Saturday, October 29, 2011

Serpent's Kiss


This series has become one of my favorites. I am enthralled by Thea Harrison's Elder Races series, its world and its characters. Her version of the world in which all types of Wyr, Elves, Fae, Demons, Vampires and Witches exist is incredibly vivid and well-constructed. The Elder Races series is fabulous and the third installment, The Serpent’s Kiss, is no exception.

The Serpent’s Kiss focuses on Vampire Queen Carling. In the name of full disclosure, I will admit that after meeting Carling in Storm’s Heart, I was so not a fan. I worried if I would like her enough to even like the book. Well, worry not. Though she seemed rather cold and aloof during her trip to Adrial, there is much more to this character that becomes clear. I can even now say that I like her – I think we could be friends. Even though Carling is all-powerful, she's also caring, intelligent, and witty.

But she’s also sick – Carling’s power has become erratic. Abandoned by her followers, she relies on Wyr Sentinel Rune. Rune enters her life to repay a debt but is quickly drawn to Carling. He is determined to find a cure for her ailment the “serpent's kiss”, the vampyric disease that's killing her. Rune, a gryphon, is a delicious hero with his quirky humor, sexy power and strength, and his intellect. Watching how he brought out the best in Carling is sweet.

As they begin to open up and rely on one another, their desire for each other builds. The chemistry that builds – and the gradual mating – is hot, hot, hot. Rune and Carling find themselves walking through time only to realize they may have always been meant for each other. And now they need each other to have any hope of surviving.

While the story was a bit slow-moving in the beginning, as Rune and Carling embark on their search for a cure, the action picks up. And when Rune’s full abilities come to the surface, I actually gasped (and found him even more attractive). But I also found Harrison’s take on vampires utterly fascinating as we learn about the creation of vampires. The story is completely original with a well-developed storyline that picks up speed and takes you to the very end.

During their journey, they come upon several returning secondary characters and a few new ones. Harrison’s ability to make these characters unique and important to the story, without overtaking the main characters, is exactly on point. There’s a medusa medical examiner, an oracle and a djinn. And, of course, Dragos makes his appearance though I found the disagreement between him and Rune a bit awkward with nothing to really back up the rationale. And my personal opinion is that it would’ve been truer to character for Dragos to have given his immediate support to one of his sentinels.

I have been completely taken in by this intense world. Harrison has provided readers with totally original characters in a fantastical world. This book, heck – the whole series, is going on my favorites shelf. And I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next release.
RATING: 5 Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
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