Title: The Black Lily
Series: Tales of the Black Lily #1
Author: Juliette Cross
Release date: March 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
With the threat of the vampire monarchy becoming stronger every day, the Black Lily must take drastic measures. As the leader of the underground resistance, Arabelle concocts the perfect idea to gain the attention of the Glass Tower. Her plan? Attend the vampire prince’s blood ball and kill him. Fortunately for Prince Marius, her assassination goes awry, and Arabelle flees, leaving behind only her dagger.
Marius is desperate to find the woman whose kiss turned into attempted murder, hunting for the mysterious assassin he can’t push out of his mind. But what he uncovers could change the course of his life forever…
I'm going to start out by saying that this book is worth the read just based on its originality alone. I can honestly say that I've never read another Vampire historical with a twist on the Cinderella fairytale. Just the fact that the author went the distance to write something completely unique was appreciated. The idea that Arabelle went to prince's Marius' ball to assassinate him rather than to catch his eye was pretty amazing I thought. You almost feel sorry for the poor guy as she uses her considerable feminine wiles to infiltrate the glass tower and take her stab at him. (Sorry, pun intended.) He was searching for his next blood concubine, she was seeking retribution at the end of her dagger. Marius was addicted at first glance and never stood a chance.
She was the sweetest ambrosia sent straight from heaven. Or the most sinful temptation to drag him down to hell. He didn’t care.
By day, Arabelle is a simple peasant serving woman. By night, she's the mysterious and elusive Black Lily. A woman who spearheaded the movement that wants to break free from oppression and stop the murder of the working class. The loss of her own mother at a Vampire's hands had a tremendous effect on her impression of them. She wasn't going to sit and be a helpless damsel in distress, she's a woman who takes the power back that's been stolen from her.
I'd have to say that Arabelle is probably my favorite part about this book. I absolutely love kickass heroines who know how to take care of themselves and this one defined strong. There was a red-hot attraction from the moment they laid eyes on each other, and it wasn't just one sided. Arabelle however, didn't fall prey to the But-He's-So-Hot syndrome and throw her self respect and game plan out the window because of her lust. As far as she knew, he was just another heartless blood sucker who preys on the innocent and weak.
Prince Marius was nothing like Arabelle imagined. He wasn't the evil creature she saw him as, quite the contrary. I knew from the start that he was a good guy at heart, if a little clueless. If it took a little sanguine furorem or blood lust, to take him out of his glass tower to hunt down this feisty heroine, so be it. If you love alpha obsessed type heroes, you're going to love this guy. He was completely out of his head for her despite her repeated assassination attempts. Which is pretty hilarious when you think about it. Her courage and beliefs were something he hadn't come across before. This made him more determined than ever to locate her and uncover the enigma of the Black Lily.
To set his desires on a peasant woman who continually tried to kill him wasn’t very wise for one as old and experienced as he was. But she had already gotten under his skin, her scent the most tantalizing lure he’d ever known. Like the Siren to the sailor in deep waters, he feared he’d willingly drown if she beckoned him.
My only criticism is that I would have liked to have seen more actual time spent between the MCs in each other's company. I give leeway because of the fact that this is PNR and there is an instant/soulmate type of connection. But considering she's human, she took considerably longer to allow herself to trust her enemy and let him in. And even then, I didn't quite see where the development of her feelings occurred since they were hardly ever together. They were on opposite sides of the camp and when they did cross paths, they had no time to connect on a personal level. Their attraction seemed doomed in failure, so you couldn't really blame her for not wanting to put her heart on the line for sure devastation.
There was no world where the two of them could be true lovers. She did not belong in the Glass Tower. And he did not belong in her world of the Black Lily.
I loved the world that Juliette Cross created. Varis was rich with detail and an intriguing set of characters to tempt me for future books. Her writing was easily absorbing and fast-paced. There was plenty of action and adventure, and I would without a doubt read the next installment in the series. For my first read by this author, I'd say that it was a resounding success.
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