While the war rages on and the American Vampire Senate looks to fill its empty seats, Dorina is still part of the squad looking to track down the smugglers using portals to arm the Dark Mages with deadly weaponry and creatures to tip the balance of the war
The investigation turns deadly when several vampire agents are destroyed leaving only Dorina as a survivor with a hole in her memory. To find out what happened, she will have to deal with vampires, fae, fallen angels – and more plots than she could ever have imagined.
But while all this is going on Dorina has another battle – with herself. Old barriers in her mind are coming down and everything she believed about her dhampire nature is being challenged – presenting new threats and new possibilities
There is a lot about this book I love
I love the development of what Dorina is, of the very nature of the dhampires and how this relates to vampire culture. The whole sense that vampires are deeply social and hierarchical and that Dorina’s vampire side feels all of that but is then isolated from the hierarchy by vampiric hatred of dhampires and her human side’s own weakness. It’s a wonderful little twist and manages to greatly expand what Dorina is without the sense of retconning or changing the established world setting at all. It also led to more excellent exploration of Dorina’s character and history as well as vampire culture. There’s also the ever-complicated relationship between Dorina and her father which is also wonderfully expanded on and explored in this book.
I also really liked Ray in this book. We had a lot more of his history as someone who is half-Portuguese and half-Indonesian and his history of being rather stuck between two cultures (including an interesting insight that previous Asian vampiric masters had used him, in centuries past, to be their guide to Europe but missing that European blood doesn’t give knowledge of language or custom). He really grew as a character in this book beyond his standard role as somewhat inept comic relief. He’s survivor and a chancer. A vampire who will never be a major power nor has any real close family ties to keep him safe - he’s always found his niche by being clever and being daring. He takes risks, he’s willing to try things no-one else would consider (sometimes for very good reason) he’s imaginative and creative and comes up with a lot of crafty answers and work arounds because of it. He becomes an asset and we can see him as an asset without having to greatly increase his power.
The plot itself is amazingly complicated (which I have some problems with which I will get to) which draws on every element of this vast world – and it is vast. I think every faction and player that has been introduced in the last two books all plays a hand in this book – the fae, the vampires, the mages and some new ones we’ve never heard of before. It all adds up to an incredibly complicated master plan which fits so well in this rich and wide world that is laid out for us
The pacing of the book is break neck (which, again, is not without its problems). Dorina runs from action to action, scene to scene at an incredible rate with no time to catch your breath before the next concept or battle or revelation lands on you. This doesn’t pause or get bogged down, though it can certainly exhaust you as you struggle to keep up with the battles or absorb yet another chunk of world building, all of it thrown at you with little chance to process.
The main problem I have with this book is that it feels long. It is somewhat long, that’s certainly true, but it’s the feeling of its length that is the problem. That sense as you’re reading that this book has already gone on for a very long time and isn’t it about time it started to get wrapped up?
I think it’s because just about everything in this book is just a little bit overdone. They don’t just have a fight scene, they have a fight scene that goes on and on and on and on. And it’s not badly written or badly paced, it’s well described and full of action and a really vivid scene – but it just keeps on going. And this includes battle scenes that don’t really add a whole lot to the overall plot – like when Zheng decides to challenge and attack Dorina when she goes out shopping (in fact, the whole scene with the buying condoms for fae guards was just unnecessarily inserted), not only is the scene not necessary but it just keeps going and going and going. Even scenes that are necessary, like the zombie attack, Dorina seems to spend hours and hours and hours hacking her way through untold legions of zombies.