1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifteenth in the "Saint Germain" series.
Or sixteenth, if you count "Out of the House of Life", a spinoff novel mostly about Madeline de Montalia, Saint Germain's lover from the first novel in the series, "Hotel Transylvania", by the time of "House" a vampire in her own right.
Or nineteenth, if you count "A Flame In Byzantium", "Crusader's Torch", and "A...
Published on Mar 5 2004 by James Yanni
2.0 out of 5 stars Sanit Germain a vampire? You could have fooled me ...
Tempted to read Night Blooming and Hotel Transylvania by the reviewers' comments, I was sorely disappointed in these books and the primary character, Saint Germain.
Germain is "supposed" to be a vampire - although it is really hard to tell since the only vampirific tendencies he regularly exhibits are 1) he has a hard time crossing running water, and 2) he has to tuck...
Published on Feb 14 2003 by Spooty
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2.0 out of 5 stars Sanit Germain a vampire? You could have fooled me ...,
Germain is "supposed" to be a vampire - although it is really hard to tell since the only vampirific tendencies he regularly exhibits are 1) he has a hard time crossing running water, and 2) he has to tuck his native earth into shoes, saddles, and other accoutrements SO THAT HE CAN BE OUT AND ABOUT IN THE SUN.
Come on, I realize vampire characteristics differ - but two things are usually universal 1) vampires drink the blood of the living to continue their existence, and 2) they can be killed by exposure to sun light.
Oddly enough, "Saint" is an excellent title for Germain because he and Mother Theresa could be good friends. Germain travels the earth doing good works. He spends his time helping ladies that he fancies, kings that require advice and counsel, down trodden servants, outcasts of society, and so on. I really don't know why Yarbro bothered to make Germain a vampire - the books would be more interesting if he were a regular person who did these things; because he is supposed to be a vampire, you keep expecting him to do gothic, vampire-like stuff, when he doesn't, he slips into being dull, predictable, and tiresome.
For me, Yarbro's writing style is tedious, vapid, and uninspired. It took me many more days than it should have to read these books because I kept falling asleep. All of the tedium about titles, church minutia, underdeveloped characters, and loose ends ... I was secretly hoping to permanently misplace the books so that I did not have to finish reading them.
I am sorry that this series did not live up to its billing. Since Anne Rice's glory days (I don't count her more recent work to be a part of her stellar past), it is difficult to find engaging vampire fiction. If you are dying to read this series, make certain that you either adjust your expectations about what a vampire is and does or load up on caffeine before you begin.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fifteenth in the "Saint Germain" series.,
Or nineteenth, if you count "A Flame In Byzantium", "Crusader's Torch", and "A Candle For D'artagnan", all centering on the life of Olivia Atta Clemens, his lover from "Blood Games", third in the series, likewise a vampire herself in these stories.
As in all of the books in this series, Saint Germain is an unmitigated hero, gentle, kind, suave, cultured, generous, intelligent, wise. Some readers of vampire fiction don't want their vampires to be good guys; at best, they want engaging bad boys like Anne Rice's "Lestat". At worst, they want ravening demons. If you fall into this category, don't read this book (or any book in this series). You won't get what you're looking for here. In Yarbro's books, the bad guys are generally the political and religious powers that be in the historical periods that she writes about.
Which brings us to one of the most fascinating things about this series: the historical settings. Saint Germain is a vampire who has lived for 4000 years; as such, each novel sets him in a different time period; this one sets him in the court of Charlemagne, circa 800 CE. Don't read these books as vampire fiction; read them as historical romances.
One of the few negative aspects to this series is that regular readers know from earlier-written books set in later historical periods that most of the romances are doomed to tragic endings; if they weren't, the romantic interests would have become vampires, and we'd have seen them or heard them referred to in later-period books. This gets a bit depressing after a while, but is hardly enough to keep the series from being worthwhile.
I would put this book about on a par with "Blood Roses" or "Darker Jewels", not as good as "Writ In Blood" or "Better In The Dark", but better than most of the series.
4.0 out of 5 stars Saint-Germain is our vampire-embedded-in-History,
By A Customer
This review is from: Night Blooming (Mass Market Paperback)I've read every one of CQY's vampire novels. Yes, they are slightly formulaic, yes they are historical--but what do you think the life of a putative vampire who is thousands of years old would be? Most tellingly, Saint-Germain, despite his several long-lived friends, suffers boredom and loneliness, and struggles against cynicism. The beauty of these novels is their portrayal of history without the rose-colored glasses present in most history books. Partially epistolary in form, these novels allow us to see history not through the rose-colored glasses of distance, but through the eyes of those living it as their present, and then supplies "commentary" in the form of Saint-Germain, whose 4,000 years of life have allowed him the time to develop modern sensibilities, as we see them. If you're looking for a horror story, you'll be disappointed; Saint-Germain is much more. If you expect institutions such as the Church and various historical figures to come out smelling like roses because the simplistic history you learned at school or even in your church suggests that it is so, you'll be disappointed as well. The reality and politics of the dark ages, say, or religion is often much nastier than we want to suppose, though it takes looking at primary sources--rather than TV and movies--to understand this. I am grateful that CQY does do this research, and then writes these novels, so the rest of us can see history--and humanity--with new eyes. A little fresh blood never hurt anybody, so to speak.
1.0 out of 5 stars Same Old, Same Old,
By A Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Horror-romance made routine,
By A Customer
Historic setting? Check; the kingdom of Charlemagne (or Karl-lo-Magne) around AD 800. ... male-dominated society and religion full of ignorance, superstition, and pervasive abuse of women? Check. Sensitive, intelligent damsel more than usually distressed by this nasty culture? Check. Reason she's singled out for extra distress? This heroine's both an albino and a stigmatic -- someone who bears spontaneous wounds resembling Christ's in the palms of both hands.
Two main variations in the formula this time around. The romance is so low-key as to be almost non-existent. The 'evil superstitious patriarchal society' plot takes up a correspondingly larger amount of room. In this one, the vampire or the damsel can barely say "please pass the salt" without the remark being construed as treason, heresy, or witchcraft by the uniformly nasty cast surrounding them. Some local peasants whose story parallels the damsel's have no better luck, in spite of being mostly male. As is so often the case in this series, their eventual destruction is the result of an ill-considered charitable act by St. Germain earlier in the book.
Yarbro does do her homework on historical matters. As always, she does an admirable job of evoking of a society unfamiliar to her readers. She describes every single one of them as superstitious, petty, and cruel to women, but at least she doesn't skimp on the details. The other bright spot is the brief return of Olivia, a Roman matron who is one of the hero's former lovers now turned vampire.
If you like the series, you should have no serious gripes with this entry. If not, I wouldn't recommend this book as a starting point.
4.0 out of 5 stars So that's what happens,
Seriously, I'm under the spell again of Ms. Yarbro's words and character. The only problem I have is that just about everyone in the religious life is in it for greed or power, and more time is spent on one-upmanship by formality or insinuation than true piety. No one becomes a bishop or a simple nun for love of goodness. The only goodness usually found in the novels are that of the Saint himself who always gets victimized himself for showing humanity. Thanking a slave for service was the height of suspicious behavior. Could everyone have been that bad?
3.0 out of 5 stars CQY has written herself into a rut, with compensations,
As always, the historical details are of interest and presumably impeccably researched. Some of the changes Yarbro keeps ringing, however, are just getting to be tiresome. How long can we keep hearing Roger and Germain referring to each other as "old friend", without really seeing any evidence that they are really "friends". Yes, Roger is always concerned for Germain's needs, but neither character ever really discusses their concerns with the other. One reveiwer remarked that centuries of butlerhood must be getting old for Roger, and I would have to agree. It also becomes increasingly difficult to see why Germain wants to continue his extended existence. In the earlier books, he was much livelier, but in the last several, it's been just one depressing century after another.
Finally, a word or two specifically about this book. What is with the stigmata? They seem to be there as just a plot device. For all his concern over his albino, stigmatic love, Germain never really concerns himself with WHY her hands are always bleeding. Is she really a Saint? Does this mean that there is a God, and he is into manifestations of sainthood? Is she nuts? A self-mutilator? We are led to believe that she is a true innocent, whose palms have been bleeding off and on (but mostly on) since childhood, but no rationale is so much as suggested. And, finally, how about some guidance in pronouncing her name (Gynethe Mehaut)?
OK, OK, so I still would recommend reading this book, especially if you've read all the rest, but please---CQY, try to recall the vivid, heroic, undead gentleman from the first few books, and let the old boy have some fun!
5.0 out of 5 stars St. Germain - an acquired - ahem - taste ...,
Most professional editors will tell you that if you want to sell a book to an editor, you can't mix your genres. And if the publisher has any hope of selling to a wide audience, you really really must never ever mix genres.
Well, The Chronicles of Saint-Germain are Vampire-Romance-Historical-Feminist psycho-drama, as Those of My Blood and Sime Gen are also mixed genre.
Yarbro has blended the twenty-first century's terse style with that antique style of words for their own sake, images described for 10 pages in paragraphs two pages long, words and words and words that just ripple across the senses for the sake of evocation of strange places in the minds of those who have never been 20 miles from their birthplace and never met anyone they haven't known all their lives. Yarbro evokes that wordy style without a spare word anywhere.
Relying on the reader's modern experience, Yarbro transports us to "there and then" by capturing the attitudes and ideas, the viewpoints of those who lived in such a world.
These novels have no action. Even when the characters are running for their lives, there's nothing resembling the kind of "action" you see on tv or in films.
But you know what? That's exactly why I love them! How refreshing! A real, complex, deep, rich story told without depending on fight scenes the way "Walker, Texas Ranger" does. Yarbro uses plenty of danger, threats that materialize, angst,and conflict to give us insights into how our culture has become what it is today.
I've done a long review of Night Blooming in my review column focusing on how perfectly the story of Gynethe Mehaut, a woman who is a totally passive victim of her life, time and circumstances reveals the full complexity of the definition of Enemy. She's an albino raised by Nuns, and has accepted a life of nothing but penitential prayer. Then the Church investigates why her hands bleed with stigmata reminiscent of Christ's wounds. She is sent from convent to convent and eventually to Charlemagne's court.
She has solid emotional defenses against the life she's caught in -- until Saint Germain introduces her to the delights of the body. At one point, he uses a length of silk to pleasure her -- and offers her entre into his "life." Shortly after that, she's tortured. It seemed to me that because he broke down her inner defenses, the torture was hundreds of times worse for her than it would have been.
For the torture scenes alone, Night Blooming is a stunning achievement of the writer's craft. But aside from that, the book reveals the full meaning of the casual references sprinkled in some of the other St. Germain novels about the time Saint Germain was at Charlemagne's court.
If this is your first Saint Germain novel, I don't think you'll be able to rest without reading the others. Like watching just one episode of Forever Knight - it leaves you tantalized by so many questions.
Live Long and Prosper,
3.0 out of 5 stars Dash it all. Here we are again.,
By A Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Night Blooming,
I was struck by the sad tone of the novel. Saint-Germain often laments on how lonely his life is and this novel definely drives that point home. Gynethe Mehaut truely is a lost soul that Saint-Germain fights Heaven and Earth for. A very disturbing and gripping ending to this well written and researched novel.
A definate "must read" novel.
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Night Blooming by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (Mass Market Paperback - Sep 1 2003)
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