Format Read: e-book provided by publisher
Length: 78 Pages
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Vampire Warrior Kings, #1
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Formats Available: e-book
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author’s Website, Publisher Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
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?
There’s a question that oft asked about fictional tales. The plot or the characters: what’s more important, and which did you enjoy more? Well, in the case of this particular story, I’d say the attraction (that existed between the two lead characters) was the top element.
Such a cop-out answer, I know. ^_^ It’s neither plot nor character. But the attraction was the star of the show, almost like a character itself. With the relatively short length of this tale, there was no room for elaborate plot, no time to delve deeply into the characters’ pasts and present. In their place, the attraction between Kael and Shayla was instantaneous and extremely powerful, and it was the two characters’ differing reactions to that attraction that formed the basis of this story.
Indeed, I kept waiting for some external factor: a mustache-twirling villain, a long-lost suitor, some profound yet easily-remedied misunderstanding to keep the main characters apart. But no, the focus remained on Kael and Shayla, and every other element or peripheral character (mentioned in name or featured “on stage”) only served to highlight the importance of their connection. It made for a highly romantic tale.
…and a freaking sexy tale, too! The romance and sensuality are both laid on thickly and powerfully here, with very dramatic visuals and grandiose sentiment. To any given reader it can come off as cheesy, or it can come across as extremely swoon-worthy. I’m of the latter sentiment, as it happens. ^_^
I have to admit, however, that this is not my favorite Laura Kaye work. Her writing in the novella Hearts in Darkness showed her (enviable!) mastery of maximizing the effectiveness of a shorter story. Here, while I thought the story to be ultimately satisfying–sweet, romantic, sizzling, and interesting–I personally found the characters less intriguing, less unique, less nuanced than others of hers have been.
But having gotten that admission out, ^_^ I certainly recommend In the Service of the King as a quick, intense, and effective paranormal romance. It’s like a shot of hot, romance espresso. ^_^
I give In the Service of the King 4 Stars
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