I know I’m really late with the next Night Huntress Read-Along discussion, but I have no excuse except for Winter Break and the fact that I just couldn’t get into Eternal Kiss of Darkness. This discussion focuses on the two spin-off novels, Spade’s romance with Denise in First Drop of Crimson and Mencheres’ romance with Kira in Eternal Kiss of Darkness.
First Drop of Crimson
Denise finds out that her ancestor, Nathaniel, sold his sold to a demon, Raum, and then backed out of the bargain. Raum has now returned and is looking for Nathaniel via his descendents.
If I find Nathanial, bring him to Raum, I get these brands off and Raum leaves the rest of my family alone.
Upon searching for Nathaniel, Spade and Denise encounter the vampire drug Red Dragon, which they find out comes from the blood of a demon-branded human.
His hair was pure black, lifting in what looked to be a natural spike off his crown to hang in shiny waves down to his shoulders. Brows the same inky color framed burnt-amber eyes. Both were in vivid contrast to his skin, which had the beautiful crystal palenes that marked him as a vampire. Even sitting, he was obviously very tall, but his height didn’t look awkward on him as it did with some people. No, Spade towered over people around him with a straight-spined confidence, his long limbs moving with grace and precision.
Spade first sees Denise during the holiday party he attends with Cat & Bones during At Grave’s End.
Spade walked in, and the first thing he’d noticed had been a dark-haired woman, her head thrown back in laughter over something Cat said. The woman glanced in his direction a moment later, as if she’d felt him watching her. Her full mouth was still open in mirth, but it was her direct gaze that snared his attention. That, and the unfamiliar charge that went through him as he stared.
Spade has not had any human attachments for over 150 years, after the death of his last human girlfriend.
Spade’s origin: Spade was the son of an earl who was imprisoned in Newgate until Spade could repay off all of his father’s debt. Knowing that his father would not survive, Spade asked to trade his father’s debt to him, and that he serve his father’s sentence. Ultimately, Spade was sent to the colonies as a prisoner, where he meant Bones and Ian.
“After several days of enduring my silent disdain, Ian began to bait me. Said I must have been the bastard son of a fishmonger born with no tongue, or some such. Finally I informed them all rather snootily that I was Baron Charles Thomas DeMortimer, a nobleman and not deserving of my circumstances. I thought Crispin had been sleeping, but at that, he opened one eye and said, ‘DeMortimer, aye? Blue bedchamber, purple drapes, bloody what were you thinking with all those peacock feathers everywhere?’”
With Denise’s connections to the vampire world, she’s coerced into looking for Nathaniel among the vampires.
“I can’t go into their world, but you can. Find him for me. Bring him to me, and I’ll leave you and the rest of his spawn alone.”
Upon agreeing to hunt Nathaniel, Raum brands Denise with star-shaped shadows, which also makes her immortal and fast.
When Denise first saw Spade, she:
had been chatting with Cat when she suddenly felt compelled to glance up. A stranger lounged in the doorway, his black hair dusted with snowflakes and his intense gaze lasered on her. As she stared at him, the weirdest shiver rippled through Denise.
Due to her experiences, Denise does not want anything to do with the vampire world at first; but as she becomes attached to Spade, she’s willing to live in their world with him, just not as a vampire. She offers Spade a compromise of drinking his blood, to lengthen her life span, instead of turning.
While Denise has no desire to be a vampire, she’s no longer mortal either.
“You don’t get what these brands are, do you? If they’d let me speak to you before, I could have told you. They’re extensions of Raum’s power. All his power, including his regenerative power. So just like nothing but the bone knife can kill a demon, nothing but that bone knife can kill someone branded by a demon.”
Raum is a corporeal demon.
Web is a Master vampire who controls the Red Dragon trade.
Ian makes an appearance, which ends up causing more than one surprise for Spade and Bones.
“I know I’m a rotten bastard, but there are four people in the world I’d never see come to harm, even at the cost of my own life,” Ian said in a steady voice, turquoise gaze clear. “Two of them are here, yet neither of them trusts me. Believe me, even ruthless sods like me can be hurt by that.”
“Yet you do lie, Ian, and you do manipulate, even the two of us,” Crispin said quietly.
“Over little, insignificant things. Never over something that could mean your lives. Blimey, Crispin, you humiliated me over Cat, yet did I seek revenge? No. I went to bloody war for you less than a year later. I’ll own what I am, but don’t label me what I’m not when it comes to either of you.”
Humans. Aside from tasting delicious, they were usually more trouble than they were worth.
Villains of the world, beware! I can eat you under the table AND gross you out with my monster paws!
“Lucifer’s bouncing balls, that’s why you’re acting like a nutter!”
Eternal Kiss of Darkness:
Menchere must finally face his millennial old rival, Radejdef.
“That is true, which is why I gave Bones the gift of my power when I merged lines with his.”
“Power that should have ben mine to begin with!” Radjedef exclaimed!
After four thousand years of seeing glimpses of the future, to suddenly have his visions gone was as crippling as it was unexpected.
Mencheres is Egyptian and looks to be in his mid-twenties. He has the abilities of telepathy and telekinesis as well as an understanding of black magic.
Mencheres is a modernized version of the name he was born with, Menkaure.
Kira is the first vampire Mencheres has turned in over 100 years.
Kira is also the first vampire who has no ulterior motives when it comes to wanting a friendship.
Kira tried to save him, acting without the influence of his heritage, status, power, wealth, or charisma. She’d risked her life without expecting a single thing in return. No one had done such a thing for him. Ever.
Mencheres was the recipient of his sire’s power legacy, something that can only be passed on after it’s been mastered by the vampire who has it, and originated with Cain. Mencheres gave his power legacy to Bones when they merged lines.
Cain thus became the first vampire, dependent on blood for sustenance but beyond mortal death and possessing incredible power. Cain then made his own race to replace the family he’d been driven away from, but to only one of his offspring did he will out a portion of his incredible power. Enoch was the first recipient, and many centries later, Enoch passed on Cain’s legacy of power to his heir, Tenoch, who then passed it to me [Mencheres].
Kira stumbles upon Mencheres while he’s fighting with ghouls and tries to save him. She ends up mortally wounded and Mencheres saves her life with his blood.
Kira is immuned to Menchere’s telepathy and is unable to be mesmerized into forgetting about earlier events.
In Greek, Kira’s name means “lady”. In Celtic, it means “dark”.
Radjedef is an Egyptian vampire who was part of a line of rulers that reign for a certain number of years, as vampires, before abdicating to a heir. Radje did not want to give up his power when his time came and went about trying to keep it. When he was unsuccessful in ousting the latest heir, Mencheres, from power, he was removed from the kingdom.
Radje’s resentment is due to a gift of power Mencheres receives that was originally meant for Radje.
Vlad makes an appearance and we get to hear more of his early days as a young vampire.
“I was the last vampire Tenoch made, though he left you to care for me along with the rest of the dependent members of his line when he killed himself mere weeks after siring me.”
Why you and Cat care so much for that street peasant, I will never know.”
“Because we see deeper into him than you bother to look,” Mencheres replied. “You were worse at his age. I remember; I was there.”
We also get to see more of the Law Guardian, Veritas, who looks like a blood teenager.
“That’s Veritas?” Kira blurted. The powerful Law Guardian that Mencheres and Vlad had spoken of in such cautious tones? She didn’t even look old enough to drive a car!
Veritas was also turned by Menchere’s sire Tenoch, as well Vlad, and it seems that Veritas also received a little Black Magic training.
“So, Mencheres the Egyptian vampire, are you really old, or are you as young as you look?”
“I’m older than dirt,” he answered dryly.
“A vampire with a sense of humor. I really didn’t know that existed.”
“Bath toys are reserved only for the oldest, most lethal vampires. I have a full century to age and another thousand men to kill before I reach that hallowed landmark.”
Demons are rare and always lie.
There are two types of demons – corporeal and incorporeal.
- Corporal demons cannot enter a private residence without an invitation, are unable to be about during the day, and can be injured by salt.
- Incorporeal demons are merely possessed humans. They can go wherever and whenever they want and salt does not affect them.
A demons brands are permanent symbols representing a demon’s power and are strengthened each time the human comes into contact with the demon.
Red Dragon is a vampire drug made from the blood of a demon-branded human.
Consuming or selling Red Dragon was against vampire law. After all, hallucinating, out-of-control vampires threatened the secrecy of the race.
Do you have a favorite between First Drop of Crimson and Eternal Kiss of Darkness? I know I do. I’m not sure what it is, but Eternal Kiss of Darkness. just wasn’t on the same level as the rest of the Night Huntress novels. I think a lot of it was you can definitely tell this was more of a romance novel than urban fantasy like the rest of the series. I’m not sure.
So what did you think of Spade and Menchere’s romance escapades? What was your favorite part? Did I miss something important in either of the books?
I’m still doing the Read-Along, and plan to have all the discussion posted prior to the release of Up from the Grave, but I’m going to have to adjust the schedule a little. I’m obviously behind by two discussions, so Monday won’t be all about Vlad. So here’s an updated schedule:
- Jan 21st: This Side of the Grave (Read the first 20% here)
- Jan 23rd: One Grave at a Time (Read the first 20% here)
- Jan 25th: Once Burned (Read the first 20% here) and Twice Tempted (Read the first 20% here)
- Jan 27th: Novellas
My apologies for the delay in the Read-Along, but I hope everyone is still with me, or at the very least, enjoying these recaps.