The Serpent in Heaven by Charlaine Harris
Gunnie Rose #4
11/15/22 by Gallery Books
Review by Angela
Pivoting away from the main protagonists in the last three books, Lizbeth and Eli, The Serpent in Heaven focuses on Lizbeth’s half-sister, Felicia. Felicia is enrolled in the Grigori Rasputin School and seems to be doing okay. She has food, a bed to sleep in, if not new clothes, or the respect of her peers. She’s really only there because her blood is valuable in that she is directly related to Rasputin and the only blood that can heal the Tsar.
The book picks up quickly with an attempted kidnapping and Felicia utilizing the magic skills she learned from her father in Mexico. The kidnappers are unknown to anyone at the school and no one can figure out why Felicia would be a target. Then two more bad guys invade the campus and force Felicia to defend herself. Amidst all this, the school is suffering from an outbreak of the Spanish flu and is understaffed and exhausted.
Charlaine Harris has a rambling storytelling style in this series, but it works for me. I love her imaginative use of magic abilities and worldbuilding where the Russian royal family has taken sanctuary in a North America vastly different from what we know today. These books remind me of a cross between the regency period in England and the old west.
Felicia is a firecracker, finally growing up and into her own skin. She delights in the simplest of things, good food, new clothes, and burgeoning friendships. But she’s incredibly powerful and the school doesn’t know quite what to do with her. I liked seeing the world from her perspective and watching the mystery of who is pursuing her unfold. Ms. Harris fleshes out her character well, giving readers glimpses of her incredible power, while also showing her vulnerabilities.
I’m not sure exactly where her new relationship with Peter, Eli’s brother, is going, but I kind of hope she discovers a new love interest in future installments. They just don’t seem like a good match. The spark and chemistry aren’t there. I was pleased with the revelations of her bloodline and connection to Felix.
While not my favorite book in the series, I do enjoy this world and liked getting to know more about Felicia. I’m curious if she will once again feature in the next installment, or if Lizbeth and Eli will be making an appearance again.
Final grade- B-