Monday, January 29, 2018

ARC Review: The Emerald Lily by Juliette Cross

Series:     Vampire Blood #4
Pub. Date:Jan. 29, 2018
Length:281 pages

The Emerald Lily is the conclusion to Juliette Cross' Vampire Blood series, which featured retellings of some of our favorite fairy tales including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and now, Sleeping Beauty. These were all really unique stories loosely based on the original fairy tales with some very grown up twists. I do not recommend reading these stories as standalones, you will want the continuing story arc that starts with our Cinderella vampire slayer in The Black Lily

The final heroine of the series is Vilhelmina "Mina" Dragomir, the fair blonde princess and heir to Arkadia, and the former betrothed of Prince Marius Varis. As punishment for her betrayal to the villainous Queen Morgrid, Mina was put into a bloodless sleep, a form of starvation torture for vampires. But fate decreed that Mina would be awoken from her sleep by a blood kiss from a dark prince, and it would set her on the path to fulfilling her destiny. I have liked Mina from the outset in The Black Lily. I hated that she lost her friend and blood servant, but I liked that she came out of her sleep with a mind for vengeance and justice. Over the course of the story, we will watch Mina go through a period of personal growth and self-actualization. She became quite a strong heroine before it was all said and done. 

Our dark prince in this installment is Mikhail Romanov, captain of the Blood Guard, the band of mercenaries that fight for justice and against those rules in the Glass Tower. I was totally digging Mikhail in the last book, The White Lily, and I was waiting for his story with grabby hands. Mikhail is dark and mysterious and lethal... and I thought the cover model on this book was a good representation of his character. It was easy to get wrapped up in Mikhail's turmoil over his duty to the Blood Guard and his growing feelings toward Mina. I thought the mystery of Mikhail's past and origins added a fascinating aspect to his character, and I enjoyed watching that get revealed.

The relationship between Mina and Mikhail was intense and a bit tumultuous due to Mikhail's aforementioned turmoil between duty and love. I loved that Mina was determined to get what she wanted even if she had to use her feminine wiles to tempt Mikhail until his control snapped. And I certainly loved seeing that hard won control snap to reveal Mikhail's alpha tendencies and passionate side. I think these two were paired well together.

As this was the end to the series, things come to a head between the Black Lily rebellion and Morgrid and Dominick's evil. I can't decide who I hated more - Morgrid or Dominick. They both had sadistic proclivities... Dominick's were more sadistically sexual and Morgrid's leaned more toward violent darkness. Neither villain inspired any sympathy on my part and I couldn't wait to see how they were defeated. 

Only one thing bothered me about this book and that was a word choice, specifically the copious use of "till" instead of "until." I know that the use of "till" as a preposition dates back to Old English/Norse, but it just didn't work for me and once I saw it, I couldn't unsee it. So it threw me out of the story every time I saw it. I couldn't stop thinking of a farmer out tilling his field. Most people probably won't have a problem with this, and I probably would not have either if I had been in a better mood this week.

If you like retellings and/or fantasy romance, I highly encourage this series, or any other book by this author. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Entangled.

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Vampire Blood

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