Book Review: A Duel With The Vampire Lord (Married to Magic #3)

Title: A Duel With The Vampire Lord

Author: Elise Kova

Pub. Date: August 18, 2022

Pages: 536

Pub: Silver Wings PRess

Genre: YA Fantasy Romance

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


On the night of the blood moon, the Vampire Lord must die.

Floriane’s position as the forge maiden of Hunter’s Hamlet is one of reverence, for it is her skill that arms and protects the vampire hunters. She knows her place and is a faithful servant to the Master Hunter and her community… until the night of the blood moon. Until her brother is dying at the hands of the Vampire Lord Ruvan.

Wanting to defend her home at all costs, Floriane fights the vampire lord, ready to give her life if it means taking his. But Ruvan doesn’t want to take her life… he wants her.

Kidnapped and brought to the vampire castle, Floriane is now blood sworn to the vampire lord. She is bound in mind and body to her worst enemy. But Ruvan isn’t the fiend she thought he was. She learns the truth of the vampires: They are not mindless monsters, but a proud people, twisted and tortured by an ancient curse.

Ruvan believes that Floriane might be the key to ending his people’s suffering. All Floriane wants is to defend her home. Loyalties are tested and the lines between truth and lie, hate and passion, are blurred.

When her dagger is at his chest, will she be able to take the heart of the man who has claimed hers?

A darkly-reimagined Snow White meets inspiration from Beauty and the Beast in an epic fantasy world of hunters, vampires, and curses that run deeper than blood. This stand alone is complete with a “happily ever after” ending. It’s perfect for fantasy romance fans looking for just the right amount of steam and their next slow-burn and swoon worthy, enemies to lovers story.

While it is set in the Married to Magic universe, readers can start with this book.

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to Elise for gifting me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I truly love reading Elise’s books and have for years, so getting to read her new ones early is such a treat. If you’re interested, you can check out my reviews for the first two Married to Magic Books – A Deal With The Elf King and A Dance With The Fae Prince. I’m thoroughly loving this series, and while they do mildly interconnect, they’re standalones, which means you can read them out of order and never feel like you’re missing backstory.

I was really excited when Elise hinted and then announced that the third book in this series was going to be featuring vampires. Maybe it’s the longtime twilight nerd in me, or just how alluring vampires are – but damn do I have a weakness.

This book is a little slower and in my opinion not as addicting as the first two – there was really no drive to pick it back up right away if I had to put it down. But the big reveal the events leading up to the ending had my heart rate spiking and anxiety crawling through my chest. And every time I did pick it up, I was invested and completely absorbed in the book.

The reveals in this book were fantastic, they kept adding more and more to the story. While I do love that, it also did kind of make it feel a little anticlimactic. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but every time I thought or it felt like this was going to be the Big Reveal in the conflict, it was just another piece of the puzzle. It kept making me feel like we were going to get answers, and then still have like a hundred pages for shit to go wrong. It was like dangling the carrot and then ripping it away at the last second.

Also, while I did like Florain and Ruvan, the progression of their relationship felt a bit rushed? I liked that it wasn’t perfect and it was messy, because they both have a lot to unpack, and maybe the reason it was rushed, was because of the magic involved. But I wish it had been a bit more of a slow burn, and that the tension had been a bit more drawn out.

But I can also understand that Floraine has wanted more her whole life. Willing to do what was laid out before her, but slowly dying inside at not having control of her life. So when presented with that something more – I can understand why she more or less jumps at the chance, full steam ahead.

As for Ruvan, I definitely expected a different type/personality of vampire, so his character was a bit of a surprise. He’s interesting and open and just wanting to do the right thing – whatever that may be.

I do wish we’d gotten more from the side characters – Floraine’s family and Ruvan’s Covenant. Despite them having significant roles, we don’t get much about them. They’re mostly just their helping further the story along. I wanted more of Ventos and his backstory, especially after that reveal. And I wanted more Winny and Callos. Basically I just wanted more of all of them. Even more so after what was so clearly hinted at between two of them at the end.

I know these Married to Magic books are only mildly interconnected, but a part of me kind of wants everything to meet up and culminate in something at the end. Like, every offhand mention of the Fae or the Elves has me keyed up. But more than that, you just end up falling in love with the characters and you want more. I definitely want more after this book. So I need them to all meet up so I can see familiar faces again.

Overall I really enjoyed this – wasn’t necessarily my favorite in the series, but it was good and I’m always down for vampires. And with each new book in this series, the way Elise expands the world in which all these stories takes place is fantastic. Like with each new book, a new part of the map is unlocked and I think that’s so cool. I’m really excited for the next book in this series – it’s dealing with Sirens, and if you think I have no chill for vampires, just wait.

If you read the first two books in this series, I definitely recommend checking this one out as well!

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