Author: Rhiannon Hart
Fans of the Lharmell series know that it has been a VERY long time between books. Blood Song was released in September 2011, Blood Storm followed in August 2012 and it isn’t until recently that the long awaited and highly anticipated Blood Queen found release. Ideally I would have loved to go back and read the early books for a refresher but my days of doing that have long since past I’m afraid. It did take me a while to get back into the swing of the story and catch up with where we had been left hanging.
Blood Storm left us with Zeraphina alone and Rodden lost in their effort to sabotage the last Turning. Zeraphina has returned home to her mother in order to wallow, and in the absence of anywhere else to go really. She is trying to avoid being married off to the odious Prince Folsum, as well as avoiding life completely. Laudanum has become her chosen vice and her method of surviving the days, not only does it dull her pain but it dulls all of her senses and takes away much of what makes her Zeraphina.
Early on Zeraphina finds herself caught up in an accident and on fleeing the castle she finds herself kidnapped by a harming to be taken to Lharmell. Blood Queen focuses on the journey into Lharmell as a captive and what happens once she arrives.
Blood Queen is written with the same wit and pace of the early books and I would love to say with the same strong heroine we came to love but the Zeraphina of Blood Song and Blood Storm is nowhere to be found until close to the halfway point. I enjoyed the pacing and the flow and the storyline was unique and unpredictable in the way I grew to love in the earlier volumes.
The story is nicely wrapped up and the loose ends are all tied but there is still room for a continuation to the story if that was what Hart chose down the track.
I want to keep this spoiler free because I did find it to be unpredictable, so I don’t want to ruin that for anyone else, which means I’m having trouble working out how to say what I want to say. There are some amazing twists that came right out of left field and really helped with the cohesion of the story.
Blood Queen starts with a princess very unlike Zeraphina but after her capture we slowly start to see a return to the princess we grew to love. The story is filled with action, from the battles and attacks by brant riding harmings, to swordfights on the castle battlements. There is royal intrigue and making the best allegiances.
A fitting end to an interesting and original trilogy that was well worth the wait. I look forward to seeing what Hart has in store for us next.
Blood Queen is book #26 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.