Stare at the cover… just stare at the cover…
Once Burned is a paranormal romance action novel about an acrobat who had a superpower of psychometry and electrokinesis after she got struck by a lightning which she accidentally killed her mother. Her powers prevent her from touching anyone without electrocuting them or seeing their darkest past or the future but the powers had brought the attention of vampires who kidnapped her and wanted to use her powers against their enemy – namely Vlad Tepesh a.k.a. the actual Count Dracul. Unfortunately for them, Leila uses her psychometry to connect with Vlad and thus saving her from his enemies.
The book is written in first person point of view which is a rarity since a lot of paranormal romance genre are written in third POV. It was a convenience in some dialogues especially when the main character was narrating in her mind, Vlad kept replying to her without her saying anything. But I kept finding the book going on the conventional paranormal romance pathway more than urban fantasy. So, if you are a reader of urban fantasy (ones with plenty of action, violence, less romance and fluff), you might want to skip this book. Although there was action and drama, the romance element was more abundant especially with Vlad and Leila’s cat and mouse relationship.
I would have rated it better had the book more funnier and had both the character not been mind readers. I like Dracula novels since I’m way more Team Dracula than Team Van Helsing (Helsing is a misogynistic self-righteous crazy old man in the Stoker novels). After I’ve survived Christine Feehan’s years of endless mind reading alpha vampires and the Edward Cullen-ess of it, I’m pretty sick of the whole vampire mind f*beep*ing all over the genre, personally, its over used. Some parts reminded me of flying Erik Northman from True Blood, Meg Cabot’s Lightning Girl series and Kristin Bell’s character in Heroes and Prince Zuko from Avatar.
I do think the story is linear and does flow right but I had some misgivings since the book is a series. Personally, the book might have been better had the author written it in stand alone serials than one couple serials. So now, I am more skeptic at the continuation of the book since there was not much about the other characters themselves. This is why I dislike first person POVs, the characterization is truly limited to the narrator, unless the author decided to switch narration. Frankly, I think I like it even more had half of the book written in Vlad’s POV.
Honestly, I would recommend readers to wait for next year to read the first book since the next book will be out on March 2013. I felt immense dissatisfaction after reading this book, probably because I want more Vlad. Plain and simple.