Things were left at a good place with the romance, but ominous clouds are building for the Prince as trouble stirs in the shadows for his reign as the Prince of Florence. I was looking to see this second installment in the series take things to a more dangerous, intense level and I was not disappointed.
This is one of those series that must be read in order. Pretty much everything is built on what came in the book before it.
As the story progresses, William, the vampyre leader- or Prince of Florence- has taken the unlikely step of not only falling for a human, but choosing to start a relationship. This decision is fraught with danger since others of his kind will not just look down on the decision, but use Raven as a weakness in his armor. William determines to take the risk because he won’t give up Raven after losing her once. He has a special surprise for her birthday.
Raven doubts very much she has what it takes to hold the attention of someone like William, but she has decided that having him in her life and having his love is worth the risk. William hasn’t been human for a long time and sometimes his efforts to please her are traumatic like his ‘birthday present’. Raven is now confronted by her darkest past as a result.
William’s place as the Prince has put a huge target on his back. The vultures circle. And not just for him. He still can’t finger the traitor who has orchestrated the hunters and rogue vampyres allowed into the city to cause trouble. The Curia’s- humans who destroy vampyres to protect unknowing humans- interest is roused and that is never a good thing. William sets plans into motion. He must trust in the untrustworthy and hope that he sees his enemies coming. Raven wants a deeper connection and he shares somewhat, but at all costs, her safety is his priority.
Raven continues her work at the museum still under the suspicious, watchful eyes of the inspector even though the art theft case has grown cold. William is distracted, but Raven won’t let him pull away from her. Slowly, she gains his history from him. And after a surprising person has ties to the Curia and tries to make her doubt William, she learns some of the most hidden secrets of his past. But then their time is up and they are faced with the ultimate decision when William is dealt an ultimatum- release Raven to the Curia and save his people or refuse and the Curia will come for the vampyres of Florence.
Alright, so the last book irritated me to no end over certain things and I wasn’t entirely sure I was even going to continue with the series. But, I decided to press on and see what happened.
What a difference for me. Now that William and Raven are established, there was very little of all that irritating business that Raven put me through in the first book. The focus was more balanced in this section of the story with the romance and the intrigue. I liked that and it worked better. The latter half of the book was nigh amazing and left me very eager to press on to the third book.
Now, in the last book, I really wasn’t feeling the romance and found the heroine dancing on my last nerve. She still had some of this, but it was mild and helped me see that maybe this pair really did belong together after all. Raven still has a lot of self-doubt, but she is blossoming in William’s care. She wasn’t petulant and demanding and it was amazing how much William opened up and shared as a result. Raven has mostly learned her lesson when William warns her about things for her safety. She is well aware that her stubborn mulishness from before got people hurt. It was like night and day and I was so grateful.
All that stuff I loved in the last book like the vampyre politics, getting more of the setting and tone, William’s backstory, and those surprising reveals from both Raven and William’s past plus the exciting moments when those plotting in the shadows finally stepped out and challenged William were intense and strong storytelling.
William was presented with a tough choice and then the choice was taken from him and made by others. War has begun within the vampyre principality of Florence and is on the doorstep from without. I like where the story left things and can’t wait for the final book.
As a side note, the paper copy I had included a couple outtake vignettes at the back that were interesting.
So, in summation, vast improvement over book one for me. This was what I was looking for when I started the series. I would recommend these for those who can appreciate a slower paced urban fantasy with attention to details and setting while delivering an uneasy romance and intrigue.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #56 UF
Literary Pickers #55 bracelet