I went into this novel warily. I like a good reverse harem, and I’m okay with vampires, but the cover warned me to proceed with caution. Joely Sue Burkhart does vampires sooo right. The cover says it all. If you’re not okay with blood, this is NOT the book for you. This includes naturally shed blood as well as that shed through cuts, bites, and scratches. Too often, authors humanize the monsters in an attempt to make what they do sexy. In Queen Takes Knights, Burkhart revels in the thing that makes vampires so fascinating: blood. She takes that and turns into an erotic story about the things that go bump in the night.
Her writing of the characters is impeccable, with chapters alternating between the female lead and her two Blood (knights) POV. They all have distinct voices and I can almost hear them speaking while I’m reading. Their emotions and personalities are complex and well-developed, while the storyline promises us tons of conflict. Shara is not a female MC that will lay down and take orders. Nor is she stupidly proud. She asks for help and explanations when she needs them, going so far as to call in a doctor to help figure out her own, unique physiology. She is not afraid of her lack of knowledge, yet never loses the aura of power and control that clings to her after gaining her gifts. It’s a fine line that Burkhart does extremely well.
Burkhart also introduces the reader to a new mythology regarding the origins of vampires. It’s revealed slowly, and I’m looking forward to more being revealed in the future. We learn as Shara learns, and that gives me one more reason to continue reading. I want to know the origins of these creatures, just as I want to know what happens in their futures. I want to know about the dangerous political battles they’re going to have to fight. This book really draws you in and gets you invested in the characters.
The only real issue I had with the book was the discrepancies in Shara’s reactions to things. Some things (like certain blood), she reacts in an extremely human manner. Others, she is so accepting, it borders on the impossible. She’s so wary of everything when she believes herself to be human, that it seems impossible she slips into trusting the guys so easily. While there are moments of doubt, and I understand she needs to trust the guys to move the story forward, but the lack of caution when it comes to them was a bit disturbing. It all gets explained away (sort of), but I still like to see a bit of realism in the reactions of characters–especially if they’re raised as human.
I highly, highly (like, five stars, highly) recommend this book for anybody who is looking for a new vampire tale.