Title: Serpent’s Kiss
Author: Thea Harrison
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
In the latest Novel of the Elder Races, a Queen on the brink of sanity has no one to rely on except the Wyr warrior whose conviction is every bit as strong as his passion…
In order to save his friend’s life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a bargain with Vampyre Queen Carling—without knowing what she would ask from him in return. But when Rune attempts to make good on his debt, he finds a woman on the edge.
Recently, Carling’s Power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee in fear. Despite the danger, Rune is drawn to the ailing Queen and decides to help her find a cure for the serpent’s kiss—the vampyric disease that’s killing her.
With their desire for each other escalating just as quickly as Carling’s instability spirals out of control, the sentinel and the Queen will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent’s kiss…
Summary from the authors website
My Review: We are thrust back into the world of the Elder Races, pretty much right where we left off in Storm’s Heart. Rune made a promise to the Vampyre Queen Carling that he would owe her a favor and she has called to collect. Favors in this world are not like every day favors you and I would normally think of. It is a debt that if not paid has serious consequences and you have to do anything the person you are in debt to asks of you. Rune is not really looking forward to finding out what Carling wants him to do, but knows his time to repay the Vampyre Queen has come.
Now that we are onto the third book in this series, I have come to depend on quite a few things, but most of all I know that when I pick up one of Thea’s books I am not going to be able to put it down until I finish it. I started and finished Serpent’s Kiss all in one day and soaked in every delicious minute of it. While we are in the same world, this book does differ from the other two in the fact that there is no real “evil force” chasing them at every turn. There are some people that come to be their enemies as the story progresses, but for a good chunk of the book it is just Rune and Carling searching for a cure for her impending death. This did not detract from the story at all; it just took these characters on a different type of journey. It was an inner struggle for both of them, more so for Carling because she was the facing her own death and Rune finds her she might as well be dead because of her outlook on life. She has accepted her death and is no longer fighting it, she feels there is nothing left to live for and has pretty much given up. She puts on a good show for the outside world, but on the inside she is already dead. From the first moment Rune laid eyes on her in Storm’s Heart he has been fascinated by her and if she is not going to fight for her life, he is going to do the fighting for her.
The main symptom Carling exhibits are what she has called “episodes.” She just blacks out from the present world and cannot be reached. When she does this, there is also a power rift around her and as a result she has been told to live out the remainder of her days on an island on the outskirts of San Francisco, where she cannot harm others. With Carling’s “episodes” taking her out of the present and into the past Thea explored the topic of time travel. It was fascinating to see Rune and Carling try to piece together what was actually happening to her when she zoned out and Thea described the transitions beautifully. It was a concept that I did not anticipate in this novel, but it blended well with the overall plot and has added a new mystery for the vampyres in this world to think about.
I also enjoyed how well Thea developed Rune and Carling as individuals as well as the relationship they shared. Since they were not constantly on the run, they were able to stay in one place for a longer amount of time and explore their feelings for each other fully. It did take a while for Rune to coax Carling to not only give into her feelings, but figure out what they were again. She has lived so long and accepted her death so fully that she had shut out all emotions. It takes her time to register what desire is and why Rune invokes this emotion from her. Rune beings to light a fire under her to not only fight for her life, but fight for their relationship and what they could be together.
Thea also weaves the overall story of the Elder world books together seamlessly. One story flows right into the next another part of this world is slowly unveiled to us. Characters’ lives overlap constantly and by introducing the couple that will be featured in the next book in previous installments we get to know all of them on a deeper level. For example, Dragos and his sentinels still play a role in Serpent’s Kiss and we receive little updates on what all of them have been up to as time passes. We also met, Grace who is the oracle for the Elder races and we have seen Khalil, a Djinn, from when Carling called on him for favors in the past. These two are the center of Thea’s next book, Oracle’s Moon, which is due out next year. I have no idea how their lives are going to intertwine, but we did get a sneak peak at it in this book and it just makes me more excited for the next one. Grace is a firecracker and I am sure she is going to give Khalil a hard time.
The only real concern I have now is for Dragos. His sentinels are not exactly sticking around since they are finding their mates and I am not sure where that is going to leave him. There were also many issues that were left up in the air and I am curious to see how the decisions Rune and Carling ultimately make are going to affect the Elder race as a whole. The book does not end in with a cliffhanger by any means, but there are still so many questions swimming through my head and I am eager to see where Thea will take us in this world next.
Overall, these books are just hands down fantastic! I know when I pick these up I am going to be taking away on an amazing adventure and love every minute. Thea has created an engaging world with rich mythology, interesting plot lines and characters that are unforgettable. These books keep getting better with each installment and I always look forward to reading them.
FTC: Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book to review.