I haven't had a whole lot of time for reading lately between personal stuff and writing my own books, but I'm trying to play the catch-up game with ARCs and actually utilize the damn Kindle Unlimited service that I'm paying $9.99/mo for, and what better way than to reacquaint myself with KU than by picking up some sexy vampire romances about arranged marriage?
QUEEN OF BLOOD is a vastly underrated work that has some similar premises to other books I've read, but it does them much better. In this book, lords from Athon are cursed to be vampires by the gods (they got screwed over by one asshole king), kind of like the whole Greek House of Atreus where everyone is doomed. Their curse, obviously, is that they can only come out at night and need blood to survive. They have to be slutty about it too because part of the curse is that they can't be with any one person too long or their blood starts to taste terrible. The only cure is a blessed woman from the gods called an Eterna.
Seri is from Vidari, an oppressed and rural colony of Athon where everyone works the land to survive and most of them starve anyway. Seri's disabled sister and ailing father are dependent on her to make a living, and Seri ends up selling her dignity to play at an Athon noblewoman's handmaiden, who is angling to capture the prince's attention by eroticizing her female servant and reaping the scandal vicariously. Only, it works too well if you know what I mean.
Prince Graeme and Seri end up getting married because she is The Chosen One, which causes all kinds of problems because Seri hates Athonites and her betrothed, Rilen, is part of a movement to overthrow them. He's actually happy about the marriage though, because he sees it as a golden opportunity for her to plant a knife in the vampire prince's back and pimps her out with pleasure. Too bad that this is a romance novel and neither Seri nor Graeme know what kind of angst awaits them.
So the romance element of this was really well done. There's a couple tropes I'm always a sucker for and lord/servant romances, arranged marriage romances, and vampire romances are some of them. All three of those things were done in this book, along with a generous serving of court intrigue and sexy neck biting. I was delighted and read through this in a single evening. The only thing I'm actually sore about is that the author didn't make this a series and she shot herself in the foot by killing off Velair, if you ask me, because I would happily read a dark sequel about a sadistic and cruel vampire lord who ends up falling for his human toy.
If you enjoy vampire romances or fantasy romances, I think you will enjoy QUEEN OF BLOOD.
4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars
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