In the Service of the King
by Laura KayePublished by: Harlequin Nocturne Publish Date: Feb 1, 2012 Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Vampires Length: Novella Source: ARC e-copy provided for review by author My Rating: Blurb from Goodreads:
Kael, Warrior King of the Vampires, loathes the Night of the Proffering. He needs the blood of either his mate or a human virgin to maintain his strength, but hasn’t enjoyed the ritual since he lost his mate centuries ago. Kael doesn’t want a new companion, yet his resolve is tested when he lays eyes on his new offering, Shayla McKinnon. He is drawn to Shayla’s beauty and poise…and the submission she offers. She is eager to give him anything he wishes, including her innocence, to please him. Will Kael give in to their overwhelming desire—even if it means risking Shayla’s life?
In The Service of the King, Laura Kaye creates an intriguing new vampire subculture set in modern times. Kael is a King of Vampires, and as such he has responsibilities to his subjects. Part of the responsibilities he bears is to be strong, which means he has to drink the blood of an innocent woman, or his mate. Since he does not have a mate, he must drink from a volunteer, the Proffered. Kael has always seen the Proffering as a responsibility to bear, until Shayla. Shayla is different, she makes him feel things he hadn’t felt since his mate died centuries earlier. But, in order to have Shayla as his mate, he has to face his past and chance his future.
What I really loved about this novella was the vampire culture. The vampires are grouped around the globes and they have kings as their leader. They live within the confines of the human world, but they manage to keep their existence secret. The enemies are groups of vampires who kill the humans they feed on, stealing human souls. There are humans who know about vampires, and this group of humans help the vampires war with the evil soul stealers. The vampires hold tight to rituals, it gives the vampires more of a structure and community. The structure is complex, yet Laura Kaye details her world in an easily understandable manner, and I was quite intrigued by this new vampire world.
The characters themselves are interesting. Kael is a leader who has faced heartache and is wary of having a new mate. However, Shayla is a good match for Kael, she is beautiful, strong, and accepting of Kael’s flaws. The chemistry between them is strong, and it helped make the sex scenes more sensual and emotional, rather than just raw sex. The only concern I had was that Shayla jumps into the vampire world with such zeal, it took me a little while to believe that she liked Kael for his person, not just his status or meaning to the community. I grew to like Shayla, and I was pleases with how this story unfolded.
In the Service of the King is a quick read, but the story is well written, and the stage is set for future stories set within this world. I would love to read more about this world in the future. Paranormal Romance fans, I do recommend reading this novella.