*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
The scope of this series widened in the second book, and this one continued with that thread, bringing everything to a satisfying close. It also shifted the main character focus again, kind of, this time to Oberon, Olivier, and Aurelia. I have to admit I was happy to have at least one half of the vampire duo back since I love vampires and Thierry and Olivier were both so interesting, but I also enjoyed getting to know Oberon better—he had an unexpected roughness that I hadn’t noticed when looking at him from the outside, but also a lot of inner strength.
The most surprising thing about this book for me was that it was Olivier’s redemption arc. I don’t know that I can say Olivier was really redeemed, in my opinion. Some of the things he’s done are irredeemable. But this was as close as someone like him can get, and I was honestly surprised at how much sympathy the author was able to make me feel for him and how much my feelings toward him did change. It doesn’t excuse anything he did, but when I learned more about his childhood, I truly felt terrible for him. And even if you’ve done things that are irredeemable, it’s still better late than never to start being a better person. I can always get behind a character admitting their wrongs and trying to change.
In addition to being about the whole Xadrak/Sinara feud and Olivier’s redemption, the book was also about forgiveness and moving forward without letting the cruel things you’ve experienced turn you into a cruel person yourself. Trigger/content warning for heavy focus on rape throughout the book, including some fairly explicit flashbacks.
There were also two new romantic relationships in this one. One of them was sudden, but I was happy for it nonetheless. *SPOILER* I kept thinking throughout Book 2 that Aurelia would be happier if she put aside her feelings for Hame and found someone for herself. I know she’s always had this duty to destroy Xadrak, but so has Hame, and he still managed to balance both his duty and love. So I’m glad she found someone. *END SPOILER* I’m not sure how I feel about the other though. *SPOILER* I just find it hard to believe and to feel comfortable with someone dating the person who brutally raped and nearly killed them. But the way things progressed in the story, including the supernatural elements that allowed them both to understand each other by literally experiencing each others’ memories, and the amount of change and remorse in Olivier, made it seem more believable than it would’ve been otherwise, albeit still something I’m not sure I’m comfortable with. Then again, it is fiction. I’ve never experienced anything like that though, so I feel like I’m not in a place to judge this aspect of the story. *END SPOILER*
Overall, this third and final book in the trilogy had great writing, a plot that kept me gripped, complex characters, and a lot of unexpected emotion, and I thought it was a satisfying ending to an enjoyable series full of vampires, witches, demons, vengeance, violence, and love.
*Even though this book is about different main characters than the previous ones, the stories are strongly connected, and you’ll probably be confused if you haven’t read them. I recommend reading in order, starting with Beckoning Blood.*
Fans of Book 1 and 2 in Daniel de Lorne's Bonds of Blood series. Anyone who likes vampires, witches, and stories about forgiveness and redemption.