By Thea Harrison
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: September 2, 2014
This latest installment of Harrison’s Elder Races series features a smart, gutsy heroine on the run from a powerful being she has angered. What better place to find sanctuary, Tess Graham thinks, than in the household of another powerful being? So she goes to a mass audition, a true cattle call, to become a Vampyre’s attendant.
Her plain looks and unconventional approach attract only one Vampyre, Xavier del Toro, the most trusted ally of the Nightkind King. On the one hand, Tess has gotten what she wanted, a job interview with a Vampyre. There’s just one problem. She’s terrified of Vampyres, and being Xavier’s attendant will require her to let him drink her blood.
Desperation forces Tess to accept the job. Thus begins a delicate dance of instruction and education between her and Xavier that morphs into mutual attraction. Tess learns his history as well as the customs of the Vampyre, but will that be enough to let her cope when one of Xavier’s political rivals tries to destroy him?
Xavier has played a supporting role in several other books in this series. He has always come across as strong, enigmatic, and dangerous, and the portrayal here is a great payoff for readers who’ve wanted to know more about him. Tess is a worthy match for him, and her status as a newcomer to the Nightkind world allows Harrison to explain more about that world to the reader without resorting to massive information dumps.
As Tess makes a place for herself in Xavier’s household, the attraction between them grows, but each resists out of concern that her fear of Vampyres will prevent her from giving Xavier a direct blood offering by the end of her one-year probationary period and then must leave. Their situation is further complicated by her need to resolve matters with the being who hunts her, by clashes between the Nightkind King and a member of his council and by dissatisfaction of some household members. The danger and the attraction escalate to an action-filed climax that resolves many problems but not all, ably setting up the next book.
While the books in this series are linked, each stands more or less alone, and each features a complete romance. I enjoyed Night’s Honor a great deal, but as Tess’s fear of Vampyres faded, the romantic conflict didn’t seem as sustained, to me, as it is in some other books in the series.
A former attorney who never outgrew her love of comic books, science fiction and fantasy, Nancy left the legal profession to pursue her dreams of creating her own action adventure stories. Check out her terrific contemporary romances set within a fantasy world in present-day Georgia.