*I received a free ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*
I knew better than to start this book in the evening when I had to get up early the next morning, but did I listen to my common sense? Of course not. And then I ended up going to sleep at a ridiculous hour because the books in this series are simply un-put-down-able.
And one of the things that makes them so gripping is all the negative emotion. That probably sounds weird, to say that I like negative emotion, but there’s often all this angst and heartbreak and shame and bitterness, and I just eat it all up. None of the books have had quite as much emotion for me as Book 2, but this one still had enough. And Alivia’s relationships were just as complicated as ever, something I’ve loved throughout the series.
One of the best things about this book in particular though was that I finally felt like I was delivered what I was promised in regards to King Cyrus. The last book disappointed me because Cyrus didn’t live up to his reputation. Yeah, he murdered some vampires, but it was all fairly normal as far as crazy vampire kings go, I suppose. This time though, he was well and truly a brutal, psychologically manipulative psychopath. He was unpredictable and had some things up his sleeve that I was not expecting. But it never crossed the line into “evil just for the sake of evil.” It made sense that he was nearly insane after the immortal life he’s had, his actions fit with his character, and he did have a reason for singling out Alivia. And I find it interesting how, in the end, *POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT* he actually ended up helping Alivia because he was the one who managed to get through to her and make her realize how much had changed for the worse and how she had hurt everyone around her. *END SPOILER ALERT*
As for Alivia and her love interest whose name I won’t mention because it’s a spoiler for previous books, they both finally became people I could like again. Alivia disappointed me in the last book with her questionable morals, and he disappointed me in Book 2 with how he reacted to the whole situation and treated Alivia, so I was really happy to see them both realizing their mistakes and starting to redeem themselves, especially Alivia since I LOVED her in the first two books.
And of course all the side and background characters were three-dimensional, as usual. Alivia’s vampires weren’t in the story a whole lot, but Keary Taylor still managed to throw in some sweet moments between them, portray the strength of their relationships, and further flesh out their characters even with the little screen time they did have.
So overall, the villain was unpredictable and finally lived up to my expectations, the character development made me happy, and this was another intense book in the series that I couldn’t put down!
Fans of Books 1-3 in Keary Taylor's House of Royals Series. Readers who like character growth, complicated relationships, chosen family, intrigue, and a different take on vampires.