, both in the style of writing and Nikolai’s tortured character. From the scandalous love affair of Nikolai and Tatianya, the beauty of 19th century Russia, to their discovery of evil beyond the scope of imagination, Night Tastings is sure to captivate readers with a thrill for the romance of the occult. Who doesn’t love a good vampire romance (as long as they don’t sparkle)? In all seriousness, Adams’ manages to capture the horror aspect as well as the romance, skimping on neither. This is not a vampire romance for teenagers, we are talking Dracula/Mina, not Edward/Bella (thank goodness!).
As well as being beautifully written, Night Tastings offers an interesting spin on traditional vampirism. New customs are introduced, as well as different methods for the transformation from human to vampire. This novel is anything but predictable and will leave readers itching for the upcoming releases of parts two and three to this trilogy.
What did not work?
There is not much to complain about in a tale that is both beautifully written and compelling, but the prologue leaves much to be desired. When the first few pages of a book are what readers usually flip through (or receive in a kindle sample) before buying, the prologue does not accurately portray what to expect in the book ahead. It is overly complex, naming far too many names without much context. The prologue takes place in 1993, so one would expect for the book to end in 1993. This is not the case, but was disappointing in advance knowing that there were two more books to come and thinking the novel would be rushed out of the 19th century prematurely. The prologue would be better served as an afterword, or best skipped altogether. Chapter one is instantly compelling, and readers should not be deterred by a confusing prologue – you don’t want to miss out on this book!
Night Tastings is a fantastic new take on old vampire legends, successfully melding romance and horror. Adams’ portrayal of 19th century Russia is inspired, and her prose is poetic and in tune with the style of writing of the time. This is a great opportunity to check out a new writer, and readers will be sure to be chomping at the bit for the upcoming novels in this trilogy.
Lisa is a lifetime horror fan and Constant Reader originally hailing from upstate New York. She is certifiably obsessed with all things Stephen King, her love of reading and writing matched only by her love of dogs. After spending many years in the world of dog training and pet sitting, she has chosen to pursue her childhood dream of a career in writing.