Monique Muro

The House of Immortal Pleasures

Vampires, demure heroines, tacit murmurs of affection. Sound familiar? Katie Salidas’s House of Immortal Pleasures makes vampires from the Twilight series look like emasculated milksops, a group of sighing dandies wilting behind closed doors. But with Salidas, there is no behind the scenes. Laying bear all of the coveted passion and eroticism associated with vampires for years, she combines the sheer terror of blood-sucking monsters with one-night-thrill seeking mortals, looking to have a good time.

Bound and whisked away by a barrage of friends, Daphne is in for a not so innocent birthday treat. Still mending over her last heartbreak, a guy aptly named Ken whom she caught philandering with another woman, young Daphne is not in any mood to entertain, especially not a man. Despite her insecurities, her friends think it’s a good idea to take her to an erotic temple called the House of Immortal Pleasures, a bonafide bordello, not unlike infamous brothels from earlier centuries. This brothel, however, is replete with lascivious vampires who aim only to seduce, at the beck and call of a blonde, entrancing, yet money hungry vampire named Alexander, who more or less treats the vampires in the House as slaves to the desires of the public.

Enter Connor, the fiery, yet tame vampire who serves in the House as reparation for killing an innocent named Adrienne. Bound to the House for years, the night Daphne arrives marks the end of his term, the night Alexander was to secure his freedom.

After being drawn into the House by the beguiling charm of a doorman named Michael, Daphne finds herself in a cozy bar on the first floor, flurried by her friends’ excited chatter and a table-full of menus offering different, services, if you will. After a generous round of tequila shots, Daphne is led to a room where Connor anxiously awaits, hoping his last night in the House will be a memorable one.

After a few cheesy vampire one-liner’s, and an initial discomfort with the idea of paying a vampire to seduce her, Daphne finds herself comfortable with her libertine, vampire Cassanova, and begins to open up to him about Ken’s betrayal, and her feelings of ineptitude as a lover. Being the emotionally attuned vampire that he is, Connor senses this and the two fall together comfortably, in more than a few places.

Salidas takes the whole vampire romance idea and milks it for all its worth. Vampires have been associated with eroticism since Anne Rice debuted her Interview with a Vampire, and earlier still, yet the idea remains fresh and welcomed.

A serious downside to this story is that it isn’t longer. At 68 pages, it could be considered a novella by most counts, and it could have used a bit more back story. Maybe a scene with Connor’s first accidental kill, or the hell that Daphne went through after catching Ken with another woman. The end felt a bit rushed, and deserved to be a little more fleshed out. Not that the readers needed any more flesh, per se. Salidas does a great job providing plenty of that at the core of the novel.

Also, Daphne’s character was believable, and sympathy for her was very real. But as endearing as Salidas made Connor out to be, he was probably the only character whose thirst and vehemence should have been more felt. The way Salidas describes his thought processes is more believable and romantic than the way he woos her in the bedroom, but maybe that’s just another good old case of classic vampire machismo.

Either way, a read that will no doubt tickle the more sophisticated Twilight buff, and even those vaguely partial to vampire fanfare.

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