Title: Of Last Resort (Princes of the Blood #1)
Author: Megan Derr
Length: 235 Pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Heat Level: Sweet & Spicy
Overall Rating: 4.5 rounded up to 5 Surprised hearts
Synopsis: In a kingdom ravaged by the beasts and terrors of an ancient war, the only hope against them is the army of mixed-blood beings known as the King’s Legion: dragoons, shadowmarch, sorcerers, titans … and the Princes of the Blood, nigh-invincible warriors of fearsome magic and strength, their only weakness a need for pure human blood.
When his brother runs away, Raffé agrees to undergo the Blooding, but he is a pale imitation of his strong, capable brother. No one expects him to survive and become a Prince, merely to die to save the rest of his family and preserve honor.
But runaways and weaklings are the least of the kingdom’s concerns when an ancient evil returns with new tricks, and their only hope lies with knowledge long lost and a fierce bond forged in darkness … via GoodReads
Review: This was both not what I expected, and more than I expected. I’ve never read Megan Derr before, but I was pleasantly surprised. With its richly detailed worldbuilding and multitude of characters, I was completely gripped from beginning to end. I was immersed in demons, angels, mages, werewolves (well, that’s what I took wolves of the moon to be), high priests, revenants, zombies, sea serpents, flying things, and dragons! And I grew to love most of them, especially the princes and the dragons.
While I was expecting vampires, instead I got demons – or half-demons actually (as the case may be here) called, Princes of the Blood. Now, ordinarily, that probably would have ticked me off, but I enjoyed this so much, I didn’t care. And though they were demons, they had vampiric qualities. So in the end, I got what I was looking for anyway. I suspect that Ms. Derr might be a Supernatural fan, but if she isn’t it’s just a coincidence then, because I saw some similarities in her monsters. For instance, her demons needed blood to sustain themselves like a vampire, however, not for the same reasons. Both the angels and demons that share their form with humans are stronger than their human side can host, so the blood helps them maintain their human body. In Supernatural, the demons were too powerful as well, and needed to drink blood in order to keep their host from essentially burning away. The stronger the being, the more blood needed.
But I digress, in any event, this was a great read for me. Something different, which I so desperately needed.
We start with Raffe, who is nobody special in his families eyes. Just an accountant who is more or less a disgrace. He forever lives in his brother’s shadow and fails to match any of his superior qualities: his charm, his looks, strength, abilities – but then his brother disappears the night before he is to made a Prince of the Blood. The highest honor where he’s to become soldier to protect the citizens of their kingdom after acquiring his powers. Raffe takes his place and volunteers for the Blooding ceremony that falls upon each family who produces an heir of suitable demon blood in order to save his family’s lives. No one expects him to survive, even himself.
The night before (his last as a human) he meets our love interest, “Cambord” and they spend one night together as that is Raffe’s wish – to feel what it is like to be ‘wanted’. I won’t go into much detail here, because his identity would be a spoiler. Let’s just say their love is that of the star-crossed variety because of who they are. There is a happy ending for them though, believe it or not.
The relationship however, does not take center stage as there is a great deal of plot in this story. A trusted member of their inner circle betrays the Princes and their kingdom, and begins a series of rituals that are essentially to end the world as they know it. Someone who, I did not see coming at all. Perhaps I was too lost in the world I was reading or it just snuck up on me, either way, it was nice to not know for once and be genuinely surprised.
That’s not to say that the relationship is nonexistent, because it isn’t, there’s just enough to keep you interested. It’s both sweet and sexy, and you can’t help but root for them even though you know everyone is against them. But it’s not just them you root for, it’s all the Princes you meet, more or less. They kinda get under your skin with the bond they form and the love they have for each other.
I’d love to say more, but, it’s hard to cover everything without really spoiling the story. If you like some good worldbuilding, a little mystery, some love and sacrifice, great characters and a nasty little villain, I’d recommend you give this one a try. I couldn’t seem to put it down. I hope it captures you too!