For those readers who haven’t yet picked up any of the Elder Races series by Thea Harrison, all I have to say is “what are you waiting for?!” *wink* Serpent’s Kiss is the third book in Harrion’s series, though as a PNR book you can definitely read this without having read the first two, Dragon Bound and Storm’s Heart.
Recently, Vampire Queen Carling’s power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee. Wyr sentinel Rune is drawn to the ailing Queen and decides to help find a cure for the serpent’s kiss-the vampyric disease that’s killing her. With their desire for each other escalating they will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent’s kiss…
We first meet Rune in Dragon Bound, but we don’t really get to learn much about him. I was anxiously awaiting his book because I wanted to see how Ms. Harrison gets this playboy to settle down. Apparently that Wyr mating instinct is pretty darn powerful (duh, I know right? *grin*). Rune is this timeless man (and by timeless I mean he came to being at the dawn of time for lack of better wording), but his mannerisms and vocabulary are completely modern and you’d never know this ancient being is really as old and powerful as he is. In fact, his particular kind of power becomes very important.
After the events in Storm’s Heart, Rune owes Carling, the mysterious and uber Powerful (and kind of scary) vampire queen a favor…any favor…of her choosing and he is magically bound to honor that favor. In Serpent’s Kiss, Rune packs up to go fulfill his promise and no one can guess what the queen has in store for Rune. Turns out, that favor is taken care of pretty early on, but Rune ends up finding himself extremely taken with the queen. So of course, he does what any sensible man does when ordered to leave…he refuses, partly because he doesn’t take orders from just anyone, but mostly because he has already started to care for Carling. You see, Carling is going through some sort of weird “evolution”, one that may just lead to her final death and Rune is both intrigued (as to the cure) and determined to stay and help Carling continue her research into the “problem” and work towards a solution.
Carling turns out to be not all scary vampyre, like how she is portrayed when we met back in Storm’s Heart. Is she powerful? Without a doubt. Would I want to get on her bad side? Not in any lifetime. However, in her own way, Carling is a caring and compassionate creature. She makes sure her progeny and staff are well taken care of and even when she sends one of her most trusted away for good, something she has been planning for decades, she made sure to establish a nice nest egg for this vampyre so she would never want for anything. As she spends more and more time with Rune, her attraction grows and she finds herself also caring for, and shockingly falling in love with, and protective of him as well.
Ms. Harrison weaves a brilliant story. There is Greek and Egyptian mythology involved and the way she intertwines all the various plot points is nothing short of brilliant. From page one I was engulfed and only reluctantly put it down only because RL called :(. The story is very well paced and I would get so caught up in what was happening on each page that when some of the events came together, I was kind of shocked (but then as I considered earlier events, it made complete sense and I should have seen it coming). Carling and Rune are great together. At first glance they’re an unlikely match, but Ms. Harrison’s attention to detail and fantastic ability to weave and spin and build that web makes them completely complimentary and perfect for one another. I think I should stop here otherwise I may get out of hand and start rambling on and on about how good Serpent’s Kiss is and that you need to go and buy it or borrow it NOW.