I have been following Emily Guido’s blog for some time and I’ve enjoyed the snippets she’s shared from her novels as well as her thoughts about her personal life journey and the writing process. So, I decided it was about time I read the first novel in her Light-Bearer series, Charmeine.
Charmeine opens in heaven, where we learn about two angels who are deeply in love. One is Tabbruis, Angel of Self-Determination. The other is Charmeine, Angel of Harmony. In chapter two, something has happened. Tabbruis and Charmeine have been separated by time and space. Tabbruis wakes up in the land of Canaan and befriends a shepherd boy named Joseph, wearing a colorful coat. When marauders break into the camp, Tabbruis tries to stop them. In the process, he discovers that he’s a fanged creature with a craving for blood. The centuries pass and Tabbruis doesn’t age. Eventually he meets another immortal named Dmitri, who tells him he’s a Blood-Hunter and the mortal enemy of the Blood-Hunters are the Light-Bearers, who can shoot lightning from their hands. After witnessing the ritual execution of a Light-Bearer, Tabbruis finds he has little taste for his own kind or the indiscriminate killing of the Light-Bearers. He becomes a loner.
The story progresses rapidly to the modern day, where Tabbruis feels drawn to New York City. On Long Island, a substitute teacher named Charleen is getting ready to attend a Billy Joel concert. Circumstances bring Tabbruis and Charleen together at the concert. There, Charleen is attacked by a Blood-Hunter who plans to take her to Athens for execution. It turns out Charleen is a Light-Bearer, who didn’t know about her powers until the attack. Tabbruis stops the attack and finds himself strangely attracted to Charleen. He takes her in to keep her safe from the Blood-Hunters, but he soon learns they have an even stronger connection.
On its surface, Charmeine is a sweet romance story and I felt Emily did a fine job with those aspects of the tale. If you like sweet romance, this will certainly fit the bill. Much as I’m happy to read the occasional well done romance novel, what really captured my attention here were the action elements, plus the sprinkling of Biblical history and angel lore. Those elements helped to take this well beyond the usual contemporary romance and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Although Emily never calls the “Blood-Hunters” vampires, that’s clearly what they are and many of them are deliciously chilling, while others such as Tabbruis and Dmitri have clearly eschewed the more violent aspects of Blood-Hunter life. The Light-Bearers add an interesting element to this vampire lore. Unlike other vampire hunter stories, we don’t really have a lone, mortal crusader, but a whole race well equipped to keep the vampires at bay. It’ll be interesting to see where Emily goes with the series.