I had been reading UF/PNR for so long and yet I never discover Raphael by D. B. Reynolds all this while. Where had this book been hiding all along. After all the vampires romance I had been reading, Raphael is one of the most memorable, because he absolutely act like a powerful and fearless vampire lord. He is not afraid to kill anyone brutally in front of you. Anyone who step on his toe will be dead, including his own people. He make Ethan Sullivan of Chicagoland Vampire look sissy.
Cynthia is a ex-cop turned PI, who occasionally have vampires as her clients. Raphael seek Cynthia help to locate Alexandra, who had been kidnap away from his estate. What I don't understand is why do Raphael keep Alexandra identity a secret from Cynthia. I know initially he didn't need to explain himself to Cynthia and this helps to make Cynthia being jealous of Alexandra, who might be Raphael's lover. But later on, Cynthia questioned him directly once, and he refused to explain. During the ending, he didn't explained to her either. Hmm... Does he need to be that arrogant? Alexandra is actually Raphael's sister.
I think Raphael and Cynthia's relationship started off with both of them lusting after each other. They wanted to jump on each other after their second meeting. But they are both very mature characters. They know what they want and act upon it. Raphael is truly a vampire lord and acted like one. He didn't turn all sweet and try to woo Cynthia. He pretty much wanted to claim her right away. But from the ending, I can see that the author will use the second book, Jabril, to delve more into their relationship.
The secondary character, Duncan, Raphael's right hand man. He is so protective and responsible to Raphael's health and overall well-being that make him feels at crossroad when Raphael put himself at risk.
The fights between the vampire is really brutal and kickass with all fangs and claws. Although Raphael seems like a President, surrounded himself with the securities. He can definitely fight like a warrior and the author is not selfish in describing the details. While Cynthia on the other hand, she might not be good in arm to arm combat, but she's good with firearms and surprisingly a good investigator. She actually manage to investigate, unlike October Daye, who is such a lousy investigator that she mostly just stumble along.
The ending we have is not a cliffhanger, we got our closure on the case regarding the kidnapping of Alexandra. However, we didn't get a closure between Raphael and Cynthia's relationship. I thought that is a nice touch because, they need to develop a deeper understanding toward each other and not to let the lust clouding their judgement.