10 May 2010

Wow, just wow! Review: Joey W Hill - The Vampire Queen's Servant


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Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (July 3, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425215903
ISBN-13: 978-0425215906

Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Main Characters: Lady Elyssa and Jacob Green
Series: Book one in Vampire Queen series
Book Origin: Personal Library

Cover Summary:
His blood. His soul. His body. Hers for the asking…
Lady Elyssa Yamato Amaterasu Wentworth is a centuries-old vampire who’s been given a new servant – Jacob, a total alpha male unaccustomed to submitting to any woman’s wishes. What really binds Jacob to her are not her sensual midnight hungers, but something far more provocative. It stirs her blood, renews her life and awakens her soul like only true love can. The passion between Lyssa and Jacob yields something else unexpected – a shared history that reaches back through the centuries and is fated to challenge their destiny like nothing ever will again.

My Review: There are some authors who are meant to push your boundaries and throw you in uncharted territory, for me Joey W Hill is such an author! THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT is a story about how Jacob becomes the servant of vampire queen Lyssa. A very simple given but the journey they undertake is executed with such depth of character and rich detail of vampire culture that it kept boredom far away from this story.

In THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT I got a first taste of the vampire culture which bears a cruel, dark side and among the vampires there’s always the vie for more power. Lyssa needs to be on her guard 24/7 and show no weakness. Though she is the only living Queen, Joey W Hill gave her one heck of an Achilles heel to balance her vast powers. At the beginning of the story I thought that perhaps this series starter wouldn’t do it for me, simply because Lyssa was the kind of character who didn’t nudge me out of my comfort zone, she threw me out of it. Her personality, her darker vampire side versus the more emotional and feminine side, and her actions born from that mentality made her a character I didn’t instantly like. Yet I read on, because if there was one thing I just had to know then it was her motivations for her actions, where did her personality stem from and what was hiding beneath the surface? The first glimpses of her hidden side gradually won me over, Lyssa is, if nothing else, a vampire queen who is thought-provoking and has an intricate personality demanding absolute attention. With Lyssa I got a strong, difficult and complex heroine who mesmerized me from the start.

Opposite of Lyssa there is Jacob. Now Jacob is a man I instantly loved and cherished for many reasons. He is an Irishman and I love the natural born attitude that comes along with that fact. It is also not in his nature to be a submissive, it is his promise to serve Lyssa with all that he is that fuels the need to serve her in that way. This brings a fire to their dialogues and their passion that livens up their growing connection. You can feel the challenge Jacob provides Lyssa, he dares her, he contradicts her, and he serves her in every way she needs him to serve without Jacob becoming a wimp of a man. Jacob is strong of mind and body but he is also loyal. He is charming, gallant and smart and he has the ability to make one woman the center of his singular devotion. He makes me weak in the knees and in that I can understand the seduction he presents for Lyssa.

Of course there are various obstacles for Lyssa and Jacob to overcome, some a bit easier than others. They presented dilemmas of the heart with the three degrees of binding between a vampire and her servant. Thomas, as the former vampire queen’s servant, still had a strong voice and effect on the overall story as his drama was gradually revealed. Lyssa also comes with a background that is gripping and then there is the strategic maneuvering of the vampire society, testing Lyssa with her powers that provide a setting where the etiquette between a vampire and its servant becomes crystal clear. These rules between a vampire and his/her servant are something that Lyssa tries to teach Jacob over and over. Both mentally and physically the eroticism is at times scintillating in its search for domination and submission as it is endearing in its heart rendering and vulnerable moments. Jacob’s desire to serve Lyssa is severely tested in this novel and his inner conflictions are well elaborated. It made me feel so very connected to his progress in becoming a servant. He may have been trained by Thomas to be a vampire servant but in no way was Jacob prepared for the emotional side of it. Because the author gave an in-depth view of Lyssa and Jacob’s inner thoughts I felt it all with them, especially how far Jacob was willing to take his servitude that was so essential to his character development.

There’s a changes coming in the vampire world and Lyssa has to prepare for the upheaval in the council and her territory, and this given spices the story even further. Still, I must also warn you, this is but the first episode where some things receive a conclusion but no real ending. The events that started in THE VAMPIRE QUEEN’S SERVANT, both in plot as in romance, are picked up in THE MARK OF THE VAMPIRE QUEEN. I for one am glad to have this book already up on the shelves.

This story took me on a journey where I had to get used to the customs of vampires and their servants. Where Lyssa’s introduction created a push-pull effect with me and I didn’t know what to think of her. Nevertheless, it is the use of prose that imbues the words, scenes, actions and dialogues of the characters with emotions that I consider a trait of this author. Her writing style amplifies the effect of this story and I got gradually pulled in, succumbed to the developing relationship that enthralled me with its dynamics.

Once again Joey W Hill knows how to keep me fascinated with an arresting plot arc, multi-faceted characters, the eroticism is an sensual feast that contains some violence and darkness, and a story that wields the power of her incredible storytelling. This is another series for my keeper’s shelf!

4 stars

Quote Lyssa:
I can’t bear to lose another servant…
She had no servant. No one to indulge her need to casually reach out, touch and stroke. No one to hold her close, surprising her with the offer of comfort. No one to make her smile, banish shadows from her eyes. No one to kick around and treat like dog shit. She spoke, her voice quiet, tired. “I release you from your oath Jacob. You don’t have to stay. You can go now. I’ll find my way home.

Quote Jacob:
Gentle and rough. Tenderness and cruelty. Two sides of the coin, pleasures as light and dark as the women’s contrasting skin, and with permutations of all the shades between. He couldn’t deny the allure of it. Within him, as he suspected it was for most men, were the gentle lover and the demanding, primal animal. Here he was allowed to indulge and unleash both. Over it all was the watchful presence of his Mistress who’d compelled him to his course, which added an indefinable but no less arousing ingredient to it. The stimulation he felt was a synergy of all the arousal in the room. Instead of two women, he was arousing all of them. The power of it swept over him. While it drained some force of his anger, it left a sharp edge that only fed the hunger in himself.

Quote Jacob/Lyssa:
“Yours,” he said fiercely in her ear. “Yours, no matter who you force me to fuck to prove your damn dominance. All yours, lady. Heart, soul, mind…every drop of my fucking blood is yours. And every tear, she thought, wondering if he realized that the wetness between his jaw and her cheek came from him. As Tara said. Overly sentimental, these Irishmen.
Her Irishman.
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15 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read this one!! I just read book five, Vampire Mistress - it was my first Joey Hill and I LOVED. So excited to go back to book one. Great review Leontine. And I agree - she pushed my boundaries in Vampire Mistress...and it really worked for me. She pushed just enough...and I want more :)

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  2. I do love a good vampire story. I'm off to check out to see if my library has any Joey hill books!

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  3. I keep hearing so much about her books but never read one. Which is a good one for me to start with?

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  4. I loved this book too. I have all the other books on my shelf. Definitely a series to keep.
    Great review Leontine.

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  5. Yayayayayayayay!! I am so glad that you read and reviewed it! AND OMG!!! I love your review! You know how I feel about Ms. Hill! I think she freaking rocks Apples!!!! Her writing is beyond anything I have ever read. She is unique in her world. And I simply cannot get enough of Jacob and Lyssa!

    She does push you beyond what you think you want to read, but not in a gaudy way. She is very sensual and very erotic and very..... HOT! Okay, I think you all get that I love these series!!!! And I have no problem letting you know how much I love her books!

    Hope all is well honey! Love ya!

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  6. @Mandi - Exactly what I felt too with TVQS, boundaries are pushed but in the best of ways. I loved Jacob and now I'm only hungering more for Gideon but I'm going to read in order of release and be a "good girl"

    @Buckeye Girl Reads - Via twitter you told me there's no TVQS at your library :( You should petition for it! Vampire Queen series is a must in my library LOL

    @Lynette - I've only read the first couple of books in her Daughter of Arianne series and the first in the Vampire Queen series and both series have things that push the envelope. I think you should go to her website, she has various series, read up and pick the one that appeals to you. I think her distinct voice shines through every book, no matter the characters or setting :)

    @Elaing8 - You betcha that this series is going to stay on my shelves, I look at the row of Joey W Hill's Trade PB's, all looking so pretty cause the cover gods blessed both series I have from her LOL I can't wait to continue reading this series!

    @Cecile - Hon, now I know who the voice in my head is that says; freaking rock apples. Sometimes I want express myself in a review and this phrase pops in my head LOL I knew it belonged to someone ROFL And yes, I know you love Joey W Hill, I'm sitting next to you on the fangirl fence, gobbling up the hunk-a-liscious characters this author brought into the world!

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  7. LMBO!!!! Girl, you know I will always be that voice in the back of your head when you are reading Joey Hill's book!!!!
    That woman does ROCK APPLES!!! LMBO!! You know I love saying that!
    Feel free to use it.. just lets me know that I fluttering around in your mind, lol!! That sounds kinda kinky! LOL!!!
    Girl... sitting on the fence... how about we are sitting on pins and needles!! This woman knows how to grab you and keep you with her the whole time through!
    I am just glad that you loved it!!!

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  8. Hey Leontine!

    Glad you enjoyed this one, girl! I read this early last year and while the beginning was difficult for me to get into the swing of things, I enjoyed the middle and end. Espeically after Jacob views Lyssa's past. Once I understood the hell she'd gone through with her husband, she became more real to me.

    What did you think of the penis hardware?? ;) There's a pic of the contraption with my review of TVQS. Its lovely eye full. *wink*

    Hugs, VFG

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  9. Great review :)
    Lol, I actually have a bookmark of this book next to me right now, staring a bit at it now. Sounds very good

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  10. I buying it now - even though I only have $4.00 left in my book budget. I don't care I'll run up my credit limit if I have to!

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  11. Smoking Hot, I can promise it is worth the credit bill to get this one!!!!!!!

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  12. @Cecile - Yeah, certain expressions instantly make me think of someone! But hon, we're kindred spirits and I can handle a bit of kink = you strutting around in my head LOL

    @VFG - In those moments Lyssa became so much more real for me. Not only a distant, powerful and aloof woman but one whose emotions are hidden so deep it takes a very perseverant man to uncover them ;) And the penis hardware...I had to google your review of TVQS to find the link and yeah, looking at it right now, it quite beautiful actually LOL

    @Blodeuedd - It is good and the cover art is gorgeous!

    @Smokinghotbooks - Woohoo, you go girl. Joey W Hill is going to shake up your reading world!! Enjoy Lyssa and Jacob!

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  13. DAYUM!! that sounds awesome, it's in my TBR and was perhaps 6th in line to be read, i think after your review hun it's getting bumped up!!!

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  14. Wew! Hot review!! I'm so happy to have the first books of this series on my ereader. I recently tasted from Ms Hill's 'Natural Law' and 'Rough Canvas' books and instantly knew I loved her way of writing! Those are contemporaries and I look forward to her vampire series now! :)

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  15. Hi Leontine:

    You are a better woman than I.

    I love Ms. Hill's mermaid series, she is a master of prose and characterization. But this book cut me to the quick, I got through it but I just wept for Jacob. While I understood the travesty Lady Lyssa endure at the hands of her husband, I couldn't endure her cruelty.

    But that was just me..

    I'm glad you enjoyed the book Leontine and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

    Best

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