I'm gonna be honest - I finished this book sitting straight up in bed at 2 am, eyes racing down the page, heart pounding, butt-cheeks clenched, shaking fingers flipping pages like mad. R.A.Nelson is a master of suspense and the end of Throat will leave you breathless.
If you're a paranormal junkie, this book is for you. If you're a lover of realism, this book is for you, too. Nelson's main character, Emma, is a real-world gutsy girl dealing with the anxiety of epileptic seizures that isolate her from former friends, the terrifying fear of grisly violence that threatens the life of her sister Manda, and guilt over unwittingly drawing her new-found love, Sagan, into a nightmare that could lead to his death. It's great modern-day magical realism, with everyday events and people interwoven with the dark deeds of the "undead" and horrific attacks by gruesome creatures and hideous monsters - all told in a style that makes the story completely believable.
I love the contrast between the fast-paced, frantic attempts of Emma to build her defenses - physically and emotionally - against a terrifying Verloren vampire, Wirtz, and the touching plight of the Sonen, the "peaceful" vampires, who long for the healing powers of the sun while they engage in the Blood Hunt under cover of night.
Titles are important and this one is perfect. From the book: "'The throat is heilig. Sacred. The most sacred part of the body...the seat of the voice...I could feel your words, your voice, with my fingers as much as I could hear them with my ears. Second, even more than the lips or the mouth, the throat is also the seat of love, passion. There are those who say that the kiss was invented because the throat was too tempting, too dangerous. There is such a natural instinct to taste your lover's skin just here...' She trailed her thin fingers over my neck, making my skin pulse and tingle deliciously. No girl had ever touched me this way. `Are you ready?' she said...She sank her teeth into my neck."
While it is a vampire lover's feast, this book is no Twilight knock-off. The vampire lore of Throat is refreshingly original, with its German influence, historical references, and heart-rending stories. The NASA base setting is unusual and intelligent - full of scientific allusions and vivid descriptions. The characters are beautifully drawn. Emma acts instead of reacting; very much her own person, she doesn't take her cues from others. And I hope we'll see more of the wise and beautiful Lena in a sequel. The credibility of the opening event, the playful development of the two main characters' relationship, and the rich world-building of the opposing vampire camps all work together to drive the plot toward a terrifying conclusion that will leave you wanting more.