Camdeboo Nights by Nerine Dorman
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, YA
Length: Full Length (261 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+ (Violence, Language)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia
Helen Ashfield’s world is about to be turned upside down. Is she ready?
Helen Ashfield’s life is complicated. Not only must she adjust to her parents’ divorce, but she has to come to grips with her new school in the small South African Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet. She’s sorely mistaken if she thinks she’s going to slot seelessly into her new life. Her growing magical powers have attracted the unwanted attention of Trystan, a vampire, who may not have her best interests at heart.
Outcast from his kind for drinking another vampire’s blood, Trystan has been on the run for almost a hundred years from Mantis–the closest thing their kind has to an enforcer. All Trystan wants is an existence of quiet anonymity, but Helen turns his world upside-down.
Helen’s powers also mark her as one of Mantis’ targets. If Mantis gets control of Helen, she’ll change the course of history…for the worse.
Will Helen’s life be worth saving if Mantis captures her?
Helen’s world is quickly crumbling around her. As she desperately tries to keep her family together, she’s thrust into a world filled with magic, vampires, and other beings. Several different people, including the ruthless vampire Mantis, want to control Helen and her blossoming powers, but no one seem to care what Helen wants. Nothing is what it seems and Helen has some tough decisions in her future. Will she be strong enough to make the right choice when the time comes?
Helen had my sympathy from page one. With her home life in shambles, the very last thing she needed was her magical powers to come to life, especially since she didn’t even know that she had any. Still I think she handles the hard hitting revelations concerning the true nature of the world around her with grace. She is an exceptionally strong young woman and it is very easy to admire her. She is very loyal to her friends and family and doesn’t hesitate to stand up and protect others who need help.
Trystan makes an interesting “hero.” He’s definitely not an average vampire. He’s kept himself hidden away for so long, I’m surprised he knew how to interact with another human being at all. The most meaningful relationship in his life seems to be with his car. When he first met Helen, it was hard to tell exactly what Trystan wanted with her. However, as the story progressed, it became clear that he was developing genuine feelings for her and goes to great lengths to protect her from other vampires who seek to use and control her. Trystan and Helen are a very unlikely couple, but I’m hoping they find their way to a happy ending in the future.
The pacing of Camdeboo Nights is a little slow at first. However, my patience definitely paid off. The last half of the book is very exciting and had me on the edge of my seat. A lot happens in a very short amount of time. In fact, the change in pace is so abrupt that the ending felt rushed to me. New characters were introduced and Ms. Dorman hints about big changes that will greatly affect Helen and her friends. When I finished reading, I was left wanting more of an explanation on a lot of things that happened. I can only hope that Ms. Dorman has a sequel in the works that will satisfy my curiosity.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Camdeboo Nights. It is an exciting young adult novel that slowly builds to an ending that can only be described as explosive.