We met Lazaro Archer a few books back when he lost his whole family (minus Kellan) to Dragos when he was trying to eliminate all Gen One vampires. Ever since then he has become an ambassador and warrior in the Order, helping out in everything he can and basically losing himself to work trying not to think about his past and mostly the people in his past he was unable to save. Yet he DID save someone in the past, not his family but a kid who came to visit him with her family 20 years ago, the stubborn wild Melena.
Melena Walsh was 7 years old when she almost drowned at the frozen lake because of a stupid dare-game. After being saved by Lazaro he became her hero but she never did see him again until now as her father's assistant in an ambassadorial job. Seeing him after all these years and finding she is attracted to him surprised her but also annoyed her since he seems immune to her charms.
After dealing with quite an ordeal together she realizes he only SEEMS cold and detached he is just trying unsuccessfully to keep away from her for reasons that strikes her as un-heroic (meaning not what she would have expected from someone who saved her life more than once..). Lazaro does a few mistakes concerning Melena but in the end he naturally realizes that being away from her is NOT something he could live with. Question is - is it too late?
I LOVED this short novella. I'm happy for both Lazaro and Melena who deserve better than what life dished them. I enjoyed learning more about them, who they are, a little about their past and naturally about their characters / personality- I felt they are a great match. I can really see them as a couple working for the Order together. I also really enjoyed getting to know a few more characters from the embassy in Rome where Lazaro lives and as it seems one of them will be getting a short novella a year from now (also as a part of the 1001 Dark Nights).
Can't wait for the next installment in the series!! :)
Gen One Breed. Appears to be around thirty years old, but is close to one-thousand years old. Lazaro has many regrets, including that he did not join Lucan and the Order during the war with the Ancients in the mid-1300s, and that he again refused Lucan’s call to act when it became evident in present day that Dragos was intent on eliminating the Gen One population. Lazaro and his kin have lived in the New England area for a century or so. Lazaro blames himself for the violence visited on his family by Dragos: the abduction of his nephew, Kellan; the slaying of Lazaro’s son, Christophe; and the destruction of the Archer Darkhaven by Dragos, which killed Lazaro’s long-time Breedmate, Eleanor, and the rest of their kin living in the Boston residence. Lazaro begins working closely with the Order afterward, offering up one of his unused Darkhaven retreats in Maine as temporary headquarters after the Boston compound is compromised to Dragos and the humans. Lazaro also shares with Lucan some history about the Ancients, that Lazaro’s sire attended secret gatherings with the other Ancients and taught Lazaro some of their language.
At the present he lives in Rome and works for the Order as a sort of ambassador but also as a warrior trying to find and eliminate - Opus Nostrum. In his short novella he not only finds his mate but he also has a near death experience concerning Opus Nostrum but since this is an outside novella there is no new evidence that can lead to further their cause.
Lazaro met Melena when she was a mere child and saved her life using his unique power only to use it again when they re-met when she is a grown woman. Melena is the first woman to interest him for over 20 years since his family's demise.
Melena first appear in her short novella but it's not the first time Lazaro sees her. Their first encounter was when she was merely a 7 years old trying to impress the boys around her going for a dare walk on thin ice. When she almost drowns Lazaro is the one to save her and he has been her hero ever since. Now, at 28 years old, they meet again when she accompanies her father to a secret meeting concerning the outing of the vampires to the human world. While she still finds Lazaro a hero material when they re-meet she has her misgivings about it when she realizes just how crushed he is about his past and what he is willing to do or rather what he ISN'T willing to do because of it.
The Order mainly protect the general population (vampire AND humans) from rouge vampires. Vampires whose crave for blood have reached a point of no return meaning they can no longer control themselves and since there is nothing to be done about this situation these rouges vampires have to be put down. Besides obvious risk to the human population, rouges / rabid vampires also are a treat in the sense that vampires live in secret groups (called Darkhavens) there they can live their separate lives without probing human eyes. Naturally they are a part of the general population but the way they live, in a sort of community, helps them maintain their traditions and way of living.
In the recent years, the Order became infamous. There is no respect for the members of the Order and moreover they are treated like "barbarians", the vampire population doesn't believe that they are even needed but boy oh boy they are wrong.. dark days are ahead..
In the beginning, years and years ago, a group of highly strong vampires crushed on Earth. They are the base of the vampire population nowadays. As is seems there are no female vampires, only males. The females that can reproduce with vampires are called "breedmates" and they can be distinguished by a certain mark (crescent moon with a drop) that each breedmate has somewhere on her body. Each breedmate also has a special (inhuman) ability which she transfers to her vampire son. Thus every vampire has a special ability passed to him from his human mother. Breedmates need to drink blood in order to enhance their special ability and sometimes so they can control it and it won't take over her life. It takes time until the ancestry of the breedmates is explained, it adds another layer to the story and brings the Order with another adversary they weren't expecting.
Each book has it's separate story in which each warrior finds himself a breedmate / compatible mate. As you can guess, the Order isn't notorious for no reason.. most of the warriors are somehow "damaged", preferring to live a life in the Order rather than build a life of their own. Finding their mate makes them deal with their past and free themselves from its bindings. Beside the personal plot line there is also a bigger plot line about the main villain progressing from the first book until the 10th. From the 11th book (till the final 18th installment) there is a very significant change following a progression in 20 years changing the whole setting of the series with different villains as well as introducing new characters to the series - some the sons and daughters from the first 10 installments and of course we get to meet the older version of the parents as well.
The main issue I had with the series in the beginning was the similarities between it and the general setting of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. It only feels this way at the first, it takes a TOTALLY different direction plot-wise and character-wise which after reading enough of the two series I gotta say I MUCH prefer this one (I actually abandoned that one a while back..).
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!
When the whiffs of the end of this beloved series started to get suffocating Lara announced a Spin-Off called "Hunter Legacy". The series will consist of stand-alone novels of the "Last Boys" - the Gen One Hunters who were bred as weapons of war by Dragos and were freed by The Order round the middle of the series.
0.5 A Touch of Midnight [Gideon & Savannah] (published 15 July 2013) ★★★★★
1. Kiss of Midnight [Lucan & Gabrielle] (published 1 May 2007) ★★★★
2. Kiss of Crimson [Dante & Tess] (published 29 May 2007) ★★★★★
3. Midnight Awakening [Tegan & Elise] (published 27 November 2007) ★★★★★
4. Midnight Rising [Rio & Dylan] (published 25 March 2008) ★★★★★
5. Veil of Midnight [Niko & Renata] (published 30 December 2008) ★★★★
7. Shades of Midnight [Cade & Alex] (published 29 December 2009) ★★★★
8. Taken By Midnight [Brock & Jenna] (published 28 September 2010) ★★★★★
9. Deeper than Midnight [Hunter & Corrine] (published 28 June 2011) ★★★★★
9.5 A Taste of Midnight [Danika & Malcolm] (published 5 December 2011) ★★★★★
10. Darker after Midnight [Chase & Tavia] (published 24 January 2012) ★★★½
--- The Midnight Breed Series Companion (Volume #1) (published 26 June 2013) ★★★★★
11.5. Marked By Midnight [Mathias Rowan & Nova] (published 30 June 2014) ★★★★
12. Crave the Night [Nathan & Jordana] (published 5 August 2014) ★★★★★
12.5. Tempted by Midnight [Lazaro & Melena] (1001 Dark Nights #10) (published 14 October 2014) ★★★★★
13. Bound to Darkness [Carys & Rune] (published 30 July 2015) ★★★★
13.5 Stroke of Midnight [Jehan & Seraphina] (1001 Dark Nights #26) (published 13 October 2015) ★★★★★
14. Defy the Dawn [Zael & Brynne] (published 1 June 2016) ★★★★★
14.5 Midnight Untamed [Ettore & Bella] (1001 Dark Nights #47) (published 11 October 2016) ★★★★
14.6 Midnight Unbound [Scythe & Chiara] (published 14 March 2017) ★★★★½
14.7 Midnight Unleashed [Trygg & Tamisia] (1001 Dark Nights #69) (published 10 October 2017) ★★★½
15. Claimed in Shadows [Aric Chase & Kaya Laurent] (published 23 January 2018) ★★★
16. Break the Day [Xander Raphael "Rafe" Malebranche & Devony Winters] (published 30 July 2019) ★★★★½
17. Fall of Night [Micah & Phaedra] (published 31 January 2021)) ★★★★½
18. King of Midnight [Darion Thorne & Selene the Atlantean Queen] (to be Published 30 September 2021)