The Renfield Syndrome

J.A. Saare
The Renfield Syndrome
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Mundania Press
Release Date
August 2011
Book 2 of Rhiannon's Law
Paranormal Romance, Time Travel, Urban Fantasy, Vamps & Shifters Romance

Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.

Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she's about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things, including those most trusted around her. When she's faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she'll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it's all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.

Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Dec 12, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
228 people found the following review helpful
I loved the first installment of Rhianon's Law, Dead, Undead and Somewhere In Between, and Rhiannon herself has to be one of my favorite heroines out there today. So it was an agonizing few years while I waited for this book to make its appearance, but let me tell you here and now, I was absolutely blown away, and THE RENFIELD SYNDROME was worth every second of the wait.

When we last left Rhiannon Murphy, she had been sent nearly a century into the future, charged with paying off the debt her vampire lover, Disco, owes to a ruthless demon. But now, Rhiannon finds herself with far more immediate problems that require her attention—in this world, humans are an endangered species, hunted by vampires and suffering the irreversible effects of the Renfield vaccine, once thought to be their last hope against the vampires' attack.

Rhiannon finds herself the unwilling guest—prisoner, patient—of a group who has declared themselves the last bastions against the creatures of the night, whose leader, Carter, is convinced that Rhiannon is a blood's slave, addicted to a vampire's bite. But as he tries to ‘cure' her, Carter slowly begins to realize that Rhiannon is unlike any woman his world has ever known. And he certainly has a few secrets of his own that force Rhiannon to question just how human her protectors really are. But in the end, it doesn't matter. Because when the demon banished Rhiannon to the future, he banished her from the one person who ever made her scarred heart feel, who taught her to love and promised never to leave her. And unless she can get home to warn him, Rhiannon is doomed to be alone for an eternity.

Desperate to get back to her own time and rescue Disco, Rhiannon will stop at nothing, even the most dangerous of alliances, in order to return home. And when one of Disco's closest friends tracks her down and offers his help, Rhiannon has no way of knowing that changing history can have consequences far beyond those she ever could have imagined—or that returning to save Disco might be the most painful thing she will ever endure…

Rhiannon is still one of my favorite heroines in any genre. She hides an aching vulnerability behind a very well-constructed shell, and despite her ‘diarrhea mouth' and rebellious attitude, she has one of the biggest hearts and most courageous spirits you could hope to find. And this book was a pivotal one in terms of her development, as it was to many of those who her decisions affect. This series features characters so well-drawn and vibrant that the reader is drawn into their skin and see the world through their eyes--and in this book, that effect was a powerful one.

I wasn't sure at first how I felt about Rhiannon's time-travelling adventure. This was definitely a risky choice, but this is a book full of risky and downright startling choices, and all of them work beautifully. The world of New York in 2112 is described in all its bleak, decaying glory, and the ghosts that inhabit its streets (ghosts that Rhiannon can still see and feel) now whisper the terrible story of the Renfield Syndrome and its catastrophic effects.

I found Carter a very interesting character, though he could never hold a candle to Disco in my eyes. However, he was an interesting match for Rhiannon and certainly challenged her, which made for some very interesting tension. While I missed the cast of characters from the last book for most of this one, it was nice to see the full depth of Rhiannon's character as she took on this new world and faced all its heartbreaks and tough decisions. And when she tried to find closure after all the sorrow and pain she had endured, I was suffering and celebrating right along with her.

But for all the shocks and surprises and page-tearing suspense in Rhiannon's future, the last quarter of the book that deals with her return home left me speechless. One of the first things that we learned about Rhiannon from her first book was that her life is not one with easy answers and happy endings served on a platter. Yet in spite of this knowledge, I was stunned by the turn of events and still in absolute awe of J.A. Saare's storytelling gift. These are no gratuitous twists to force the readers into the plot of the next book in the series—these events are ruthlessly honest and hauntingly true to each character and though it was not an easy ending to swallow, I couldn't imagine it being any other way.

This is an extraordinary addition to a completely addictive series. I don't think new readers will want to start here, as the events of this book might not have the same emotional punch, but this is absolutely a series worth savoring. And with the tantalizing promise of the first chapter of the next Rhiannon's Law book, The Ripple Effect included in this book, I have a feeling it's only going to get better from here.
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