*I received a free ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*
I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to write this review because I feel conflicted about this book.
Much like the others in the series, this was a slower-paced book that kept me on my toes with intrigue rather than tons of action. One of the things I loved most was just how unpredictable everything was. I seriously never had a clue what was going to happen at any point until the very moment it happened. The romance aspect was especially unpredictable to me. But it was all a good kind of unpredictable because it always made sense and fit the characters once it did happen. I definitely had no trouble getting hooked and ended up reading most of the book in one night even though I didn’t mean to!
I also found King Cyrus to be an interesting character. He could’ve been such a good person! Sometimes he was so open and vulnerable and sincere and honest… but then he would turn around and snap right into complete psychopath mode. Just as he said, being immortal for so long apparently made him dissolve into madness. I kind of felt some empathy for him, or maybe I wanted to feel empathy for him? But his cruelty always came through and reminded me not to let my guard down with him, even though he sometimes made it hard not to.
The problem was, I found the book a little anticlimactic. After the sheer emotion and intensity of the second book, I think I was expecting more of that. And I think I was also expecting a little more chaos after everything I’d been told about King Cyrus. Yes, he delivered on the sick, twisted games he played, but he still didn’t bring as much craziness as I thought he would. That might be on me though for having certain expectations. Another problem I had was that the absence of certain characters left me missing the emotion and depth they brought to past books, especially since Keary Taylor’s characters are always so three-dimensional, including the side ones, and therefore bring so much life to the stories. But, luckily, I assume most of them will be back in future books.
As for Alivia’s character, she just left me feeling confused. I absolutely LOVED her in the first two books, but, as much as I hate to say it, I didn’t like Alivia in this book. But Alivia didn’t even like Alivia in this book. And neither did some of the other characters. So she was absolutely not a poorly written character, just one who changed (temporarily?) for the worse, and I can’t fault an author for making her character dynamic, especially when Alivia seems to still be growing and capable of getting back on the right track. Plus, the author’s ability to portray this change is fantastic because she always does it in subtle ways rather than smacking you over the head with it.
So overall, even though this book was more subdued than the last, I still enjoyed it and got sucked in. And the way everything built up again, plus the way it ended, has me very much look forward to the next one!
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in Keary Taylor's House of Royals Series. Readers who like character growth, complicated relationships, chosen family, intrigue, and a different take on vampires.