Book Review: The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Hunters Book 1) by Colleen Gleason

Victoria Gardella may be a debutante in 19th century London, being pushed into finding an eligible bachelor to marry, but she's also a vampire hunter by blood, born with the extra capabilities it takes to fight the creatures. Victoria chooses to accept her calling, but, when she unexpectedly falls in love with the Marquess of Rockley, she realizes she has a difficult choice to make between love and duty.

Book Review: The Rest Falls Away (The Gardella Vampire Hunters Book 1) by Colleen Gleason | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, fantasy, historical fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, vampires
Title: The Rest Falls Away
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 300
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


First off, a warning—my comments in this review on how this book made me feel could have you predicting certain outcomes, but I’m not actually going to discuss the plot, and there are still numerous possible outcomes. So no actual spoilers, but I went into the book pretty blind and felt it would be unfair to not allow everyone else the same chance.

I’m actually finding it hard to write this review though. The thing is, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a million times again, I love emotion in books. Rip my heart out! Make me feel things! The more heart-wrenching the better!

—except I think I may need to amend that last statement. I may have found my limit. And that’s why I’m not sure how I feel about the book. On the one hand, the story, the characters, and the relationships were all written in a way that made me understand what the characters were going through and feel it right along with them. I commend the author for that. But this wasn’t just heart-wrenching; this was like someone reached into my chest and grabbed my heart, and then they just squeezed it enough to make me uncomfortable and held it there. At some points they would let up a bit, then they’d squeeze it harder again. At one point they let go entirely and I thought I was in the clear, but nope. They reached right back in, and that time they kept squeezing until it turned to mush.

It usually takes more than one book for me to get too emotionally attached to characters, relationships, etc., but the way the book kept me filled with emotion the whole time, not knowing what would happen but knowing it probably wouldn’t be good, was, I suppose, the difference between ripping out my heart completely vs. turning it to mush with the built-up pressure. (Though which is worse, I’m not even sure.) It was painful, but also good in this really masochistic way, so it really just depends on what you like.

My only real complaint is that the book was slow-paced and didn’t really pick up until over halfway through. I would’ve liked a little more action or something happening the whole way through. But I did like the historical aspects and the romance (which was pretty much the focus). There wasn’t exactly a love triangle, but the romance was still unpredictable and complicated and had me completely on edge.

I also thought the characters were good. Victoria was kickass and strong and stood up for herself; I didn’t really relate to her, but I empathized and understood the difficult decisions she made. Phillip was kind and loving, but he also wasn’t stupid and didn’t back down from what he cared about. Max was intense and an interesting enigma. And all of them were suffering.

I am a masochist when it comes to reading though, and I did find the suffering yet strong characters compelling, and supposedly the full series has a happy ending… so I do plan on risking my heart to give the next book a read 😉


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  1. Greg

    Okay I actually like this cover a lot more when I see the enlarged version. Basically vampires and foggy London are a great match, plus olden times- yeah. Colleen Gleason seems to like it too as there is a little bit of this in her Stoker & Holmes series (I’ve read the first one but not the latest). I probably will read the next one (I have it on my Kindlee) but just haven’t yet. This one seems a lot more focused on the vampire hunter bit whereas in that series it’s just a part of it.

    Sounds like this one has more of a romance angle, and glad there wasn’t a love triangle as I hate those LOL (I’ve probably been reading too much YA)… hope the next one is as good. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      You do suddenly notice more of the details when you see it up close, right? Except I liked how her clothes look better in the small version lol. I don’t know what the Stoker & Holmes series is about, but yes, the vampire hunting is more than just a part of this, I would say. I mean, it was kind of like 60-70% romance, 40-30% vampire hunting, but it was all tied together.

      Thanks! I figure it probably can’t get any worse in terms of heart-squeezing-ness 😛 But I am interested in how one of the characters apparently goes down kind of a twisted path…

  2. Bookworm Brandee

    That is a fantastic review, Kristen! I, too, am a masochist in my reading – my hubs just cannot understand why I’d want to read a book that makes me cry. I tell him, if an author can move me to any emotion, it’s a great book! The more gut-wrenching the better. So you have me itching to meet the strong yet suffering characters of this book – to see just how mushy my heart can get. I’ve always been interesting in Gleason’s Gardella series, and I just one-clicked this one. You’re making a habit of adding books to my reading lists. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, a fellow masochist! I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book, if it made your heart as mushy as it did mine lol. I kind of like that I’m making a habit of that 😛 So few people read the books I read, so it’s nice when I actually have people to talk about them with!