One human. One immortal. Will their alliance save the kingdom, or will their forbidden love be a death sentence?
When Cassia seeks out a Hesperine, he could end her mortal life in a heartbeat. But she has no fear of his magic or his fangs. She knows the real monster is the human king, her father. If he finds out she’s bargaining with his enemy, he’ll send her to the executioner.
As a Hesperine diplomat, Lio must negotiate with mortals who hate him. Cassia is different, but politics aren’t why she captivates the gentle immortal. He wants more than her blood, and if he can’t resist the temptation, he’ll provoke the war he’s trying to prevent.
Blood and Ash fans will love this slow-burn, steamy romance with classic fantasy worldbuilding. Follow fated mates Cassia and Lio through their epic love story for a guaranteed series HEA.
New edition featuring a fantasy world map, glossary of lore and characters, enhanced opening chapter, and all-new cover artwork.
Publication: January 26th, 2022
My Favourite Quote: *subject to change*
“I see you are indeed accustomed to battling monsters. Please remember, Lady—there are none here tonight.”
Received an Advanced Reader’s Copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
I won’t lie, the cover was super eye-catching. I know, I know that we don’t judge a book by it’s cover. I didn’t. I swear. I’ve seen a bajillion books with fantastic covers and haven’t requested for an advanced reader’s copy of all of them. The reason I wanted to read this book was because of this phrase in the blurb: “gentle immortal”, which was used to describe the male protagonist. Now, how often does that happen? I was curious if the author could actually pen a character who’s got the description of a vampire but with a gentle hue, and whether that hue will remain unstained till the very end; because this wasn’t a 200 page novel, this was a big book.
The beginning of the book frankly was very confusing for me. There were many things happening and the story was dense with aspects of the world that were alien to me and I was scrambling to catch up. Additionally this book is dual POV and the protagonists’ lives are so different that they both required world building which meant that both POVs were initially a challenge for me. This resulted in me taking a few breaks in the beginning a lot.
What was it about the book though that kept me coming back? I’m not sure, but have you ever felt like sometimes your reader heart has this strange book-nerd version of the spidey-senses? Maybe that’s what brought me back or perhaps there was something about the book that naturally reels you in slowly.
Interestingly, I feel like the book is a perfect twin soul to the female protagonist’s personality. Just like with Cassia, the story is slow to trust, revealing only small parts of itself. But as you invest yourself further into it it reveals it’s true self, almost like a lovely rose hidden behind thorns and brambles.
The book was brimming with so many aspects and everything takes precedence at their exact moments before they all entwine themselves in the end rendering a befitting climax of everything we’ve learned about the characters, their belief systems, culture, the plot and the little relationships between characters.
The aspect of this book that I felt leaks into every line, dialogue, silence, fight and resolution is gentleness. Lio, the male protagonist of Blood Mercy, truly effects the tone of the book by influencing the heroine herself in the absolute best way. He brings something really precious to the pages; where he allows the woman who has only ever known jagged edges and deep cuts to feel like she can be vulnerable and trust. However that doesn’t mean he is perfect.
Cassia and Knight (because where one goes the other is) are quiet companions in a dangerous game. They’ve stuck together though thick and thin and Cassia has many many wounds and secrets from the past that she slowly tells the readers if we trust to stay with her.
All the secondary characters (and there are many, believe me) too take their time to leave a mark on us. Perhaps it’s the narration matching the nature and situation of the protagonists, but once these secondary characters are truly revealed for who they are, they all stick to you and you see them as extensions of the main protagonists…people they cannot be who they are without. People who have their back. Closest thing to family.
The book brims with politics, betrayal, death, life, blood, love and emotional moments that catch you unawares and stay with you till the end. As I had mentioned the world building felt a little difficult to follow in the beginning but the characters really pull you through and everything slowly makes sense. The pace was its absolute fastest from around 75%, but until then the pace was steady and comfortable once you get past the initial few chapters where you try to piece things together. The plot was so much darker, deeper and dangerous than I had imagined and I can’t wait to see what Vela Roth does with this series!
Five stars! Definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a politically heavy high fantasy, friends to lovers, gentle and emotional story.
KU readers, truly, this is the biggest gem you could pick.