Review: Prince of Power by Elisabeth Staab

prince of powerFormat Read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Number of Pages: 384 pages
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: Chronicles of Yavn #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Formats Available: Mass Market Paperback, ebook
Purchasing Info: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Book Depository US | Book Depository (UK) | Author’s Website | Publisher’s Website | Goodreads

Book Blurb:

This Fight Is Personal…

Wizards and vampires have been mortal enemies since the beginning. Now Anton, son of the Wizard Master, has one last chance to steal the unique powers of the vampire king’s beautiful sister, Tyra…and then kill her. But when he meets Tyra face-to-face, everything changes…

Tyra will stop at nothing to defeat the wizards, until Anton saves her life and she suddenly sees an opportunity she never could have imagined…

As the sparks ignite between them, together they could bring an end to the war that’s decimating their people, but only if they can find a way to trust each other…

My Thoughts:

What if Romeo and Juliet had way more serious reasons not to be together than a mere “family feud” but still managed to end in, if not happily ever after, at least, happy for now?

That’s somewhat the premise of Elisabeth Staab’s Prince of Power, the second book in her Chronicles of Yavn series.

Her Romeo, or rather, the prince on one side of this equation, is the son of the head wizard from King of Darkness. Poor Anton, he should have been born human. Or vampire. Anything but spawn of psychopath.

Anton is a nice wizard, which in Staab’s universe is an oxymoron. Dad thinks he’s failure, and has him killed. But fate intervenes. Or someone intervenes.

So Anton finds himself a patient at the shelter where Tyra, the sister of King Thad of the vampires (that still sounds funny, really, even if his full name is Thaddeus) works as the center director. Tyra has always believed that she is half-human. And that she was abandoned at the vampire compound by her “mother-the-nutcase”.

(Thad’s dad the late vampire king did not cheat on his mate, just in case you’re wondering about the backstory. Tyra’s conception and birth happened a couple of decades before Thad’s parents got together.)

Meanwhile, Anton feels compelled to watch over Tyra, even while she’s at the shelter. Amnesia nothwithstanding. Even though he doesn’t remember who he is. He remembers her. And, he feels better when he’s near her.

Tyra knows she should think he’s just fixated on her because he’s lost. Or something like that. Instead, she is drawn to him. (It doesn’t hurt that Anton is handsome as sin).

But when Anton finally regains his memory, they both discover that he is one of her race’s worst enemies. Only, she should have felt the evil in his soul. Because wizards always exude an evil aura that vampires can sense.

And Anton simply doesn’t have one. Not because he can mask his. Because there isn’t one there. He’s not evil.

It turns out that he really does love her. Even more once he regains his memory. But her people believe that he must be eliminated. No matter how often he proves that he is willing to fight with the vampires against the wizards.

He’s willing to fight to stay with Tyra. No matter what it takes.

king of darknessVerdict: I liked Prince of Power even more than I did King of Darkness (see today’s review at Reading Reality for details), probably because Prince turned so many tropes on their tropey-dopey little heads.

This definitely is not a fated mate story. It’s the furthest thing from it. Anton and Tyra are on opposite sides of a very, very high fence. They shouldn’t get together. Ever. In King of Darkness, Anton is supposed to kidnap her and refuses. And gets beaten for that refusal.

Also, of this pair, Tyra is the warrior, Anton is the healer, and they’re both okay with that. Being half-vampire, she is always going to be physically stronger than he is. And he’s cool with that. He will fight for her, and he will fight for them to stay together, but “fight” has multiple meanings. Most of his fighting is going to be patching people up afterwards.

The deeper story of the vampires and the wizards also gets some exploration. Thad is king because his father was killed by the master wizard. That master also gets killed, by Anton, with some conniving help from his murderous brother. Both forces are now being led by the “new guard”.

But there’s a reactionary “old guard” waiting in the wings to disrupt things on the vampire side. It wouldn’t be a vampire story without vampire politics to mix things up.

And the developing side stories are cooking quite nicely, too. I can’t wait for book 3.


I give Prince of Power by Elisabeth Staab 4 and one half stars

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Review: King of Darkness by Elisabeth Staab

Format read: ebook purchased from Amazon
Formats available: mass market paperback, ebook
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Chronicles of Yavn, #1
Length: 343 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date Released: February 7, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Eternal commitment is not on her agenda…

Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human—although, drifting among the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patrons’ blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the king of vampires this party girl’s life turns dark and dangerous.

But time’s running out for the king of vampires…

Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, Thad Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate has gotten it seriously wrong…

At first I thought it was more than a bit derivative that the vampires in Elisabeth Staab’s King of Darkness referred to themselves as “males” and “females” instead of men and women. It sounded way too Black Dagger Brotherhood to me.

Then I thought about it. They aren’t actually men, or women. Are they? In Staab’s series (and BDB) the vampires are a distinct species from birth, not humans turned vamp. Man is a word for a human male. We don’t have a generally accepted term for vampire male. And let’s not think about vampirella. Please.

After I got that through my head, I was just grateful not to see any of the tortured spelling BDB uses in its naming.

About the story of King of Darkness, well, there are some elements that have been around the vampire block before. The new, untried king needs to find his fated mate.

Not all vamps have one. He’s special. (I was not looking forward to the rest of the series using this trope. Seriously.)

And just because they are destined, doesn’t mean that new king Thad and his mate Isabel fall into instant love. They don’t. Isabel has an instant panic attack. Seems like a sensible reaction to me.

There is a certain amount of instant lust, once Isabel gets coaxed out of her retreat to the bathroom. But instant understanding, not at all.

Then the feces hits the oscillating device, and the pace never lets up.

They’re attacked by wizards. While wizards may seem overused as a concept, I’d rather see power attached to something I understand than evil smelling like baby powder. Evil acts evil, looks evil and smells evil.

The wizards want to wipe out the vampires, one heart at a time. Eating the heart of their enemies (literally) is how they gain power. Neat, has a real mythological basis, and totally sick.

The wizards are after Thad’s sister, Tyra, for nefarious reasons of their own.

Thad’s destiny requires that he find his mate before he comes into his power, whatever that might be.

Isabel doesn’t believe that she is good enough to be Queen.

Thad learns that he has to “vampire up” to be King, to be who Isabel needs, and to take of his people. His father has been dead for months, and his people need him.

Can he do it soon enough and well enough (finally!) to save everyone he holds dear? And should he let Isabel go?

Escape Rating B+: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Thad is young and shows a lot of insecurities, but he keeps going. At the same time, he’s finally figured out that he has to suck it up and deal with being the king, whether he thinks he’s adequate or not.

Isabel has always lived outside vampire society. She has no belief in herself. Now she’s in the middle, and isn’t sure she should try to be Queen. Watching the two of them misunderstand their own needs is hurtful, but real.

And the collateral damage effects are fascinating. The most interesting character is Alexia, Isabel’s human friend. Her heart is always on her sleeve. She’s been sucked into the vampire court unwillingly, but she’s more flexible than Isabel. She’ll make a place for herself, and she grounds Isabel in what matters most. I hope Alexia gets her own story later!

Meanwhile, if you’re interested how things work out for Thad’s sister Tyra, her story makes up the central plot of Prince of Power, and it’s not only out now, but it’s even better than King of Darkness. Check out my review of Prince of Power over at Book Lovers Inc. later today for all the details!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 1-13-13

Does that date look weird to anyone else? I think it’s the 13-13 that threw me for a loop.

Talk about being thrown for a loop…we just moved to Seattle from Atlanta, and, the Seattle Seahawks are playing the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC playoffs, today. As I’m writing this, the Seahawks just pulled ahead by one point, and there’s only 25 seconds left in the game. I’m afraid to watch.

Since everyone at work knows I just moved here from Atlanta, I’ve had way too many conversations at work explaining that I’m NOT rooting for the Falcons. No way. Now if the Cincinnati Bengals were still in it, we might have to talk, but it takes a lot longer than 18 months to get a piece of my heart. Which means I also still root for the Chicago Bears. (I lived in Chicago a long, long time)

And oh crap, the Falcons are in Field Goal range. And they made it. Damn it. I don’t think there’s going to be any joy in Mudville tonight. Mighty Casey just struck out. (Yes, I totally mixed my sports metaphors.)

The Seahawks may have just lost their playoff berth, but there was a winner here at Reading Reality. Tin Ong won the $10 Amazon Gift Card in the New Year’s Blog Hop this week!

Besides the last gasp of that New Year’s Blog Hop, what else happened last week?

B Review: Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning
B+ Review: Perfection Unleashed by Jade Kerrion
Interview with Jade Kerrion + Giveaway!
B Review: Immortally Yours by Angie Fox
B+ Review: Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
C- Review: Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning
Stacking the Shelves (30)

There’s a new week coming up, which means new treats for everyone!

On Monday I’ll be reviewing Tiffany Allee’s new superhero romance, Heels & Heroes. Let’s just say that the “Heels” involved in the title are the fashionable kind, but that the “Heroes” in the title are both super and yummy. As part of the tour for this book, Tiffany is giving away 3 copies.

Tuesday I’ll have a guest post from Blair McDowell, as part of her tour for her latest romance/suspense title, Sonata. I always love seeing Blair’s books come up on tour, because I enjoy her work so much, and Sonata was no except. I’ll have a review on Tuesday, and Blair will also have a giveaway.

Wednesday and Thursday I’m reviewing Olivia Cunning’s Double Time and Elisabeth Staab’s King of Darkness. Completist me, both of those reviews (as well as last week’s Enchanting the Lady by Kathryne Kennedy) were to get ready to review the latest books in those series. On Thursday at Book Lovers Inc. I’ll be reviewing Elisabeth Staab’s Prince of Power, if you want to “collect the set” for yourself.

Friday’s review is a treat for me. I’m reviewing The Killings at Badger’s Drift. It’s the first in  Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby series. I’ve enjoyed Midsomer Murders so much, that I couldn’t resist reading the books. And sharing them.

Last, but very definitely not least, the Happy Endings Blog Hop starts on Saturday, January 19. It will certainly be a Happy Ending for the winners of all the lovely bookish prizes at the hop participants!

And the week after next will be another busy week! I’ll be hosting tours for Waterfall by Lacy Danes, Nobody’s Angel by Stacy Gail and The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy. With giveaways!

Who said cats and water don’t mix?