A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mysterious manuscript he’s hunted for over five hundred years. He never expected a young student librarian could be the key to unlock its secrets, nor could he have predicted the danger she would attract.
Now he and Beatrice De Novo follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, though the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation hundreds of years in the making.
I recently just went through this entire series because they’re quick reads and also lots of fun. The Elemental Mysteries series is paranormal romance / urban fantasy (it really does straddle the line) that follows the life of Beatrice De Novo after she crosses paths with a five hundred year old vampire.
I really enjoyed this series. They’re fun books with plenty of emotional content–just the kind of reading that I like. Beatrice is smart and resourceful and is fairly good at putting things together from the start but throughout the series both of these traits are developed further along with others such as defense and martial arts training, etc. She also goes through a lot of emotional character growth as well, which I appreciated. Not on that but we really see the growth over a good chunk of time as these books span about a decade or so of her life. The other main character in this is Giovanni, a vampire of some strength and fame in the world of vampires. We don’t really get to deep dive into Giovanni’s past the way that we do with Beatrice until much further in the series. Beatrice is much more of an open book in that way while Giovanni prefers his secrets for various reasons but mostly to protect himself and those around him–the less they know the better.
Unlike a lot of paranormal romance series this focuses on the same characters all the way through. Anyone familiar with romances knows how they switch up the couple every book and while that’s fine, I really did appreciate this being one long story between Beatrice and Giovanni and the length of time the story spans as well. Often with vampires and other immortals there’s can be an ick factor because usually the immortal is waaaay older than whatever human love interest there is and this story addresses that to some extent, which I appreciated as well. I mean, they’re never going to close that age gap but at least she’s given the chance to live some of her adult life for a while before things progress between them. I loved this. But I also felt like it could have been done in a better way because it wasn’t really Beatrice’s choice and I get tired of characters who are presumptuous and make major life decisions for others. Overbearing vamps gonna overbear I guess.
Besides the two main protagonists there’s a host of other characters you come to know and love throughout the story. Many of Giovanni’s vampire friends are awesome and they have a great found family feel to the core group. Some of the lesser acquaintances can be fun as well! Then you have the villains of the story. I really hated them because they were super evil. Even though, in the last book, the author tries to show the history of the one villain and give a reason for why they are the way they are I’m glad it wasn’t really about their redemption so much as Giovanni’s. Gio wasn’t a saint in the past! I think it was interesting to see the very different paths their two lives took.
Other than the romance and relationship stuff there’s a lot going on in this series. There’s an age old mystery to be solved that ties in with both character’s pasts. There’s a lot of library and book time so if you like books about books this might be a good series to check out. The world building was kind of cool–I’m always up for a new take on vampires and while this one didn’t change anything major around I did love the idea of vampires being tied to an element and being able to utilize its powers. I also like that sometimes vampires will train up a human before turning them into a vampire. I thought the relationship between vampire sire and vampire child was interesting here too.
As for complaints, they’re all relatively minor. I feel like there were a few inconsistencies here and there throughout the books where something was said to be true or a face or the rule and then later that was bent. Or something was made to be a big deal and later a similar thing happens and it’s suddenly not. This did break my immersion just a tad but it wasn’t anything major that took away from the overall story much. There’s also an attempt at a late stage love triangle and I really don’t know what all that was about because it went literally no where. What was the point of that? Not sure. I also think, like I said above, that Giovanni could really be overbearing at times. Not in a pushy way or in your face all the time, but just that he’s really used to doing things his way and tends to take the decision making process away from others and that’s not cool. But that didn’t happen all the time, thankfully, or I would have been VERY annoyed. 🙂
Overall, these books were fun and I’m glad I read them. If you like vampire stories with some romance, action, and mystery consider checking these out. 4/5 stars.