Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Posted 25 July, 2012 by Heather in Heather, Heather Book Review / 20 Comments

Once Burned (Night Prince, Book 1)

(Goodreads, Amazon)

by Jeaniene Frost

(Goodreads, Amazon, Website)

Published June 2012  by Avon

She’s a mortal with dark powers…

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire…

He’s the Prince of Night…

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames

My Thoughts:

I’ve been a big fan of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series since the first book came out in 2007, and I was so excited when I heard the announcement that my favorite secondary character was getting his own series. This book is definitely more urban fantasy than paranormal romance, continuing the trend that the Night Huntress series has taken over the last few books. And I think that if you go into this one expecting things to be lighter on the romance and heavier on the fighting and plotting, the book is that much more enjoyable from the start.

Leila is a traveling carnival  performer who was scarred after she touched a live power line in her yard after a storm when she was younger. She subsequently developed the ability to harness electrical energy but can’t touch anyone without electrocuting them and getting glimpses of their past, present, and future with a touch of her right hand. She can also pull impressions from objects. After running into someone and very publicly preventing a murder, she is kidnapped by vampires who want to use her unique abilities against their number one enemy–Vlad. Forced to make a connection to spy on this mysteriously powerful vampire, Leila is surprised when Vlad knows that she has infiltrated his mind and the connection goes both directions since he can read minds. She decides to ask for his help, and their partnership in finding who is trying to use Leila to get to Vlad is off and running.

While this book was highly enjoyable, I couldn’t help but yearn for the entire text from Vlad’s point of view instead of Leila’s. I wanted to get deep inside of his head–no matter how dark and sinister it is in there. The book was told from Leila’s first person point of view, and while Vlad can freely roam through her thoughts due to his vampire mind-reading abilities, she doesn’t have the same abilities unless she’s using her gift when in a trance. And this leaves her at a severe disadvantage when it comes to dealing with Vlad and their burgeoning relationship–both professional and personal.

Vlad as a character is the same brutally protective, loyal, fear-instilling, and violent master vampire from the Night Huntress series. But one thing that you don’t see much of that I really missed was the humor that he showed when he interacted with the main character in that series, Cat. Leila was a very inexperienced woman, both at relationships, many life experiences, and dealing with her extra abilities. But througout the book, she really grew into her own out of necessity and with Vlad and her friends’ help.

I give this one a four out of five. While I look forward to book two in this series with bated breath, I think this one was great but it could have been a better and I had high expectations for the first book featuring my favorite vampire from the Night Huntress series. The pacing was a bit slow in points, and telling the story from Leila’s point of view left the reader out of so much of Vlad’s story. And I really think that this should be just as much Vlad’s story as it is Leila’s. But this book had so much of classic Jeaniene Frost from the first books in the Night Huntress series that you come to expect: brilliant plotting, deft, physical fight scenes, the characters are put through the ringer both physically and emotionally, and the secondary characters are vibrantly fleshed out. Promising start to a new series!


I’m a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days–whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son’s Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun.

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20 Responses to “Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost”

    • I’ve loved all of Jeaniene Frost’s books in this series, even the stand alone Night Huntress World books, Alison. I haven’t read Ilona Andrews’ books, so I can’t comment on those. But I highly recommend these books.

      I earned my PhD at Northern Illinois University back in 2002, so I’m ancient, LOL. But I got my BS in Chemistry from U of I at Chicago, so your aunt and I are kind of school system buddies.
      Heather recently posted..Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene FrostMy Profile

    • I’ve loved all of the spin off stand alone books. The Mencheres and Spade books were told in third person POV so you got into their heads as well as the female main character. But Once Burned was told from Leila’s POV so you didn’t get inside of Vlad’s head, and I think that was why I was mildly disappointed with this one. But it was still a great read. Definitely worth reading these spin off books, Lori!
      Heather recently posted..Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene FrostMy Profile

    • The main female character has a hard time dealing with Vlad being in her head all of the time in this book. I know I’d have a hard time with it, but then again, I pretty much say what I’m thinking all of the time anyway! Pick this one up, Mary–it was a great read and I can’t wait to get the next one next spring.
      Heather recently posted..Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene FrostMy Profile

  1. I just started the Night Huntress series because I want to read this book. Jenny told me I’d be better off if I read the 6 books in NH before I read this one. I’m only on book 2 but I LOVE this series. I have yet to meet Vlad. But I understand I’m in for a treat in Chapter 32. A migraine is keeping me from reading it for the past four days. I find the print very small. I’m dying to read this one and you know why, the cover. Isn’t that terrible? But it’s made me find a PNR adult series that I really love, so it’s not all bad. And I would have thought, with him on the front that it would be from his point of view. Too bad. But at least it was still good. So I’m dying to get through this series so I can read this one!!! So shallow, I know.

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    • You don’t really need to read all of the other books to read this one. After being a little disappointed with this one, you might be better off reading this one first before you get to book three of the Cat and Bones books and you meet the Vlad that I know and love so dearly.

      And oh my God, chapter 32 is infamous—so good! I suffer from chronic migraines myself, but I’ve had relief from daily doses of topamax. Went from 3 or 4 migraines a week to 1 every couple of weeks or so. Such a relief! If you want to talk about treatments, and I’ve went through a ton, let me know and we can email.

      The cover on this book is super hot, and I think you should just skip to this one and read it first. I think you’ll enjoy it more if you don’t get to see his funnier side that he only shows with Cat.
      Heather recently posted..Review: Once Burned by Jeaniene FrostMy Profile

  2. I just started the first book a few days ago (ahem, I’m on the 5th one right now…hehehe) and I’m loving it. I can’t wait to get to this one!

    Vlad’s one of my favorite characters so far. Great you enjoyed it, but I wish it was from Vlad’s POV too!

  3. I LOVE this series! But even though I bought this as soon as it came out I still haven’t had a chance to read it. I love this series (all Night World/Huntress books) because they are more UF. Some are more romanc’y but all are really action’y too. Anyway, I wish it was in Vlad’s POV. I heard that before and was a bit disappointed. But hopefully I still love it!
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  4. This sounds so good! I’ve never heard a book by this author though I’ve heard she was amazing and the Night Huntress series has been on my ereader for over a year. Vlad stories have always fascinated me though I love his character and he’s a royally effed up vampire lol. Too bad we’re not given a more in depth pov on him, though. I really have to try out one of her books!!

    • You’ve had one of these books on your ereader and haven’t gotten to it yet? How? Remedy that very soon!! You won’t be disappointed, just make sure you start with book one of the Night Huntress series if you’re going to read those. They can’t be read out of order.
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