Review: A Vampire’s Claim (The Vampire Queen series #3), by Joey W. Hill
A drifter haunted by a brutal past, Devlin is a bushman who lives a lonely life on the edge in the Australian Outback. At the tender young age of 200 years old, Lady Daniela, a rare “born” vampire who is heiress to her own province in Oz, is sought after by scheming male vampires trying to increase their own standing who are willing to kill or viciously torture her to achieve their goals. Danny has never had a fully-marked human servant and Dev willingly submits to no one, but their unlikely emergency partnership could take them on an emotional journey neither is prepared for.
- Title: A Vampire’s Claim
- Series: The Vampire Queen series – book #3
- Author: Joey W. Hill
- Prominent Characters: Lady Daniela, Devlin
- Recommended reader age: 18+
- Sexual content level: heavy and explicit (vulgar language typical of erotica, includes group scenes and alternate sexual partnerings)
*** This review is spoiler-free! Read on with confidence. =) ***
This book is number three in the series, but it could actually be read before the first two novels (The Vampire Queen’s Servant and The Mark of the Vampire Queen). It’s set in the 1950s, a good 5 decades before Lyssa and Jacob’s books, and tells the story of Dev and Lady D, both of whom we met in the second book, The Mark of the Vampire Queen.
Dev’s backstory is violent and haunting, and his journey through the emotional minefield of becoming a fully-marked and willing human servant to Danny is uneasy at best. This book delves into the psychology of war and loss, and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the uncomfortably adventurous potential of the sex scenes. At his lady’s insistence, Dev uses their tenuous connection as his emotional outlet, while she fights her own battle against dealing with her feelings for Dev and his proper place in her life.
I thoroughly enjoyed the second book (and the second half of the first), but I had a tough time getting into this one due to its intense gravity. This is no flighty love story! It is raw and intense, gratifying and punishing, violent and seductive. While Dev is pushed past some of his natural straight-male sexual boundaries, I feel that some readers will be right there with him, part enthralled and part horrified at the dark places Danny takes him.
I really enjoyed getting to see Thomas and his interaction with Lyssa, as well as Alistair and Nina, the parents of born vampire Brian from the first two books. Personally, I’m not into survival stories or rugged treks across dangerous wild territories, so the setting in this novel was a little off-putting for me. While I loved Dev’s personality and the way he competently handles so many diverse situations, I just did not like reading about the Australian Outback and the woes of never-ending mosquitoes and other nasty creepy crawlies. The sex scenes are hot, so no complaint there (although it’s going to be pretty hard to surpass the awesomeness that is the Council gathering in The Mark of the Vampire Queen!), but they are explicit and vulgarly worded, so readers who are new to erotica will have a shock or two in store until they get used to the cadence of the writing.
So complex, the relationship between vampire and servant…
“We’re not pets. We’re human servants to vampires, and it’s a relationship like nothing you’ve ever had in your life. Tell yourself you love her or don’t love her. It doesn’t matter. If you are meant to be her full servant, you are bound together in a a way that would tear out your heart and half the things in your gut if you decided to walk away from it.”
If you like A Vampire’s Claim of The Vampire Queen series…
If you enjoyed A Vampire’s Claim and the rest of the Vampire Queen series for its hard-hitting emotional impact, you may also like the Black Dagger Brotherhood series (starting with Dark Lover) by J.R. Ward and the Psy/Changeling series (starting with Slave to Sensation) by Nalini Singh. Although the Psy/Changeling series features shapeshifters and psychics rather than vampires, the relationships between the characters are intense and the bonds extremely strong. Both of these series will make you laugh, cry, and just about everything in between! Highly recommended reads.
If you liked A Vampire’s Claim for its heavy sexual content and explicivity, check out the Meredith Gentry series (starting with A Kiss of Shadows) and the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton. The Anita Blake series starts with Guilty Pleasures, but the erotica aspect doesn’t become the dominant component of the stories until Narcissus in Chains (book #10). You can’t really safely start halfway through the series, but there are a few wikis and fansites out there that will give you an overview if you choose to skip the horror-focused first half.
Overall excellent character development and plotlines, and seriously intense relationships both between the characters and growth within themselves. If not for my city girl aversion to all-things-unsophisticated, I would probably have scored this one much higher. As it is, I enjoyed it but have no plans to read it again from start to finish… maybe just some snippets here and there. *grin*
|4.25 fangs: Bite it!|
http://www.storywitch.com/ (The Vampire Queen series website)
http://www.jrward.com/ (The Black Dagger Brotherhood series website)
http://www.nalinisingh.com/ (The Psy/Changeling series website)
http://www.laurellkhamilton.org/ (The Merry Gentry & Anita Blake series websites)
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