For a long time the European vampires have been threatening to come to New Orleans and challenge Leo, the master of the city. There have been plots brewing for decades – and now the time has come
With a wave of impossible Revenants, deadly magic and ancient vampires pursuing vendettas and plots, they have arrived, and Jane must run from attack to attack and unravel some extremely convoluted, ancient plots, drawing on all her resources to try and stem the tide.
This book is action packed – completely and overwhelmingly action packed. To a degree that I don’t even get when Jane actually gets to sleep. The European vampires are here and there’s some really long running plots happening, with lots of manipulations that have been put in place decades ago because this is how vampires plot. When you live for centuries, it’s standard to make plans that may span centuries.
And because they span centuries, they call upon characters and concepts and storylines that have appeared throughout the series, including the blood magic of the Damors and the different vampire families and prominent characters and antagonists. On top of that we have magical items that come not just from the main book series but also from some of the short stories. We have vampire enemies that have been referred to and being part of the metaplot for a very long time
We also have Jane’s developing powers and how they’ve been skewed both by Beast borrowing DNA she finds interesting and, of course, the angel Hayyel and his own special brand of magic – which in turn is linked to the Anzu and the Aranciel which have also appeared in other books
Basically, unless you have an incredibly good memory or have recently had a re-read of the entire series? This book takes a lot of work to follow. Especially since very little is actually explained in great detail as Jane and her crew run from battle to battle with rising Revenants and vampires attacks and strange lightning magic and time acting up and powerful, dangerous euro-vampires and kidnapping. It’s full of action and its awesome action and exciting and powerful and contains a lot of excellent fighting and confusion and investigating and more battling. We have this overlaid with Jane’s ongoing moral quandary over who she is, especially as she continues to be put in a position where she has to kill humans, not just vampires and her continued concern as to exactly where her moral compass is. There’s a really awesome moment with Hayyel in this in which she definitely doesn’t just take his reassurance for it.
So it’s a very good, very action packed read with some really good personal focus on Jane – but my gods it is easy for you to get lost and forget chunks and think things like “Adrianna? Wait, she was a thing? Do I remember her? Should I?” and occasionally getting lost between the duelling vampire plots. At the same time that does kind of set the tone of the book – after all this level of chaos and confusion is how Jane – and we – are supposed to feel when confronted by decades old duelling vampire plots.
A few books ago, this series finally addressed its complete lack of meaningful LGBT inclusion by handwaving pretty much every vampire as bisexual. Despite very little of that being shown in previous books and even now it’s only something that is mentioned: even in his book when Leo is actually in a bed with his two lovers, Kate is clearly in the middle (mentioned very carefully in case we think Leo actually touched another man). On top of this, their bisexuality seems to be linked to how Jane sees vampires as sexually debauched hedonists. But more than this referred-to-but-never-actually-seen representation, there’s the way Jane refers to that male lover: Grégoire. It’s demeaning, belittling and shaming – lots of references like “boy toy”. (And the fact he is very young and repeatedly raped also is a major part of this character). She never refers to Kate or any women Leo has slept with in those terms. There’s a strong whiff of homophobia about the entire portrayal.