Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book Review: The Mark of the Vampire Queen

The Mark of the Vampire Queen
(Vampire Queen #2)
By: Joey W. Hill
Published by: Berkley Trade
Publication Date: February 5, 2008
Buy it at Amazon or Indie Bound
Source: Owned by Reviewer
Genre: Paranormal Erotica
Audience: Mature (18+)
Erotic fiction with heavy themes of BDSM

My Thoughts:
This is the second of the Vampire Queen series. In the first book, The Vampire Queen's Servant, we find Jacob struggling to gain the acceptance of Lady Lyssa, to earn his third mark to become her full servant and prove to her that he has what it takes to be a human servant. Through a battle of the wills, he accomplishes his goal and they settle into a not so easy routine of preparing for the Council Meeting. The Mark of the Vampire Queen opens with a dramatic prologue, fueling the belief that Jacob and Lyssa are soul mates who have been together for centuries, through two of Jacob's previous lives. This emotional and sentimental prologue sets the tone for this second book. We have moved past the violent battle of the wills between two alphas and moved to place where lovers are struggling to protect what is theirs while enjoying the last of their time together. It is not an easy ride, as the two are far from equals, but there is a definite shift in the undercurrent of the story.

First of all, I have to say this: Best. Prologue. Ever! If I hadn't already been drawn into the story from the first book, that prologue alone would have sucked me in. It made my heart break for Lady Lyssa's loss of her Knight, while also showing me that Jacob had in fact, come to Lyssa's aid more than this once over her centuries of life. Her previous servant Thomas, the scholarly monk, held the belief that Jacob and Lyssa were soul mates and that Jacob had been in Lyssa's life twice before their current partnering. According to Thomas, Jacob comes to Lyssa when she needs him most, when her life is in danger, and her life is most certainly in danger right now. Not only is Lady Lyssa facing a terminal illness, but she is also facing the fact that she has doomed the one person on earth she has ever loved to death along with her. Together she and Jacob must find a way to save the refugees in her territory while keeping her illness a secret.

As much as I loved The Vampire Queen's Servant, I loved this one even more. The emotions were so much stronger, and I loved watching Lyssa come to terms with the fact that Jacob was more than just her servant. The two became such a unit, a true couple in many ways, through the course of this book. Lyssa finally allowed herself to be vulnerable and to trust Jacob with her heart, and she finally admitted to herself and to Jacob that she did in fact love him. Both Jacob's and Lyssa's reactions to these new-found feelings were so much fun to anticipate, and I have to admit that both characters surprised me on more than one occasion.

There was enough action and suspense to keep me guessing. I absolutely adored the scene at the faire for Jacob's birthday; total swoon moments aplenty! Through the whole book, I kept steeling myself for Lyssa's (and thus Jacob's) death. Surely they wouldn't really die, right? I mean - how could they?! All I will say about that scene is that I have never cried that hard during a book in my life. I'm talking blubbering all over my pillow, barely able to see the words to keep reading crying. 

And while the ending was absolutely perfect, it left me wanting more. Other than the complete shift in tone and emotion in this book, another significant difference for me was that I met other vampire master/servant and mistress/servant couples who I wanted to know more about. In the first book, all I cared about were Lyssa and Jacob. By the end of this book, I wanted more not only of them but also two other couples who had gained my interest. I have the third book in the series loaded into my Nook and ready to go. I can't wait to see where Ms. Hill will take me next.

Summary from Goodreads:
Full servant. With his new title, Jacob must attend to Lady Lyssa's every need, venturing into a world of passion darker than he's ever known. As a vampire hunter he wasn't prepared to embrace a world where humans are sexual commodities, but he has adapted. Now he finds the integrity of his soul challenged as he serves his Mistress's needs as fully as he services her desires. 

He loves her, though other servants warn against giving her his soul. Everyone knows that Vampires have no regard for humans, so why would a Vampiress bother treating a mere sex toy with respect? But Jacob knows a human servant is far more than that. His Mistress needs a warrior, a friend and a lover. A man who will serve her in all ways, even if he has to betray the priceless treasure of her love.

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