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The Mark of the Vampire Queen - Joey W. Hill This novel is the sequel to The Vampire Queens Servant and as such this review can contain mild spoilers. Just so your warned! Right from the get-go I have to say that THE MARK OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN is a very character and romance driven story, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t a plot, there was, it just played second violin. The torch of Jacob and Lyssa’s love burns bright which translated in sexual desires and feelings running so deep, it left a permanent mark on both main protagonists. The love unfolds itself on a backdrop where a vampire society is internally vying for control and this presents danger for Lady Elyssa Amaterasu Yamato Wentworth, the last vampire queen of the Far East Clan.

Joey W Hill immediately sets an emotionally fraught tone with a past life memory between Lyssa and Jacob, in which he was a knight, and it irrevocable drew me in. From there I felt flairs of pending danger but it was the deepening, the exploring of Jacob and Lyssa’s love that took the main stage. I slowly savored the growing bond and I got intimately acquainted with all they felt, wanted and needed. These two fascinating characters dueled with each other on every level; emotionally and physically, as with the heart and the soul. They challenged each other which translated in dynamic dialogues and along with an erotic force sizzling between them they were without a doubt each other’s match.

Since this is the sequel I got to know Jacob and Lyssa on an even more intimate level. The devotion of Jacob to Lyssa is moving – it doesn’t make him a lesser or weaker man – oh no, far from it! He is a man ingrained with valor, strength, chivalry and honor, but it is all encompassed by a matching arrogance and Alpha attitude. He is a hero that can drive you nuts but has you loving every minute of it, just because he cares so deeply for those in his heart.

Now Lyssa remains a captivating leading lady, she has a feral side to her, she is after all the last Vampire Queen and knows how her world works. Still, as the story progresses I got to witness more and more of her depth in the heart and soul. The intensity and extend in the way she cares, how she deems to shows that is something that I never would’ve expected reading in TVQS. She became one of those strong heroines that impresses profoundly, not by her physical strength or her Amazon attitude, but by the strength of her heart and her compassion.

Next to the courting, the issues that arise between Jacob and Lyssa and present danger, there is also a scorching passion blazing between them. It could go form gentle loving to a male/female power clash and it was all spiced up with a bit of variation to explore the sexual appetite. I loved it, it never bored me to feel the hunger emanating between Jacob and Lyssa, and that is not where it ended. As the plot gained more attention the council gathering became a plateau of inhibitive eroticism that was very arousing. It varied from a bit of M/M to group sexing and the use of certain toys wasn’t shied from either.

Of course there are mind games to be played, these vampires crave power and leave no chance unused to gain it. The vampire culture fascinated me with their rules, customs and rituals. I think Joey W Hill has created a great foundation for her world building and I’m eager to explore this culture further! The first half was very romance and character driven and the second half deepened on this and added a few plot twists that were hinted at in TVQS and the first half of this story. I will not go in to detail, that is for each to find out but for me the second half of the story was a perfect balance of character, romance and plot development.

I feel like I can go on and on about the awesomeness of this series, perhaps it’s just me, that this author knows how to find my hot buttons and keeps pushing it over and over again. I feel like a fan girl squeeing about characters who will never be forgotten and how their stories keep affecting me so. The only thing I want to add is that the secondary cast of characters equally piqued my interest. I met Jacob’s brother Gideon and their shared erotic moment with Lyssa was uber sensual. Gideon is a male who demands, period. I can’t wait to find out more about this tormented vampire hunter. Next to him vampire Mason also triggered my interest and Lady Daniella from Australia with her servant Devlin are also characters I hope to meet again later in the series.

THE MARK OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN is an erotic romance of sheer excellence and I can understand the need for another story of Lyssa and Jacob. Their story is concluded but who doesn’t want more from such stellar characters? I feel like I’ve just been floored by a grand romance and have a hard time touching back to reality. A poignant story, that through the prose of Joey W Hill, delivered an epic romance between a vampire queen and a human servant which will deliver a thrill-ride of a read!

4,5 stars

Quote Jacob to Gideon:
“So love is all about meeting your terms, is it?” Idiot, stubborn, hardheaded jackass. You used to sing me when I had a nightmare. You used to smile. Gideon turned farther away, hunching a shoulder, but to Jacob’s surprise, he responded, his voice low and gruff. “I’m past loving anyone, Jacob. I just can’t handle it anymore. This is probably just the way it’s meant to be.” The desolation in Gideon’s tone was as cold as death, and Jacob wondered if the analogy was uneasily close to the reality of his brother’s life.

Quote Lyssa:
She’d left him a note, on the opposite side of the bed. “I made sure your brother took some breakfast with him. He thanked me for my hospitality and said if I ever hurt you he’d stake me out in the sunlight and happily watch me burn. I kissed him goodbye until his toes curled and he couldn’t walk without embarrassing himself. Maybe we should invite him to join us for Christmas.”

Quote Jacob [I feel this quote really give a good definition of who Lyssa is]:
He looked at her and saw the vampire queen, a warrioress. A cruel tyrant, a gentle nurse. A girl. A cold, haughty bitch, a generous and loving woman. A woman who loved fiercely. She’d stayed by a husband who’d been lost to violent madness. She shielded Thomas with her own life and risked all the power she was now trying to protect, all for the benefit of other.