Dacia and Lou, cousins from New York with family in Romania, have left behind their socialite status to visit their Romanian family under some spooky pretenses. Right off the bat, it's hinted that something is going on and they are purposely being kept in the dark on the matter. But along they go, traveling to Romania and encountering odd things along the way. They write to one another and there's a wonderful sisterly bond, something appealing to me because while I do not have a sister, I've felt I have a sisterly bond with some of my cousins.
The letters are somewhat off putting though, at times it seems the letters are a preview of an upcoming chapter while other times it seems they're misplaced in the timing of the book. Really, the book wouldn't lose anything if the letters were taken out entirely.
Upon arriving in Romania, things continue to get strange. While there's so much attention to the fact that these two girls are socialites of New York City, the story does not once take place in NYC. I would have enjoyed seeing them in their environment, rather than entirely out of place. The Romanian family is an odd bunch but they seem to have a great boy cousin whom they befriend and there is, of course, a slew of men that are practically tripping over each other to get to the girls.
It's this constant (well, almost constant) focus on men and flirtation that gets a bit old. Dacia can't seem to keep track of all the suitors she has and neither can the author. Lou, in the meantime, sounds so much more appealing as a character. She sounds sweet, attractive and smart while Dacia seems to often be a bit of a loon. Still, it's clear the girls love one another and will do anything to protect each other, which is good, because they need that support as they are thrown into the secret world of their family.
We're introduced to vampires, 'werewolves' of sorts, people who change into bats and people who change into a ghostly mist. I don't want to get too into the hows and whys that these creatures are introduced, as that could be too spoilerish, but when it happens... it happens. You are thrown into the story without any chance to look back.
After this, there's a slew of drama that happens and it just seems that there's always a positive result to everything that's going on. That says a lot considering we're dealing with two girls who previously had no real world experience nor any knowledge of these secrets. It just seemed to be too perfect of an ending.
There's a lot that could improve this story and I found myself rather disappointed by the end of it. I could relate to the sisterly bond the cousins had and that was wonderful, I like to see that kind of relationship in books, but past that I was left feeling generally odd about the entire thing. The "monsters" could have had such a better explanation. The characters who had positions and beliefs seemed to have very faulty ones at that. Everything seemed to be explained in a very off-handed manner and in the end, all was tied up too neatly.
Maybe you can qualify this as a beach read or something for escapism, but it's not much more than that. I do give the author credit, also, for giving a decent description of the Romanian world. However, I've never been to Romania so I can't quite judge the accuracy of it all.