Sometimes the thrill of reading a series comes from the chance to revisit our favorite characters without jeopardizing their HEA. So when I started this series I was beyond excited about the whole bromance between Dragos and his sentinels, and the fact that Thea Harrison created a whole new world so well written that you can easily imagine living in it.
In this book I was expecting to read more about Dragos and Pia, and Tricks and Tiago, or maybe just have them be part of the plot. What I got was a cameo, yes they are in the background but really, really hidden so you forget about them, and the sad part is that apparently the tight group of sentinels is tight no more. I am saying this now because is basically my only complaint. It is a big issue to me, but Serpent’s Kiss ended up being an enticing story and a good addition to the series regardless of the lack of previous characters, and I enjoyed it more than Storm’s Heart which to me is the weakest book in the series.
The story starts right after the developments in Storm’s Heart. In order to save his friend’s life, Rune made a bargain with Carling, the Vampyre’s Queen. Now he is on his way to make good on his part of the deal, even if he doesn’t know exactly what Carling is going to ask of him. What Rune finds is a vampyre sentenced to death (because a disease is killing her) and he is stuck in the middle of a helpless situation. In my opinion out of the three books this is the one with the best character development; not only that, but the relationship between the hero and heroine is the most sincere and heart wrenching of the series. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for helpless love stories.
The truth is that a good part of the book is focused on their search of a cure and on Rune’s quest to bring back Carling’s will to live, something that Thea Harrison does -or writes- beautifully. We are talking about two people that have lived for thousands and thousands of years and have seen and experienced everything. It has to be pretty challenging to write about how they fall in love and achieve their happy ending. In the previous books we read about unequal partners, Dragos is older than dirt while Pia is almost a newborn; and Tricks is 200 years old which makes her a child when compared with Tiago’s thousands of years. In this book Carling and Rune are both old and powerful so we have a more equal partnership and Ms. Harrison deals with their egos in a way that will make you admire her even more.
In the second half of the book the story has more action and we get to see some of the characters from Storm’s Heart (The Medusa and the Djinn) and a new one, The Oracle, I guess she will be the heroine of the next book (The Djinn is the hero). Their introduction to the plot fits well into the universe that Ms. Harrison has created, and in a way makes up for the absence of the other sentinels. Again, I am a little worried about the way in which all of Dragos’ sentinels are going their own ways, but I have a feeling that they will reunite in the next installments.
The story focuses entirely on Rune and Carling, for some people this could be a little boring but I think it was a necessity due to the complexity of the leading characters. Rune is a bit different from the first two heroes but in a refreshing way. Carling is brooding but likeable, her emotions are dormant, and it’s Rune’s mission to awake them. Their relationship and power adds a new twist to the plot that is impossible to see coming, and the way they discover this is really enjoyable to read. Serpent’s Kiss left me wanting more and I can’t wait to read Oracle’s Moon.
Review by Marie
In order to save his friend's life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a bargain with Vampyre Queen Carling—without knowing what she would ask from him in return. But when Rune attempts to make good on his debt, he finds a woman on the edge.
Recently, Carling's Power has become erratic, forcing her followers to flee in fear. Despite the danger, Rune is drawn to the ailing Queen and decides to help her find a cure for the serpent's kiss—the vampyric disease that's killing her.
With their desire for each other escalating just as quickly as Carling's instability spirals out of control, the sentinel and the Queen will have to rely on each other if they have any hope of surviving the serpent's kiss…
Berkley Sensation. October 4, 2011.