This Chick Read: A Duel with the Vampire Lord (Married to Magic series) by Elise Kova

Technically, A Duel with the Vampire Lord is the third book in the Married to Magic series, but as each of these books are stand alone novels, they can be read independently, without having to read the others in the series first.

Floriane is the Forge Maiden in Hunter’s Hamlet. It’s her job to forge all of the silver blades that will be used to hopefully slay the Vampire Lord when he arrives with the Blood Moon to try to gain access to Hunter’s Hamlet and kill them all. Floriane’s twin brother will fight for the first time and as he has been secretly training Floriane, she will stay behind and protect their mother. When the evening arrives, her brother brings her a magical draft and tells her to drink it that night as it will give her strength in case a vampire breaks through their forces. When the time comes and Floriane drinks the draft it gives her super powers, including increased hearing and she can hear her brother scream. She runs to the front lines and comes face to face with the Vampire Lord.

I’m a big fan of Elise Kova’s and love the way she crafts her fantasy novels. For me, this is the first one that I had trouble buying into. I loved the set-up with Floriane’s heritage as the Forge Maiden, and Ruvan’s inheritance of the title Vampire Lord. The lore surrounding the “curse” on each side of the battle tells the same story- a curse was wrought unto the vampires/humans that they must kill the vampire lord/Chief hunter in order for the other species to survive. Without giving away that important aspect to this story, it took way too long for everyone to figure out that there was a problem with the story behind that curse. Way too long. I usually read a couple of novels at the same time and will admit that I picked up other books rather than making my way through this story because I got a little bored with the set-up. That is not a normal habit for me with this author at all. I just didn’t find that portion of their story or the romance between Ruvan and Floriane to be all that interesting. As an aside, the cover also threw me off a bit. It’s the first where I found myself really disliking how the characters looks were interpreted. I usually fall in love with the cover first!

I’m used to Elisa Kova’s novels having the heroine go through fierce battles, personality conflicts, and passionate feelings but Floriane’s character was fiercely stubborn in her beliefs about the vampire/human conflict and that stubbornness didn’t redeem her in my eyes, despite her actions in the last third of the novel. I feel like I’m kind of being hard on her, but that’s just how I feel about her and those feelings are reflected in how much I liked the book. Ugh. I hate that because again, I’m a big fan of this authors.

What did I like about the book? I loved Ruvan and his buddies. What a great cast of characters and their backstories filled with drama and gloom only made me love their bickering and friendships even more. These vampir were not the scary beings of childhood nightmares but normal folk who loved and lost. Actually that contrast between Hunter’s Hamlet residents and the vampir were very striking and probably caused my feelings of “blah-ness” I felt towards Floriane. She paled in comparison with these interesting people.

If you’re like me and you are a fan of Elise Kova’s fantasy novels, please do read this one and decide for yourselves whether you feel the same as I. Reading is like artwork in that it’s all relative to the person reading/viewing the piece. You may fall in love with Floriane and not have the same issues I had with this novel. In fact I hope that’s the case. I’m almost positive you’ll feel the same way I do about the cover though. LOL. ❤️❤️❤️

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