The Dangerous Ones | Lauren Blackwood


Out Now from Wednesday Books; 283 pages

Content Warning: Gore, murder, loss, physical abuse, racism, hate crimes, references to sexual abuse, sexual content

About the Author: “Lauren Blackwood is a Jamaican American living in Virginia who writes Romance-heavy Fantasy for most ages. When not writing, she’s a musician and a tiramisu connoisseur. Her debut YA Fantasy Within These Wicked Walls is a New York Times Bestseller and the Reese’s Book club Fall 2021 YA Pick” (Bio from author’s website).

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“His anger at my accusation—like owning people was the worst thing he could think of, ‘cause it was—was about the most decent thing I’d ever heard of out of a white boy. But then, vampires were experts at fooling human prey. Besides, he didn’t get no blue ribbons for basic human decency.”

Set during the Civil War, The Dangerous Ones is a vampire romance between a young woman named Jerusalem, who recently escaped enslavement, and Alexei, a Union soldier from Russia. Alexei may be Jerusalem’s friend, but he is both white and a vampire—the two worst things a person could possibly be in Jerusalem’s eyes. Vampires and white people are the ones holding slaves in the South. To Jerusalem, nothing is more important than vengeance. She intends to kill the vampire Adelaide, the mistress Jerusalem and her family were enslaved to before Jerusalem’s family was brutally murdered. As a Saint, Jerusalem has some superhuman abilities herself. Nonetheless, she still needs all the help she can get to kill someone as powerful as Adelaide, which means getting closer to Alexei than she ever planned. But she couldn’t possibly love him… right?

As excited as I was by the idea of a new vampire romance novel, the midst of the Civil War does not feel like the right setting. The Civil War was a dark and frightening time, as is made evident by the flashbacks to Jerusalem’s time enslaved. In her freedom, she is still furious with the world. Between the intensity of the time period, her feelings, and her goals, throwing in vampires almost felt light-hearted and false. Rather than the Civil War being the background of a vampire romance, having vampires in the Civil War felt like a distraction from the prevalent horrors of a real war. In order to enjoy the intended love story, I had to create my own fantasy setting for it in my mind. There were also things I wanted to know more about that we never really got into. For one, since being a Saint is so important to Jerusalem, I would have liked to know more about the lore behind Saints. As for Alexei, we learn about his origins as a vampire, but he is centuries old. What else has he been doing? There is brief mention of him in a coven, but we don’t get to see what that means for him. Alexei himself is similar to Twilight‘s Edward Cullen based on his instant obsession with the most delicious-smelling human he has ever encountered. Conversely, Jerusalem is nothing like Bella Swan; she has a fiery personality, which Alexei adores. However, there were a lot of times where Jerusalem changed her mind about her own feelings uncomfortably fast. I hope that the realizations Jerusalem makes at the end are ones she would adopt permanently because I loved how Jerusalem manages to grow past her trauma. Especially with her history, Jerusalem’s change in perspective on other people was commendable and inspiring.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and Wednesday Books for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.

Abby Ballas, Pine Reads Review Writer & Editor