There are some authors who are meant to push your boundaries and throw you in uncharted territory, for me Joey W Hill is such an author! THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT is a story about how Jacob becomes the servant of vampire queen Lyssa. A very simple given but the journey they undertake is executed with such depth of character and rich detail of vampire culture that it kept boredom far away from this story.
In THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT I got a first taste of the vampire culture which bears a cruel, dark side and among the vampires there’s always the vie for more power. Lyssa needs to be on her guard 24/7 and show no weakness. Though she is the only living Queen, Joey W Hill gave her one heck of an Achilles heel to balance her vast powers. At the beginning of the story I thought that perhaps this series starter wouldn’t do it for me, simply because Lyssa was the kind of character who didn’t nudge me out of my comfort zone, she threw me out of it. Her personality, her darker vampire side versus the more emotional and feminine side, and her actions born from that mentality made her a character I didn’t instantly like. Yet I read on, because if there was one thing I just had to know then it was her motivations for her actions, where did her personality stem from and what was hiding beneath the surface? The first glimpses of her hidden side gradually won me over, Lyssa is, if nothing else, a vampire queen who is thought-provoking and has an intricate personality demanding absolute attention. With Lyssa I got a strong, difficult and complex heroine who mesmerized me from the start.
Opposite of Lyssa there is Jacob. Now Jacob is a man I instantly loved and cherished for many reasons. He is an Irishman and I love the natural born attitude that comes along with that fact. It is also not in his nature to be a submissive, it is his promise to serve Lyssa with all that he is that fuels the need to serve her in that way. This brings a fire to their dialogues and their passion that livens up their growing connection. You can feel the challenge Jacob provides Lyssa, he dares her, he contradicts her, and he serves her in every way she needs him to serve without Jacob becoming a wimp of a man. Jacob is strong of mind and body but he is also loyal. He is charming, gallant and smart and he has the ability to make one woman the center of his singular devotion. He makes me weak in the knees and in that I can understand the seduction he presents for Lyssa.
Of course there are various obstacles for Lyssa and Jacob to overcome, some a bit easier than others. They presented dilemmas of the heart with the three degrees of binding between a vampire and her servant. Thomas, as the former vampire queen’s servant, still had a strong voice and effect on the overall story as his drama was gradually revealed. Lyssa also comes with a background that is gripping and then there is the strategic maneuvering of the vampire society, testing Lyssa with her powers that provide a setting where the etiquette between a vampire and its servant becomes crystal clear. These rules between a vampire and his/her servant are something that Lyssa tries to teach Jacob over and over. Both mentally and physically the eroticism is at times scintillating in its search for domination and submission as it is endearing in its heart rendering and vulnerable moments. Jacob’s desire to serve Lyssa is severely tested in this novel and his inner conflictions are well elaborated. It made me feel so very connected to his progress in becoming a servant. He may have been trained by Thomas to be a vampire servant but in no way was Jacob prepared for the emotional side of it. Because the author gave an in-depth view of Lyssa and Jacob’s inner thoughts I felt it all with them, especially how far Jacob was willing to take his servitude that was so essential to his character development.
There’s a changes coming in the vampire world and Lyssa has to prepare for the upheaval in the council and her territory, and this given spices the story even further. Still, I must also warn you, this is but the first episode where some things receive a conclusion but no real ending. The events that started in THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT, both in plot as in romance, are picked up in THE MARK OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN. I for one am glad to have this book already up on the shelves.
This story took me on a journey where I had to get used to the customs of vampires and their servants. Where Lyssa’s introduction created a push-pull effect with me and I didn’t know what to think of her. Nevertheless, it is the use of prose that imbues the words, scenes, actions and dialogues of the characters with emotions that I consider a trait of this author. Her writing style amplifies the effect of this story and I got gradually pulled in, succumbed to the developing relationship that enthralled me with its dynamics.
Once again Joey W Hill knows how to keep me fascinated with an arresting plot arc, multi-faceted characters, the eroticism is an sensual feast that contains some violence and darkness, and a story that wields the power of her incredible storytelling. This is another series for my keeper’s shelf!
I can’t bear to lose another servant…
She had no servant. No one to indulge her need to casually reach out, touch and stroke. No one to hold her close, surprising her with the offer of comfort. No one to make her smile, banish shadows from her eyes. No one to kick around and treat like dog shit. She spoke, her voice quiet, tired. “I release you from your oath Jacob. You don’t have to stay. You can go now. I’ll find my way home.
Gentle and rough. Tenderness and cruelty. Two sides of the coin, pleasures as light and dark as the women’s contrasting skin, and with permutations of all the shades between. He couldn’t deny the allure of it. Within him, as he suspected it was for most men, were the gentle lover and the demanding, primal animal. Here he was allowed to indulge and unleash both. Over it all was the watchful presence of his Mistress who’d compelled him to his course, which added an indefinable but no less arousing ingredient to it. The stimulation he felt was a synergy of all the arousal in the room. Instead of two women, he was arousing all of them. The power of it swept over him. While it drained some force of his anger, it left a sharp edge that only fed the hunger in himself.
“Yours,” he said fiercely in her ear. “Yours, no matter who you force me to fuck to prove your damn dominance. All yours, lady. Heart, soul, mind…every drop of my fucking blood is yours. And every tear, she thought, wondering if he realized that the wetness between his jaw and her cheek came from him. As Tara said. Overly sentimental, these Irishmen.