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Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze

rabbitReviewed by Stephanie Nordkap

What do you do when something that you have written and laboured over attracts the wrong kind of attention?

Best-selling author Beth Rider is shocked one day when at one of her book signings she is approached by an evil-looking, giant of a man who gives her a warning to watch her back. And the strange thing about the entire episode is that no one else seems to have witnessed it. Beth tries to shake to it off; after all, her books about vampires are selling quickly, and everyone seems to be reading them.

Back at her hotel room, trying to relax and calm down, Beth is suddenly attacked. The man is Jack Dawn, an Elder of the Rakum, one who believes that Beth’s books, which have also been read by the Rakum, are dangerous to his people and their system of beliefs that have held for thousands of years. He draws her blood and forces her swallow his blood, marking her as a Rabbit, one his entire race can sense for miles around. She is now unable to die and can face torture from his people until they either grow tired of her or she chooses to commit suicide, if she can.

Shaken and disturbed and with no idea of the extreme circumstances she now faces, she returns home, only to be scented and marked as soon as she lands in her hometown airport. Michael Stone senses the Rabbit. He knows that Rabbits are usually traitors to the Rakum, but he is confused and shocked when he sees Beth, and senses that something is wrong. Furthermore, he feels a connection to Beth that he has never experienced with a human; a feeling to protect that is so powerful he follows her home. Michael decides to put his own life on the line and protect Beth from the Rakum he knows will surround and chase her forever, unless together they can come up with a solution that will either lead to many deaths or lead to their redemption.

I really had no idea what this book was about when I first started to read Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider. Once I realized it was about vampires, it did run through my mind that this was probably another vampire book glorifying the supernatural. I couldn’t have been more surprised, and pleasantly surprised, by the twists and turns that this supernatural tale takes.

I absolutely love it when an author can take a myth or legend from the past, in this case many were from the Bible, and weave them neatly and efficiently into a brilliant and original tale. Ms. Maze created a new and different type of vampire race in her novel whereby humans are not turned into vampires, but born into vampires. Only the Fathers can procreate using a human mother and the children are raised and trained to be ‘proper’ vampires, their talents explored and developed. They drink blood to look like humans, to interact with humans, and control many of businesses in the human world. Ms Maze pulls this off with such skill and precision, it is amazing this is her debut novel.

The emotional connections between the characters were deep and profound. Beth is a very likeable character and Stone, though it took him more time to come under the ‘spell’ of Beth’s books, was the perfect hero. The character development was remarkable and I came to care for many of the characters as they looked upon their lives and wondered if they could each be ‘redeemed’. Ms. Maze wrote with such sensitivity and compassion that I understood how many of them felt and was sympathetic to many of their plights. In one scene, when Beth shows Michael how disturbing Jeremy’s paintings are and how they reflect his perceptions of Michael and the Rakum, the horror of that realization and the dawning understanding of the attachment of humans to Rakum is just as strong for me as it was for Michael. I was horrified, disturbed, and pitied Jeremy very much. It was a very disturbing scene.