Monday, June 19, 2017

ARC Review: The Red Lily by Juliette Cross

Series:     Vampire Blood #2
Pub. Date:June 19, 2017
Length:298 pages

Juliette Cross has delivered another vampiric retelling of a favorite fairytale with a revolutionary twist. I recommend reading this series in order so that you may following the continuing story arc, and get the full fairytale experience. 

The first book, The Black Lily, is based on Cinderella, if she were a vampire hunter falling in love with a vampire prince. The tales continue in The Red Lily, which is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood, where our hero and heroine face danger to aid in the revolutionary endeavors of The Black Lily. Those endeavors being freeing humans from vampire enslavement and violence against their person.

Our heroine and Little Red Riding Hood character is Sienna, who fled the life of a lady and an undesirable betrothal to live in the magical and mysterious Silvane Forest with her grandmother. The forest seems to have changed Sienna, though she has yet to unlock the power she sometimes feels coursing through her body.  I loved the magicality* of Sienna's character and her relationship with the hart wolves. I could totally see myself going off and living in a small cabin in the woods with only the animals for company, so I particularly liked this aspect of the story. Of course having a handsome and humorous hero invade my bed demesne wouldn't hurt things one bit. I wish we knew just a little more about Sienna's backstory, though Juliette certainly put her through the ringer in the present. I was surprised at the strife Sienna suffered in the course of the story, but it caused me to forge an emotional connection to her character. These aspects of the story reminded me of the darker aspects of the fairytales that often didn't make it into the watered-down children's stories.

On this journey with Sienna, we have Nikkolai, former lieutenant of the Crown's Royal Legionnaires, and best friend to Prince Marius. Nikkolai chose to accompany his prince in exile as they build the Black Lily's army to fight Queen Morgrid and her sanguine furorem. Though this particular task, squiring a red-haired temptress across the kingdom, is certainly no hardship to our handsome hero. In fact, he may just have planned the whole thing! Nikkolai was an awesome hero, one who I would call attractively arrogant. Yes, he is confident... but in a fun-loving and flirty way.  
The things I want to do to you, sweetheart. They are not good. But they would feel... delicious.
The relationship between these two was anticipatorily* steamy. We had Nikkolai making statements like the above, telling Sienna from the beginning that the writing was on the wall as to where they would end up (between the sheets). It added delicious tension and that anticipatory build up that I love to see in romance. When push came to shove, Nikkolai definitely delivered on the promise of his words and steamed up my kindle quite a bit. Let me tell ya, I wouldn't kick him out of bed for eating crackers.

We didn't see a ton of revolutionary activity in this installment. Instead, we have Sienna and Nikkolai recruiting for the cause. Our plot conflict comes into play with the Legionnaires trying to stop them along the way, and doing so in a brutal fashion. I thought there as a good balance of romance with other aspects of the story, including the plot conflict and foretelling for the next installment of the series. I am looking forward to what will happen in The White Lily, which I suspect will feature Mina as the heroine.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Entangled.

*Yeah, I probably made up those words. 

Vampire Blood

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