Oct 4, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 15 Comments

Review: Serpent’s Kiss by Thea Harrison (Elder Races #3)

Paranormal Romance
October 4 2011
Mass Market Paperback
304 pages
Berkley
Received from publisher

Yummy Man – Rune
Kick Ass Chick – Carling

From Goodreads –
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…

———

Serpent’s Kiss is the third book in Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series.  I adored the first book.  I really enjoyed the second book.  I loved this book.  Thea’s writing is so solid, her world so well constructed, her characters so darned likable, it’s almost impossible not to think these books are simply wonderful.

Now normally in a paranormal romance series where each book focuses on a different couple we find out about the hero’s past and the heroine’s past and of course we witness the couple finding out how they can’t live without each other.  The ‘normal’ was a little different in Serpent’s Kiss.  We find out some about Carling’s past, but not much about Rune.  But you know, it’s all good.  Rune came into existence pretty much at the beginning of time.  He has been feared and revered, and in many ways he still is.  So really, there isn’t much to say about his past.  Don’t worry, I didn’t feel like I missed anything and I don’t think you will either.  His past story is just really not necessary.  And even though we don’t get a whole lot about Carling and how she came into power, what we got is fitting to the story and helps us, not only to see her in a slightly more human light, but also to see Rune’s incredibly tender and romantic side.

*sigh* Rune…  I love Rune.  He’s an alpha male but he’s not all Neanderthal.  He understands that Carling is a strong woman used to getting her way and if he tried to tell her what to do all the time, he’d lose her.  Doesn’t mean he doesn’t try, it just means that he keeps himself in check more often than not.  It’s actually a mix of cute and funny to watch him struggle with it.  But all in all, he knows how he is and he is not about to change who or what he is nor is he apologetic for it.  And ladies, Rune is such a sweetheart!  He’s also super laid back and really accustomed himself to modern times.  His dialogue, his mannerisms and his demeanor is all so against his actual self – the huge, powerful and scary Gryphon.  I love that about him.  He was before this book and he remains after his book one of my favorite characters in this series.

Carling was not how I was expecting her to be.  In the last book, she seemed like such a smart, clever and conniving b*tch – but in a good way.  But that was her public face.  The truth is she is slowly losing her focus and her Power is becoming unsteady.  In a Vampyre, these are signs that their end is coming soon.  Carling has come to terms with that fact that she is dying…but Rune hasn’t.  For some odd reason, he won’t let her go.  Thea weaves such an intricate story with Rune and Carling.  How things are familiar yet not with these two is really neat, and how it all happened is even neater.  And don’t get me wrong when I say that Carling is not the cold woman she was in the previous book.  She may have come to be comfortable with the idea of her end, but I did not find it made her weak.  Yes, she was somewhat helpless when she would fade, but you always felt that this was a woman you did not want to mess with.  I love how we got to witness her transform too.  All really fun to read.

I loved seeing Carling with her dog.  That dog was funny and I believe he did a lot to help us see the softer side to Carling – the side that Rune would fall in love with.  The side that made us relate to her too.  Because if she was like she was in the last book, I would have enjoyed reading her but I don’t believe I would have been able to relate to her as much as I did.

The story this time around is much quieter than the last two.  There is some action and kick butt scenes, but mostly the plot focuses on Carling and how she and Rune are trying to figure out how to stop her from fading.  I love it when, in a romance book, I see a lot of the couple all alone on the page.  I’m not strictly talking hanky-panky alone time, but quality getting to know each other time.  There is a lot of that in this book and that made me very happy.

I find Thea’s talent of writing couples to be wonderful.  In each book, she has shown us an entirely different dynamic.  Each couple is so different, yet each is amazing.  And the next couple looks like they will be just as different as the first three have proven to be.

We see a little more of Khalil, the Djinn who is to be the hero in the next book, Oracle’s Moon.  We also meet Grace, his heroine.  Khalil is drawn to Grace, that much is clear, but she really doesn’t want anything to do with him.  She is spunky and trying to deal with the situation she has been thrown into.  It should be interesting to see how things develop with these two, even though neither are part of Dragos’ immediate circle and that means that we may not see the characters we love so much in this fourth book.  Oracle’s Moon is due in stores March 6th 2012.

I was hoping Rune wouldn’t up and leave Dragos like Tiago did because I really enjoy his character and want to keep seeing him in each and every Elder Races book Thea writes.  Now, I’m not going to tell you whether or not he does, but I will say that I thought things were going one way, then I thought they were going another way, then they ended up going a completely different way.  We’ll just have to see where things ultimately end up where Rune and Carling and where they end up calling home, hopefully in future books.  Hopefully in every book.

In my review for Dragon Bound, I mentioned that I don’t recall being this excited about a new Paranormal Romance series by a new to the genre author…and I’m still super excited about it after three books.  These books are on my keeper shelf and will live a long and happy life there.  The only down side about loving these books so much is that after being spoiled and getting three books in less than a year, we now have to wait a little bit for the next book.  But it will be worth the wait.  After all, Thea is writing it.  And Thea writes gems.

5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“’Don’t worry, darling Carling,’ he said.  ‘I won’t let you fall.’

Darling Carling.  She found herself grinning.  What a truly awful endearment.  Only he could pull off something so ridiculous.”

—–

“’Are you purring at me?’

‘I might be,’ Rune said.  His deep voice was rougher, and lazy with intimacy.  ‘Unless you’ve done something wrong.  Then I’m growling at you again.’”

Sigh worthy quotes

“’Rune,’ she murmured again, and the previous shock in her voice turned throaty.

‘Darling Carling,’ he said very low.  He paused and shuddered, and something like pain caused his face to spasm.  ‘Just fucking say it.’

Desire is vulnerability.  But they were all alone, just them and the moonlight, and the moon never told the secrets of what she saw.  So Carling took hold of every scrap of her courage and said it.

‘I want you too.’”

—–

“I will never leave you.  I will never let you go.  I will not let you fall, or fail.  I will always come for you if you leave, always find you if you’re lost.  Always.”

Books in the Elder Races series –
Dragon Bound
Storm’s Heart
Serpent’s Kiss
Oracle’s Moon (2012)

  1. I’m starting book 2 tomorrow and will buy book 3 when I go to Thea’s signing on Saturday! That last quote totally has me swooning 🙂

  2. I cannot wait to read this book!
    Great review!

  3. Paranormal Haven – Rune is SO SWEET!!! Love him! Can’t wait to see what you think of the books! 🙂

    CdnMrs – Good book. Good good book. 😉

  4. It’s a testament to the series that each book speaks to different readers. This one wasn’t my favorite. I think Storm’s Heart has been the best for me so far, but I really love the whole series in its entirety. I’m really excited about Khalil’s book too!

  5. Wow…wow…wow…I know I’ve mentioned that I REALLY need to read this series and now it’s official! I will just have to wait for a little bit but I’m going to put them down to be reviewed in January!!!! I’ve been putting them off way to long…not on purpous, just keep having such great books pop up!

  6. *ack* I need to go to the bookstore today! Great review, Julie! I cannot wait to read this one!

  7. Yay that you keep on loving these 🙂

  8. Wow. A really great in-depth review. I am really excited to read this, but will admit that neither Rune nor Carling excite me. I am looking forward to that fact changing! Really excited that the djinn has more airtime. SO curious about that one!

  9. Jen – I remember reading your review and thinking that same thing about how each book is different for each person. I think it’s a sign that Thea writes so well that she can attract different readers with one series. 🙂

    Deanna – You’ll get to it eventually…but really make sure it’s up there on your list!

    Christi – Can’t wait to see what you think!

    blodeuedd – I feel sad that you didn’t take to them…but what can you do. At least there is no shortage of books you do enjoy! 😉

    Smash Attack – I’m curious to see what you think Ash. I’ve heard some say they found this book too ‘quiet’ – but I liked that about it because it made us focus on the couple and not only on the action. 🙂

  10. Great Review! do you think I could go right to this book without listening to the previous book? I wasn’t interested in reading or listening the second one, the narrator turned me off to the heroine in the second book( it happens) so I’ve only listened to the first one, Dragon Bound, wich I loved, but now don’t know if I could go right to this one.

  11. Lupdilup – I’ll tweet you! 🙂

  12. I still need to read book two but this one sounds fab. That last quote is a heart stopper.

  13. Great review! I read this the other day and we’ve both highlighted some of the same quotes which made me giggle!

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