Serpent's Kiss (A Novel of the Elder Races)

Serpent's Kiss - Thea Harrison Check out my reviews at http://thewindowseat13.blogspot.com/

In the third book in the Elder Races series, Serpent's Kiss, the Wry Lord's First sentinel, Rune, is duty bound to repay a favor to the Vampyre, Carling. In order to save his friend Tiago's life, Rune promised that he would do Carling a favor. Of course, there are no stipulations on the time or type of favor that Rune has promised. That means that Rune could be bound to servitude to Carling for a while if she expects it. But Carling doesn't have that in mind when she brings Rune to her home on an island in San Francisco Bay. Instead, she merely asks him to kneel before her before releasing him from his debt to her.

Rune knows that his debt would not be repaid that easily. In fact, he doesn't really want his debt paid that quickly because he finds himself attracted to Carling. He is determined to find out what exactly is going on with her and once he does, he realizes he can't leave her alone to her fate. Carling is dying and unless someone helps her to solve the mystery of her deteriorating health, her immortal life will end.

One thing that Rune knows he can't do is fall in love with Carling. When Wyr mate, they mate for life. If Rune were to mate with Carling, it would be a death sentence for him, as well. Therefore, he tries to help her solve her puzzle while still remaining aloof and detached. But as the solution to Carling's problem brings Rune closer and closer to the woman that hides behind the mask of power, he realizes that it was too late before he even began. He is in love with her and the fight for her life becomes the fight for his own.

Rune and Carling seem to play off of each other for most of the book. Carling is an intense personality for the majority of the book, while Rune remains the easy going gryphon that was so lovable for the first two books of the series. I had a problem, though, as Carling begins to change and loosen up. The dynamic between the two seemed to fall apart for me and I couldn't quite see, by the end of the book, exactly how these two would make a life together. In the previous book in the series, Harrison was able to show clearly how the dominant Tiago could be happy living in the shadow of his Queen and mate, Niniane. I don't think that she has done as well with that in this book. Rune, though easy going, is a dominant and powerful gryphon. How he will be content lounging around with Carling and, essentially being her nursemaid til the end of time, seems to be a bit of a stretch to me.

One thing that I really didn't like about this book was that it was missing the lovable and endearing characters that made the first two books so special. The camaraderie of the sentinels that made Dragon Bound and Storm's Heart such enjoyable reads and that made those books so special was missing since Rune and Carling's story takes place in a much more isolated setting. It is just the two of them battling to try to save her life. In addition, there was a major part of the Elder Race world that we have come to love that is left on the table at the end of the story with no resolution. Based on what I have heard about the author's plans for the series, this could be because it will be addressed as part of another book, but until then, there are definitely some loose threads hanging at the end of Serpent's Kiss.

Despite the missing links of the Wyr sentinels and the loose threads, Harrison still sets up a great premise for the next book in the series, Oracle's Moon, and the book is a touching story of opposites attracting and the willingness of sacrificing for love. Though I would say that this is the weakest of the Elder Race books so far, with the bar set so high with the first two, being the weakest of the trio is not so bad. Will it still have a place on the keeper shelf? Yes. Will it be higher than Storm's Heart or Dragon Bound? No. But that still leaves a lot of room for greatness in this book! :)