For one hundred years, Seri’s people have lived under the thumb of the Blood, the cruel and mysterious rulers of Athon. Seri wants nothing more than to put food on the table and marry the hotheaded but handsome Rilen come spring. But when a noblewoman asks Seri to be her handmaiden, Rilen insists she move to the enemy’s castle . . . and spy on the newly arrived prince.
Prince Graeme has grown weary of his family’s curse. The Blood are powerful and immortal, but doomed to live in the shadows, flitting from lover to lover, always in search of the mythic Eterna—the one woman who will sate their hunger. Now his father has sent him to the outskirts of the empire to stamp out a rebellious Vidari faction. But when a wild and alluring Vidari girl shows up at court, he finds himself torn between following his father’s orders and following his heart . . .
A war is brewing between Athonite and Vidari, between Blood and man. As uprisings sweep through the land, Seri and Graeme find themselves at the center of a storm with only one choice: betray each other, or betray their people.
Queen of Blood by Jill Myles is a book I just happened to come across as I was scanning NetGalley one day and I am so happy I took a chance on it. I found myself flipping through the pages to see what was going to happen. This was an interesting twist on the standard vampire story and I enjoyed it a lot.
Seri is a poor, Vidari, goose girl who really just wants to take care of her father and her sister. She is also looking forward to getting hand-fasted to the boy she loves, Rilen. As we learn more about her, we find out that Rilen is a rebel who doesn’t believe that the rulers of Athon should control their people and it is this belief that changes everything for Seri.
By chance, she crosses path with an Athon noble woman who wants to stand out in a crowd of nobles trying to gain the attention of the Prince. Her thought is to have a “wild” Vidari as her attendant. At first, Seri refuses but when she tells her story to Rilen, he realizes this is the best way for him and his rebels to get inside the castle. By convincing Seri to do this, her life is changed completely.
The other piece to this story is the Athon Prince, Graeme. His father has sent him to the lands of Vidara just in time for his Betrothal Ceremony. Not only is he searching for his Eterna, the one woman who will be his eternal-mate and help quench the thirst the curse on his family has created, but he is also there to determine how best to take care of the rebels and get them in line.
The curse I mentioned was a direct result of the King of Athon offending the Goddess. Because of his actions, the Goddess determined his line would never be granted any daughters (because he killed his own) and he would only have sons that were as cursed as he is. They would also not be able to stand the sun and forced to drink the blood of others to survive. The key to this is that they would never be satisfied because the blood would quickly lose it draw and they would be forever hungry. Here’s the twist…an Eterna would end it all but there has never been one found in recorded history so to say that Graeme is a bit pessimistic that he will find his is probably fair.
You can probably guess where I am going with this story. With Seri right in the line of fire, she is found to be Graeme’s Eterna and following the will of the Goddess, Graeme follows through with the marriage.
Their relationship is rough although I have to say, Graeme goes into it with an open mind. Granted he doesn’t really know what Seri is up to but he definitely has a different outlook about the Vidari than his Athonite people do and he is also willing to give their marriage a chance. As the story progresses, Seri and Graeme definitely change and really I would say that Seri changes the most. Graeme seemed to have a different feeling toward Seri than she did toward him but he is also the one with all of the power. Because of that, even though he never really thought he would marry a Vidari, he still wasn’t forced into the marriage in the same way that Seri was so I can sympathize with her.
As for characters, I liked Seri. There were times that I really wanted her to see what Rilen was up to and how he was using her but of course, she was looking at him as the boy she loved and wanted to spend her life with, why would he betray and use her. Rilen annoyed me. He only thought about himself and his end goal, not about the danger he was putting Seri in and in the end I wasn’t saddened by how things went for him.
I thought Myles did a wonderful job of creating this world and the story within. As I mentioned, I flew through this book. It is a quick read and yes, some of it is obvious but I didn’t think it hurt the story. I thought there was plenty of action, intrigue, and swoony bits to keep me entertained. If you are looking for a vampire story with a bit of a twist definitely check this one out – I’m glad I did!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy!