Early Review: Taken By A Vampire (Vampire Queen #9) by Joey Hill
Reading a Joey Hill book is an intense journey through the characters’ minds, hearts, and souls, and the stories are always introspective and emotionally compelling. Taken By A Vampire strolls along at a leisurely pace, rich in the details of Evan’s, Niall’s, and Alanna’s wants, needs, and personal challenges. Because the Council plays a smaller role in the main story arc of this book, it has a softer, more whimsical feel that doesn’t center around vampire dinner parties or political maneuvering. This story reaches into the very soul of what it is to be a full (lifestyle) submissive and how dangerous it can be to live on that razor’s edge between self and service. The sex scenes are signature Joey Hill, with all the heat and build up and explosive energy fans have come to expect, but without the usual element of performance or public display. There are some voyeuristic moments, but most of the physical interaction between the characters, in all their various menage arrangements, are more personal and romantic than about power struggles or politics. Taken By A Vampire is a poignant and melancholy journey through love, life, and companionship and is a GraveTells Recommended Read!
This story is an emotional hotbed of possibilities, right from the start. Alanna is nearly broken, Niall is nearing the end of his servanthood at just over 300 years, and vampire artist Evan is quiet and seemingly fragile despite all his superior supernatural strength.
“Everyone who meets Evan can tell there’s something very different about him. There’s this deep river thing happening, as if he’s filing and comparing everything with this vast well of knowledge in his head. I think he’s carrying around the Alexandria Library in there.”
There is an aura of poignant sadness about this story, with each character facing his or her own demons and a looming sense of foreboding that both draws you to the characters and makes you think that maybe if you keep your distance you can protect them from the heartache that is sure to come. Alanna’s desire to serve is bone-deep and some of her point-of-view moments had me clutching my chest as if her need and grief were my own. And Niall. Oh, Niall, how sweet you are! This big Scottish bear of a man with his Dominant personality and soft, fragile heart is putty in Alanna’s hands. The relationship between Niall and his vampire Master Evan is a unique one, with some of the irreverence and close friendship we saw from Gideon and Daegan, but with a kinder undertone of possession and control.
“[The tattoos] must have taken a long time, especially with injections of Evan’s blood to hold the design. Was it painful?”
He gave her a short nod. Christ above, yes. He tapped the one on his chest. “Evan did this one in front of an audience. I was performance art.”
It was far more than that, Alanna.
Niall bit back a deprecation. He should have known Evan wasn’t asleep as he should be.
I didn’t realize I had a bedtime. Do you want to come spank me, Niall?
If you’d fight fair, I’d break a two-by-four over your narrow ass.
Evans art is surreal, descriptive enough to paint a vivid picture of his unique views on life and compelling enough to know that if you could just see it, you’d experience a whole other level of communion with nature and the human spirit. Between his views as a 400+ year old immortal, and Niall’s & Alanna’s end-of-life musings, this story really got me thinking about the little moments in life that matter.
“As life grows short, it’s the small moments remembered, not what war was fought, or when the rocket went to the moon. It was the day you went to the beach with your mother, or a lover’s touch in a predawn light. The true history of the individual life. That’s what interests me.”
“Niall said almost the same thing.” Reading about the history you’ve lived, a lot of it is pure bollocks. Kings and politics. The things a man remembers and history forgets are home and family. That first kiss.
Fans of Ms. Hill’s Nature of Desire series will be excited to know that Taken By a Vampire gives us a glimpse of a lovely celebration hosted by Master Tyler and several recurring characters from that universe, as well as peeks into the continuing relationships of many of the other Vampire Queen characters. I love how Ms. Hill interweaves little pieces of each of her story worlds into other, completely separate, series and enriches the tapestry of her story universe as a whole. It’s a real treat for fans who just can’t get enough of all the rich, elaborate worldbuilding and addicting characters and relationships.
“I’ll say what Evan won’t to the big, bad Council assassin. We should do everything we can to save someone like that.”
“Agreed. You know me too well. I’m spending far too much time in your company.”
“You have no other options. Anwyn and I are the only ones who can stand you.”
“Says the kettle.” Daegan fended off Gideon’s punch at his chest as the servant came to sit on the table next to him. “Careful. Show some respect to the big, bad assassin.”
Her smile is kinda homely and dodgy…
“Artists.” Niall rolled his eyes at Alanna. “Everything is a bloody production.”
“Whereas a practical Scot calls the Mona Lisa a homely lass with a dodgy smile.”
Pfft, I say!! Shopping is great exercise!
“Do you dress for his pleasure?”
“Aye. My platform heels and baby-doll nightgown drive him insane with lust.”
She tried to cover her startled laugh, but he took her fingers away, held both her hands.
“’Tis just shopping, lass. Picking out a frock. Let’s get on with it, aye? A lad loses a pint of testosterone for every minute he’s in a woman’s clothing store. If we dinnae go soon, I’ll be eyeing the purses and stockings.”
Oh, I LIKE that visual! A Hemsworth/Brody sandwich…
“Have you been with him and Niall at the same time? Because, oh my God, what woman wouldn’t die for the chance at that? Niall is just sheer Chris Hemsworth sexy, and Evan has that Adrien Brody intense artist thing happening, sans cheesy goatee . . . I think you’d just die from pleasure, having them both inside you.”
Everybody loves an accent, especially a thick, sexy Scottish one!
“Can you say ‘murder’ again? You’re so Scottish when you get mad.”
“I’m always Scottish, muirnín. No matter how far I get from the bloody place. Murder, murder, murrrdurrr. Here’s another you’ll like. Houghmagandie. That’s sex for pleasure, not for procreation, a right sinful thing, ye ken.”
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If you liked Taken By A Vampire and haven’t read the rest of Ms. Hill’s Vampire Queen series, definitely pick up Vampire Mistress and Vampire Trinity, the story of Anwyn, Daegan, and Gideon. Those are books 4-5, so you may want to just start at the beginning with The Vampire Queen’s Servant so you don’t get any spoilers.
If you enjoyed Taken By A Vampire for its intense menage romance, you may also like Kit Rocha’s Beyond Shame and Tymber Dalton’s Love Slave For Two. Both are contemporary romances, with Beyond Shame set in a dystopian alternative future where gangs rule the sectors outside Eden and the O’Kanes live their life with honor, excess, and exhibitionism. Love Slave For Two is a more traditional Master/slave story with m/m/f (and other combos) action and is a sweet romance that starts an entire series about this trio of characters.
Rating: Taken By A Vampire