I was hooked from Page 1. Jocelynn Drake has the soul of a poet and brilliant, expressive ways of rewriting hack-neyed, overused language. She is a joy to read.
Page 1 opens with Mira taking a horrible beating from a supernatural being claiming to be her real biological father. Mira is defenseless and can do nothing to protect herself. We learn that he is the devil and that he has multiple children, with Mira showing the most promise for his personal use. He wants her to learn to use Danaus' and Jabari's powers to increase her own. If she doesn't, he will return her to her mortal state and impregnate her (eeee-yewww!) in order to get a better result from his grandchild (oh, yuck yuck, yuck!!!).
In the meantime, the Coven calls Mira back to Europe to take her rightful seat. Danaus accompanies Mira as her "Consort" which gives him the status to attend meetings of the Coven with Mira. This is a good thing.
The Coven court intrigue ultimately sends Mira and Danaus to Budapest where the vampires have no leader. Mira is sent under the auspices of killing the naturi who are gathering there and consolidating the vampire heirarchy and power base. A feat she is expected to fail at.
While she is in Budapest bringing order of chaos (and it is bloody and heartless), Mira begins to consolidate her power base with the vampires Stefan (an almost-Ancient) and Valerio (already an Ancient)--both of whom have accompanied her and have been double-crossed by members of the Coven. They are met with murder, betrayal, mayhem, and lies of all sorts.
All throughout, her demon father makes appearances and threatens her. While Mira tells Danaus some of this, she doesn't tell Danaus everything--something I fear will come back to haunt her when Danaus finds out the full truth. Worse, Mira is forced to act on her evil father's will, tapping into Danaus' powers, and finally Jabari's, to vanquish an Ancient member of the Coven. Both Danaus and Jabari can feel her accessing their powers. Even though Danaus is not happy about it, he ultimately trusts her enough to give her permission when she needs it. Jabari, though, now has no reason to keep Mira alive and he is deadly furious with her.
This book sets up what will be coming in the rest of the series. There are many fascinating plot lines to be developed. How will she rid the world of her evil father? She is the fire-starter, but has she inherited other powers from the devil locked away from her by Jabari and Sadira? Who is the liege lord anyway? How will the conflict between her and Jabari end? What about the naturi who are gathering all throughout the world for another showdown? Gaizka, the horribly evil bori, has been shut away, and can only be freed by joint soul-obliterating power of Danaus and Mira. But what of Danaus? He has certain powers, but he has hasn't accepted his Bori half and potential powers that may come with that. And what will happen when he discovers that Mira has used his power to appease her wicked father?
Mira has both a soft side and a hard side. Through her hard side, she brought order and peace to her hometown of Savannah--thus keeping down murder and mayhem among the vampires. She is asked to do the same thing in Budapest. Yes, it's harsh. Yes, she has no remorse. But, yes, it's absolutely necessary. It is a superb insight into her history and her own growth.
In one of the final showdowns in the book, Mira is forced to make an unimaginable short-term alliance with a feared enemy to survive a deadly situation. This again speaks to her intelligence and pragmatism.
I hate heroes and heroines who are so conflicted about what needs that they make all the wrong choices and sometimes can't get it done until it's too late and the cost is too high. Mira doesn't do that. She doesn't second guess herself. She may not like it, but she does it. This is what makes her a great heroine and fighter.
I love smart heroines who give no quarter. I also love heroines who are loyal to those whom they love and will do anything to protect them. She is also compassionate, funny, and temperamental. Danaus hurts her time and time again, but she is constant and doesn't hold grudges. Mira is a great heroine.
This book is filled with intrigue, danger, heartbreak, exploration, new relationships, old relationships, and all the things have been made the series an outstanding one. All of these books are bloody and gory and this is no exception. If you don't like violence and blood, then be forewarned, because you won't like it.
If you understand the necessity of blood gore to an intensively driven plot and character development, don't miss it!