Title: Serpent’s Kiss
Author: Thea Harrison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: The Elder Races (Book 3)
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Format: Paperback, 336 Pages
ISBN-10: 0425244407 (Berkley Sensation)
ISBN-13: 978-0425244401 (Berkley Sensation)
Reviewed by: Sheila
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…
Quick & Dirty: Vampires and gryphons changing their past to save their future. Fun and easy read.
Opening Sentence: “I am a bad woman, of course,” said Carling Severan, the Vampyre Sorceress, in an absent tone of voice.
I must warn you, this is a romance story. Yes, it includes sexy scenes and undying love sentiments. And yes, there is a happy ending. Stop now if that’s not your thing. If you are still with me, I think that you’re going to enjoy this book for what it is, lovely and memorable. The story is not so much a fighting one, as in books past, but more of a journey. This is a story of two unlikely people, and I use the term “people” loosely, falling in love and overcoming the obstacles between them. Well yeah, most good love stories have this basic plot line, but Serpent’s Kiss adds just enough of a twist to leave the reader happy to come along for the ride.
In the third installment of The Elder Races series, we follow Rune, the Lord of the Wyr’s First and one of four gryphons on Earth, and his fulfillment of a favor for the beautiful and powerful vampire Councilor, Carling. The favor is for Carling saving Tiago’s life in the last book, Storm’s Heart. Rune is obligated by a magical pact to do whatever Carling chooses. He is strong, smart, easy-going, and considered the “rock-star” in the Wyr community. He is also loyal and gladly goes to Carling with a light heart, even with him not knowing if he will return to his life in New York anytime in the next millennium, while he fulfills his obligation.
Carling is dying and her Power is so erratic that she is secluded on a magical island for the safety of herself and others. She doesn’t have a cure for her disease, vampirism, and is resigned to the fact. Rune arrives and challenges her to fight for her life; “do not go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas people, go read some poetry). He stirs in Carling feelings that she hasn’t experienced in a long time and it helps her get out of her funk. These two are so fun together, arguing and rediscovering things that only new couples ever seem to do. Carling, with the help of Rune, learns to find delight in things that she gave up long ago, and that includes sex. As Rune would say, “booyha.” Though they are not my favorite couple to come out of The Elder Races series, they certainly pack a punch.
Rune ends up traveling into Carling’s past every time she has one of her episodes, when her Power flares without her control and she fades away. Not literally fading, but she does get lost in her own mind. By changing her past, being in it for one thing, they both start to unravel the mystery of her “illness.” Can Carling find a way to live, now that she has something to live for? Can Rune take hold of the gift he is given or will he turn it away like so many other times in his long life? Will the other beings of Power allow them to remain together or will they be killed? Can the other leaders of the supernatural community take on Carling if she does lose control of her powers? Can they take that chance?
A character we get to learn more about in Serpent’s Kiss is Khalil, the Djinn. He was first introduced in the last book. Khalil is a very old and powerful Djinn and he owes two more favors to Carling. We get to learn how she was able to obtain such a rare and powerful gift and Khalil gets to show off more of his personality. He does so enjoy taunting Wyr’s that are going through the mating frenzy. I can’t wait for his book, Oracle’s Moon.
I truly enjoyed the background of Carling’s Egyptian beginnings. I think it’s cute that she believes Rune is a god the first time she sees him, but refuses to acknowledge it in the future. She can’t afford to inflate his ego anymore than it already is! I appreciate their story being a true journey, both emotionally and physically, through the past and into the future. Even Dragos and Pia, from the first book, make an appearance. Read this book and fall in love with the series all over again.
The Djinn crossed his arms and raised a sleek black brow, looking so supercilious Rune started across the room toward him.
Suddenly Carling was there in front of him, impeding his path. She slapped her hands against his chest. He kept plowing forward, pushing against her strength, and her bare feet slid across the carpet. She said between her teeth, “I do not know why we are indulging in a fit of psychosis right now, but so help me, I will throw your crackbrained ass out the window if you don’t stop right there.”
The Djinn stared at them both. He smiled. He said, “I have seen this behavior in Wyr before.”
Glaring at him over Carling’s head, Rune spat words like they were bullets. “I want to know why you gave away three favors. And what Carling did for you.”
“Do you?” said the Djinn in a languorous drawl as he opened his diamond eyes wide. “Or you’ll do what?”
The Elder Races Series:
1. Dragon Bound
3.5 True Colors
FTC Advisory: Berkley Sensation provided me with a copy of Serpent’s Kiss. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. I only get paid in hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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