fairy tale retelling

One Bite by Jennifer Blackstream

One Bite
Author: Jennifer Blackstream
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing
Series: Blood Prince #2
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Source: Author
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: fivestar

 

Irina is determined to continue her fight for freedom. Freedom for her from her evil sorceress stepmother, and freedom for every faction in the kingdom of Dacia. Unfortunately, her stepmother isn’t about to let that happen and she’s got a poisoned apple and a glass coffin with Irina’s name on them… 

Kirill is a vampire prince determined to be a vampire king. Unfortunately, his vampiric father has no intentions of vacating the throne anytime soon and the prophecy Kirill found hinting at a “Great New Kingdom” is proving tricky to translate. It doesn’t help that the beautiful woman he found unconscious in the woods seems determined to undermine his authority at every turn. He’d kill her himself if she didn’t have the strangest gift for soothing his bloodthirsty spirit. 

Even an undead mastermind can’t foresee everything. Seven dwarves. A poison apple. A glass coffin. It’s a strange and terrifying world when events can take a turn for the better or worse with just…One Bite.

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author as part of a R2R in the Lovers of Paranormal Goodreads group. This doesn’t affect my review and the following is my honest opinion.

After reading Before Midnight my expectations for the second book in the Blood Prince series were high. Jennifer Blackstream met and then exceeded them! Yet again you were given a peek into the plans laid by a power the princes have no idea is pulling their strings. I’m growing more and more intrigued with each glimpse we’re given. What will the princes do if this outside force is ever made known to them? Considering some of their personalities I think the conclusion of this series will be explosive. Though, honestly, I’m not looking forward to the end; I’ve grown rather fond of the characters Ms. Blackstream has thus far introduced us to. I can only hope that once Blood Prince is over she’ll treat us to future stories involving the princes and their princesses!

Those are worries that can be saved for another day! There are still Blood Prince books to read!

One Bite is a retelling of the Snow White story with another paranormal twist: vampires! The kingdom of Dacia is one full of dark creatures and the royal family are among the darkest of them. I wasn’t expecting the addition of Russian folklore creatures and myths but Ms. Blackstream did a superb job of weaving them into her tale right alongside the Snow White elements. It seemed so natural and worked so well with her setting! While I liked the kingdom of the first book, Dacia really stuck with me. I’m a fan of darker fantasy with some horror elements to it and Dacia pushed all the right buttons for me in those regards. Along with the vibrant characters, the world made the book come to life for me. Irina, the heroine of the tale, is a strong young woman with noble goals and a kind heart as well as a cunning mind. From the start she held her own and I appreciated her determination and drive. As the book went on and we learned more of her heritage and history I found myself rooting for her more and more. And, considering the prince she sometimes acts in opposition to, that surprised me.

Kirill fits many of the archetypes that make me all but fall in love with a character. I have a fondness for schemers and social engineers and Kirill was both. He kept his ambitions in mind throughout the book and only, in a time of great duress, did he consider compromising them. Both he and Irina held onto their goals till the eleventh hour and the conflict it sparked between them was delightful to watch. In the end they found a solution that didn’t compromise them as characters and I love that. All too often you see characters in romance novels becoming a wholly different person to suit the needs of their significant others. To see Irina and Kirill grow to work together and flourish despite their differing views was one of the best parts of One Bite in my mind.

While I love this book and give it five out of five stars, I wish it had been longer. Like Before Midnight I feel that it would have benefited from more exploration of the characters and the world they live in. Maybe that’s just me being selfish and hopeful though as Ms. Blackstream told a fabulous tale that rivaled stories double the page count of One Bite. Still, I would very much have loved to learned more of Irina’s sorceress stepmother.  Serafina was an interesting character from the moment she swept onto the page. And then the hints at her Sleeping Beauty origins had me desperate for more. Perhaps one day Ms. Blackstream will write a stepmother series about the histories of the women we see opposing her princesses. (I would devour those books in a heartbeat.)

I highly recommend this book. As in stop reading this review and go out and get it already! If you love fairy tales steeped in political intrigue this one is for you.

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