Reviewed by: Margaret
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous boooks. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, The Black Lily.
So far, the Vampire Blood series has given us vampire retellings of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Snow White. The series finale, The Emerald Lily, adapts the Sleeping Beauty story to the world in which humans and their vampire allies are rising up against the evil vampire queen.
Many aspects of the original fairytale make it into the story—the princess being both cursed and blessed at birth, falling into a magical sleep, and being awakened by a kiss from a prince. But as we learned from Shrek, rescuing the princess is not the end of the story, only the beginning.
Princess Mina has been in a bloodless sleep, essentially starved in to a coma, since early in the series. When the Bloodguard, an elite band of vampire mercenaries, learn of her location Captain Mikhael and a few of his best warriors set out to rescue her from her tower. They eventually reunite with the members of the Black Lily, including all the couples from the previous books, to work on a plan to kill the queen and her cruel son King Dominick. And Mina is instrumental in that plan.
Mikhael took a vow to forego relationships and family when he founded the Bloodguard, but he can’t deny his attraction to Mina. He’s torn between his desire for her and the need to avenge a wrong done to his family by the queen. I loved that his history brought another fairytale trope into the romance plot, but I’m not telling you which one because spoiler.
As much as it’s a fairytale, The Emerald Lily is the story of a woman who woke up one day and realized that her worth is not dependent on a man, despite what she’s been told her whole life. She pursues her pleasure and her man, as well as her rightful place as queen. The whole series is about a resistance movement but none of the previous books have felt quite so ripped from the headlines, which is ironic given the historical setting.
The Emerald Lily also incorporates a few of the world’s own fairytales, like the story of the heartstone’s creation, which I loved. Even though it’s a satisfying end to the series, I’d be happy to spend more time in this world. The Bloodguard and the Hartwolf clans are both just begging for a spinoff series!
Sexual content: graphic sex, references to sexual violence