Thirteen Years Later – Jasper Kent

About the Book
In the summer of 1812, before the Oprichniki came to the help of Mother Russia in her fight against Napoleon, one of their number overheard a conversation between his master, Zmyeevich, and another of their number. He learns of a feud, an unholy grievance between Zmyeevich and the Romanov dynasty that began a century earlier at the time of Peter the Great. Indeed, while the Oprichniki’s primary reason for journeying to Russia is to stop the French, one of them — Iuda — is following a different agenda, for he is to be the instrument of revenge on the Romanovs.

But thanks to the valiant efforts of Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, Iuda would not be able to begin to complete his task until thirteen years later. But now, in 1825, Russia once more stands on the brink of anarchy, and this time the threat comes from within.

512 pages (paperback)
Published on: February 15, 2011
Published by: Pyr
Author’s webpage
My review of Twelve can be read here.
Thanks to the wonderful people at Pyr for sending me a copy of this book to review.
Twelve set the bar high for Kent’s follow up novel, Thirteen Years Later. In fact, I enjoyed Twelve so much I was quite worried, and rather anxious, about starting Thirteen Years Later. I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I was sure, that after Twelve, there was nowhere left for me to go but into disappointment. However, I shouldn’t have worried. Thirteen Years Later retains the same dark and horrific, as well as historical feel as Twelve, but also seems to be a different animal all together.
The first thing I should note regarding Thirteen Years Later is the change in perspectives. Where Alexsei’s first person narrative was one of the highlights of Twelve, the switch to third-person perspective in Thirteen Years Later did worry me somewhat, until I got the feel of it. However, once I became used to the new, third person point of view, I realized I enjoyed it just as much, if not slightly more than the previously used first person perspective.
The reason I embraced the change into third person perspective is rather straightforward. By using third person perspective and interchanging it with different characters, Kent seemed to expand upon his world and add some depth and color to it. Not only is it interesting to see how these historical times are affecting different characters from different walks of life. I will admit that before Kent switched to third-person perspective, I wasn’t quite sure what else his book needed. However, after reading Thirteen Years Later from so many different points of view and walks of life, I realized that, perhaps, that was the one touch that Twelve had been missing.
Where Twelve seemed to focus on the more psychological and almost mystical features of the vampires Kent inserts into his tale, Thirteen Years Later takes a more studious and scientific approach to things. Alexsei is older in this book, and because of that, seems to be a more thoughtful and calm presence in the face of the events that transpire. Thus, he is more given to considerate study than blatant reaction. This gives the reader an opportunity to study the “whys” behind many vampire features, like why don’t they have reflections and so on. While Kent keeps his vampires traditional in the sense of wooden steaks and sunlight killing them, these studies into their nature can be rather interesting.
Thirteen Years Later is meticulously researched, and this level of research shows in the small details. This book covers many important historical events in Russian history, and because of the multiple points of view, Kent really had to dig deep to make sure he could pull this book off realistically. This book, obviously, takes place thirteen years after the events in Twelve and covers such areas of Russia as St. Petersburg, Moscow and Taganrog. Thirteen Years Later covers the death of Tsar Alexander I, the Decembrist uprising and the confusion of inheritance. These are all very interesting historical events I didn’t know much about, but through Kent’s writing and obvious research I feel well introduced to them.
While I can praise this book for quite a while, there are some flaws to its overall development, namely, pacing. During the first part of Thirteen Years Later, Kent seems satisfied to take things at an almost leisurely pace, letting the reader reacquaint themselves with the world and important plot points of the previous book, while getting to know an older Aleksei and the other points of view used. While this somewhat slow paced start could put off some potential readers, it doesn’t all remain that way. Once Aleksei hits Moscow, events seem to take place at a more comfortable pace. However, in the second part of Thirteen Years Later, the book has a rushed feel to it. This doesn’t allow the reader enough time to fully absorb what is happening, or the implication of these events before the characters are rushed off into another scene/event.  Due to this, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the rushed and somewhat illogical feel to the ending of Thirteen Years Later.
However, despite these somewhat disheartening flaws, Thirteen Years Later is a strong and worthy follow up of Twelve. Kent’s writing has matured, his story, through the use of third person perspectives and multiple points of view, has gained quite a bit of depth and well-rounded color. Thirteen Years Later is meticulously researched and this shows in the small details. Despite the problems with pacing, Kent seems to have outdone himself with much of Thirteen Years Later. This book is sure to please fans of this wonderful series, and leave them (impatiently) waiting for the next installment.
4.5/5 stars

One Responses

  • Melissa (My words and pages)

    I always worry about the next book in a series when I got so lost in the previous book. So I know your feelings here going into this one. But, sounds to me like he upped the anty here. 🙂 But great sounding books and series! So glad you enjoyed it and the series is that good. 🙂

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