I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison
This paranormal romance is a paperback edition was published by Berkley Sensation on October 4, 2011 and has 336 pages.
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Other books by this author include Dragon Bound, Storm's Heart, Pia Saves the Day, Falling Light, "Dragos Meets Stinkpot"
Third in the Elder Races paranormal romance series revolving around Dragos Culebre and his Sentinels. This particular story takes place off the shore from San Francisco. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Elder Races books on my website.
Oh, man, this one is complex. How Harrison ever came up with such a twisty, turny set of encounters I will never understand. Just riddle me this..!
Harrison gives a nice twist in Rune’s acceptance of his obligation with submission as power with a bit of interpretation.
Oh, crack me up! I love it when the pilot of the Culebre jet announces that they’ll be landing at SFO, “I am required by FAA regulations…blah blah…seat belt…blah…” Ya gotta wonder how many pilots are thinking this in real life, LOL. Rune’s response is that he had considered just opening the door and flying out himself. Cheeky boy.
It’s a fascinating ride back into history as we revisit parts of Carling’s life, the origin of her name, the final reveal of Rune’s true purpose. But then that anomaly in Harrison’s writing crops up when Dragos makes his demand. It’s just too out of the blue. It’s like Harrison was suddenly running out of time or paper, and she had to do…well…something. There’s a blip, too, with the Elder Tribunal’s decision based on one power-mad person using a thwarted child’s petulance. It makes no sense that there is no investigation of any sort.
Rune flies to SF to fulfill his promise to Carling. Turns out she’s dying, and Rune has been showing up in her past every time she’s about to “die”.
Time for desperate measures, measures we don’t understand until the very end as Carling struggles to die. Or not. She has investigated every possibility she can imagine. Gathered more books than anyone could believe exist. And. Nothing. All her hopes are pinned on Rune’s help. A help she spurns almost immediately. A quick end just as Rune and Dragos had wanted.
But chivalry will out as well as curiosity, and Rune forces his presence on Carling. A closeness that is quickly resented and returned with betrayal. It’s those damned shifts that occur in time…and it’s coming back to bite them.
Carling Severan is a vampyre, a sorceress, and the Vampyre Councillor of the Elder Tribunal, a post she has held for much too long in a life she has clung to for even longer. Rhoswen is her assistant. The only one to stay with her on her island. Rasputin is the mutt Carling has taken in. And cooks for! Just ask Rune how tasty! Rufio is in charge of her SF house. Duncan Turner is another of Carling’s children and the lawyer who sets the terms for Rune. Julian Regillus is another of her children and the current Nightkind King, taking over from Carling when she accepted the seat on the Tribunal.
Rune Ainissesthai is Drago’s First Sentinel, a shapeshifting gryphon, and he owes Carling for her help in Storm’s Heart. Hey, what’s not to like. Six-foot four of gorgeousness, he “likes chick flicks and women’s fashions, …[and]…he also knew how to stop and ask for directions…” And Rune certainly takes advantage of his appreciation for feminine clothing.
Dragos Culebre is Rune’s boss, a dragon shifter, and the leader of the Wyrkind based in New York. Pia is his pregnant mate. Aryal, the harpy investigator, is one of his Sentinels.
Dr. Seremela Telemar, a medusa who works at the Cook County Morgue in Chicago, is called in for her opinion. Kahlil is a Djinn who owes Carling some big favors.
The Elder Races are made up of…
…the Wyrkind (based in New York), the Light Fae (centered in Charleston, South Carolina) and Dark Fae (based in Chicago and ruled over by Niniane), Demonkind (Houston), Nightkind (vampires took over San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest)), “human witches (Louisville), and all manner of monstrous creatures”. Councillor Soren represents demonkind on the Elder Tribunal while Jaggar Berg is the Wyr, Olivia Dearling reps the Light Fae, Sidhiel Raina the Elves, and Archer Harrow the witches. Xavier del Torro is a vampyre hunter and Julian’s second-in-command. The Oracle, Grace Andreas, lives in Louisville where she cares for her orphaned niece and nephew, Chloe and Max.
The Cover and Title
It’s all grayed-down oranges with Rune in a V-neck tee emblazoned with his rune and loose-fitting jeans with his hands on his hips and a quizzical look as he stands on top of a hill on Carling’s island. A gryphon rune blazes in the sky and in the background, the twisty shore of the island providing an undulating horizon with the Northern California shore in the background.
It’s the Serpent’s Kiss that started an entire group of supernaturals, one that has culminated in Carling.