Painter introduces a new point of view to the series in Dolores Diaz-White (Lola) the human Mayor of Paradise City, Florida which is part of the Southern Union. Lola is a major disbeliever in the othernaturals until she is shown the errors of her way by Mal, Fi, Creek, and Velimai, as well as members of her own security force who just happen to be shifters.
Naturally, one of those comarré left for dead, happens to be Lola’s own estranged daughter who was pregnant at the time with a half human, half vampire baby. It seems as though the baby, Lilith, will eventually play a key role in the way this series plays itself out.
All this is happening while Malkolm (Mal) Bourreau, Creek, and Chrysabelle are on no speaking terms after events of Flesh and Blood. As Italians say, Chrysabelle is being Ostinato about the fact they saved her life after she learned she had a brother from the Aurelian.
Chrysabelle is so anxious to find her brother, that she doesn’t much care for the fact that she isn’t truly healed from her encounter with Rennata, or the removal of her Signums which were flayed off her body. One good thing she does have going for her is the fact that she has Mal’s vampire blood flowing in her system. What that means in the long run is anyone’s guess except the devious writer known as Kristen Painter.
Soon thereafter, thankfully, Mal, Chrysabelle, and Mortalis travel to the Fey run city of New Orleans where the Ring of Sorrows currently is hidden away from Tatiana, the Kubai Mata, and the Castus Sanguis and vampires are not wanted. Each group has its own reasoning for wanting the ring. Chrysabelle needs it back so that she can melt it down and get her Signum redrawn so she can finally find the truth about her own brothers’ existence.
As would be expected, Tatiana once again plays a pivotal role in the way this series has been drawn out. Her eagerness to thwart Mal, and Chrysabelle, as well as becoming the new Dominus of the House of Tepes, has bordered on the obscene and perhaps a little mental as well. Her role obviously has become even larger now that she has been told to protect the baby with her very life by the Castus known as Samael.
I will fully admit that I was juked out of my shoes by the fact that I thought for some silly reason that this was going to be the last book of the series because of how the first three books were released like rapid fire. I was absolutely wrong in my presumption that this is the end since this book leaves the door wide open for a return to the series with several key questions left unanswered like who Chrysabelle's father really is.
It is my fervent hope that most, it not all of those questions will be answered when Out for Blood is released during the fall 2012.
As for the characters themselves, I found the relationship between Mal and Chrys to be warming up from a long winters freeze. Then, naturally, Ms Painter goes and gives us an ending that slaps us upside our silly heads! Naturally, I am one of those who doesn’t much care for 3-way love triangles, so, when Mal and Chrys do seem to acknowledge they have feelings for the other without Creek around, I did a happy dance of epic proportions.
As for Maddoc (Doc) and Fiona (Fi), I think they are in for a long hall now that there are some new abilities that have come out of being cursed by the witches Aliza and Evie and Doc has taken on the role as prime of the shifters.
My one absolute complaint is that there are too many characters in this story. It’s hard to keep track of who is who and what that person is doing, or why they are even there in the first place. Thankfully, there’s a thing called pen and paper to take notes and sketch out what’s actually happening and when.
There is, of course, a lingering question that is left open by Painter. And, that my friends, is Chrysabelle and Mal's role in what happens to baby Lilith now that Tatiana has her in her nasty little crutches in her. Also, how will Creek force the issue if they both refuse the Kubai Mata's demands?