|Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen novels keep the pages turning, your imagination running, [and] your dreams carnally vivid” (Bitten by Books). In her newest installment, a servant sentenced to death is sent into hiding and finds a passion she never expected in her new protector.
Groomed from birth to be an Inherited Servant and serve only the most powerful vampire Masters, Alanna never resented her destiny. Then she did the unthinkable: she betrayed her Master to the Vampire Council. Now death is her future, but until her Master is captured, she must be protected. The Vampire Council assigns her to Evan, a vampire whose wandering lifestyle makes him the perfect guardian.
Alanna’s training was for a vampire of power and ambition, not for someone like Evan who lives in mountainside shacks and caves. Even his servant, Niall, is rough mannered. But these two men are about to teach Alanna something her rigorous training never did: how to feel, how to desire perhaps even how to love.
Then the Council captures her Master, and Alanna has no choice but to accept her destiny. But Evan and Niall are no strangers to defying fate—and they will stop at nothing to make Alanna theirs forever.
Alanna is an InhServ, a vampire servant who was chosen from birth to be trained as such. An InhServ is the highest form of servant and they’re normally given to vampires who are on the political power path for the Vampire Council. Her Master, Stephen, was a real ass, to put it frankly. He served on the Council but was very deceitful and Alanna went against all her training and instincts to turn against her Master and turn him in to the Council. There’s now a hunt on to find Stephen, but as Alanna is third marked to him, when he dies so will she and in the meantime, he’s making her life a living hell in her head, messing with her, torturing her, so much so that a vampire scientist has created a blocker for Alanna to take that keeps Stephen out of her head, but it also removes the ability for the Council to track Stephen. The hunt to find him is on and Alanna is placed in protective custody with another vampire and his servant, Evan and Niall. They have a very unique relationship, especially in seeing how the other relationships in this series have gone and they both have protective streaks when it comes to Alanna. The transition for them all isn’t smooth however and with the threat of Alanna’s death hanging over all their heads, they start to form a bond that will be very crushing when Stephen’s death happens.
It made me sad to read about Alanna’s life. She was put into the InhServ program basically from birth and trained to be a servant. That was her only focus in life. Her will, her opinions, everything was stripped out of her and her only purpose comes in serving her Master. She doesn’t know what to do with herself when Evan asks her what she wants. She has no wants, she’s never been able to have them and the transition from going from a Master who didn’t appreciate her to Evan and Niall who both want to love her is a major overload to her system and one that takes a long time to overcome. Evan understands where she’s coming from a little better than Niall does and it leads to the men butting heads, which is a shock all on its own as Niall is Evan’s third marked servant. It felt like they needed to break Alanna down to be able to build her back up and to get her to start using her mind. It’s hard for her though knowing that her time is limited, death hangs over her hand for much of the story and she’s scared to start wanting things only to have them cruelly taken away when she meets Stephen in the afterlife and knows her torture at his hands will continue for eternity.
What stood out most to me was the relationship Evan has with Alanna and Niall. It’s unlike any other in the series so far, and I loved it. Evan isn’t an incredibly dominant vampire, in fact Niall comes across as the dominant in the relationship, especially when it comes to Alanna, and while Evan still commands respect for being their Master, it’s much more subtle. Not present are the huge vampire gatherings where the servants are expected to perform any and all sexual acts that their masters demand. There is one similar scene with a group of D/s humans and Alanna is instructed to pleasure one of the female dominants. Otherwise, it’s a pretty tame book when it comes to the type of sex that’s included, at least it’s tame for this series! There is still plenty of action between Evan, Niall and Alanna but the main focus felt like it centered more on their relationship and how they can make this last beyond Stephen and beyond the milestone that Niall is approaching, 300 years.
A vampire servant’s lifespan is around 300 years and Niall is at that point. He’s showing signs that his death is coming quickly and it adds another emotional layer to the trio’s relationship. Niall wants there to be a way for Evan to third mark Alanna so he’ll have someone when he dies. Alanna wants to be with both men, men who showed her love and appreciation, something’s she never had and Evan wants both his servants to be with him always. A lot of things need to work out right and there is a sweet happy ending, but it’s an emotional ride for everyone to get there.
The reason for my rating being down slightly is the story felt a little bogged down. There are some flashbacks that give us some depth into Evan and Niall’s relationship and while interesting to build their bond, I just found the book very easy to put down. It’s a good, solid story, just not one that had me captivated throughout. But I do appreciate that this story isn’t quite as hardcore as some of the others in this series. Some previous books have scenes that are quite frankly hard to read. Evan, Niall and Alanna’s story felt more real. The bond between Master and servant is there and obvious in some ways but it doesn’t completely control their lives and I really liked seeing their relationship go beyond that distinction and be more about the love they all have for each other.
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Joey W. Hill: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*Book provided by publisher for review*