Wednesday, 16 April 2014

One Bite (Blood Prince #2) by Jennifer Blackstream


OnIrina is determined to continue her fight for freedom. Freedom for her from her evil sorceress stepmother, and freedom for every faction in the kingdom of Dacia. Unfortunately, her stepmother isn’t about to let that happen and she’s got a poisoned apple and a glass coffin with Irina’s name on them…

Kirill is a vampire prince determined to be a vampire king. Unfortunately, his vampiric father has no intentions of vacating the throne anytime soon and the prophecy Kirill found hinting at a “Great New Kingdom” is proving tricky to translate. It doesn’t help that the beautiful woman he found unconscious in the woods seems determined to undermine his authority at every turn. He’d kill her himself if she didn’t have the strangest gift for soothing his bloodthirsty spirit.

Even an undead mastermind can’t foresee everything. Seven dwarves. A poison apple. A glass coffin. It’s a strange and terrifying world when events can take a turn for the better or worse with just … One Bite.

The first book in this series, Before Midnight, took the traditional Cinderella tale, spun it around, added new elements and a much darker atmosphere and produced an exciting version with a werewolf prince. One of the things I appreciated about it  is the Prince is more than merely Charming – he comes with complete with rough spots, the occasional dent, and a lot of tarnish.

This book does the same for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The vampire prince of this story is only charming when it serves his political agenda, and does he have an agenda! Not born a vampire, he was raised to be the next king. But now that his whole family has become vampires his inheritance is iffy to say the least. To say that our hero finds that unacceptable is an understatement. Machiavelli would have found his plotting admirable.

Enter our heroine, who the prince finds injured in in the woods. He delivers her to the nearby cottage of the seven dwarves and moves on, not truly expecting to ever see her again. And you know what happens then, she plays Susie Homemaker for the dwarves until she’s well enough to pursue her own agenda. You see, Irena is a crusader, believing in truth, justice, and equality for all members of the kingdom. When she shows up at the Prince’s door to examine his intentions for the kingdom, he is stunned. He had thought about her but assumed that she would be both obsequious and grateful for his condescension and aid. As the story progresses, he wavers between wanting to kill her and kiss her. Guess which side wins!

Of course there’s the requisite wicked stepmother and poisoned apple and let’s not forget the glass coffin, but even they have a new twist. To rescue his beloved the prince is going to have to learn to ask nicely for help. Machiavelli would shudder.

One of my favorite bits is the fact that the Prince’s family was assassinated and rose as vampires because the King had been having them all drink blood as part of his interpretation of an ancient prophecy. I can’t help thinking that if that got around a lot of people would be sharpening the carving knives and inviting their least favorite relatives to dinner…

I also love the use of Russian folklore elements. They enrich the background of the story and make the characters even more interesting. I liked that Kyrill was a researcher as well as a plotter. I like that Irena isn’t entirely a goody-two-shoes. She really (and understandably) wants to put it to her stepmother.

We get further glimpses into the series’ story arc and the princes themselves. Anticipation for the stories that the other princes will play in is building. They actually have roles to play with in this story, not simply part of the framing prologue, which was delightful.

All in all I’m finding this a great series and am looking forward to the next story and the ones after that.

Blood Prince series:
#1 - Before Midnight
#2 - One Bite
#3 - Golden Stair

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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