The Emerald Lily Juliette Cross
Series: Vampire Blood #4
Released: January 29, 2018
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “I love you, Vilhelmina Dragomir.” She laced her slender arms around his neck, a tear slipping from one eye even as she smiled. “I love you, Mikhail Romanov.” “Is it that bad that you must cry?” he teased. “It’s that good.”
When Princess Vilhelmina Dragomir is awakened from her hellish sleep with a blood kiss from a handsome stranger, she learns that much has changed while she’s been away. The armies of the Black Lily and the vampire Crown have amassed and are on the brink of war.
No romantic entanglements, no family. Mikhail Romanov, Captain of the Bloodguard, took a vow when he joined the Bloodguard. But he never planned for the gut-punching attraction he would feel for the untouchable princess. He must keep his focus, though. In order to avenge his family, it’s essential he help Mina claim her crown and keep his damn hands off of her.
But Mina sets her heart on the elusive captain, and keeping his focus on the great battle ahead becomes harder and harder. While they’re making plans, the evil King Dominik has been making some of his own. This time, he will show no mercy to the Princess…
The Emerald Lily is the thrilling conclusion to the Vampire Blood series and it was everything a series-ender should be. Plot twists and shocking reveals kept the story moving, making this a fast read that fully engaged and entertained from cover to cover. Right away I’ll tell you that this isn’t really a stand alone experience. This novel is the culmination of intricately connected events and character development that you cheat yourself out of if you read alone, if starting from book one is too daunting (it isn’t!) I would definitely recommend reading book 3, the White Lily as it lays a solid foundation and references the previous novels nicely. The best news? This series is so fun, reading them is a breeze.
Emerald features Mikhail the reluctant ruler and Mina the accursed princess whose rescue and destiny drives the primary plot of the story. Mikhail is one of my favorite heroes from Vampire Blood. He is so honorable and protective, that you are nearly lulled into false senses of security and forget that he is beyond lethal and has a deeply seated thirst for revenge on those that wronged his family. I could not help vacillating between rooting for him in all ways, wanting to prod him into action when his sense of honor hindered the sexy times (draft!, basted honor! ha) and observing in awe when he lets loose his vampiric rage on his enemies. As Captain of the Blood Guard, he can’t afford to waiver or fail in his mission and his attraction and connection to Mina is chipping away at his resolve and distracting him in delicious ways.
Every kiss he stole from her was another distraction from their cause, which was far more important than a lovers’ tryst. No one else had figured it out, but Mikhail had. Their success depended upon Princess Vilhelmina. His infatuation with the woman only muddied the waters, clouding what was first and foremost—the future of Varis. So he’d keep his cock in his pants and his thoughts as pristine and clean as frigid, glacial waters in her presence. Even if the woman drove him insane with desire, he’d stay calm.
“Stay calm,” he repeated to himself, combing a hand through his hair, ruffling it in a very not-calm manner.
Mina was not your average fairy tale princess. Awakened at last from her cursed slumber, she is not at all the coltish and coddled princess you would anticipate. She was eager to be useful and valiant in her own right, learning to shoot a bow & arrow and balking at being used and married off to those who sought to destroy the realms. Mina is vivacious and funny! I always think humor is often lost with heroines in this genre, but Mina was a quippy delight!
“Oh, darling. You’ve never known a king like me. My queen’s pleasure comes before anything else.” She laughed. “It sounds to me as if you’re thinking of your pleasure.”
Mina and Mikhail are in the fight of their lives as they do their part in battling the insidious and treacherous villainous Queen Morgrid and her psycho son King Dominik.
Morgrid turned away. “Put her in her room till tonight, my son.” She sashayed toward Radomir, whose worshipful yet cold gaze was fixed on his queen. “And, Dominik?”
He tugged Mina by one arm toward the door. “Yes, Mother?”
“No bedding her till after the midnight ceremony. The child we need must be legitimate from conception.”
He said nothing. Mina didn’t dare look at him. With a hand resting upon Radomir’s chest, the queen looked over her shoulder, still holding her glass of blood. “Son, I only need the firstborn. Then you can beget as many as you like on her.”
“Of course, Mother.”
Talk about creeeptastic mother- mamas-boy dynamic! These two were horrifying and their demise was nothing short of spectacular. Their darkness provided a great contrast to the rebel forces and the “good guys” who amassed to challenge them. Beyond enjoying everything Mina and Mikhail, it was such a treat seeing all the past characters come together. We get to revisit all of the previous couples and see how they’ve grown since their novels (here is where reading the earlier books is such a pay off!).
I really enjoyed The Emerald Lily, it is such a different lane from author Juliette Cross’ other series (which include fantasy/paranormal romances with dragons and angels and magic, oh my!). This spin on Sleeping Beauty was like a bedtime story for grown ups with a vampire blood kissing, faction war, decapitating twist! It was my favorite of the series, it had a blend of romance adventure and violence that surpassed the previous books and it felt right to end on such a high. The big reveal is a huge spoiler that I won’t even dance around. Just know that nothing is ever what it seems in any fairy-tale and that rings particularly true in the Emerald Lily.
My only complaint is I thought it ended a little too abruptly, I kept clicking for more pages and content! There was a short epilogue that promises a HEA and peace throughout the land and from what I gather, good sex for the rest of their immortal lives.
Who can argue with that?