Ali Hazelwood has written a spicy paranormal romance with a vampire (vampyre) bride and a werewolf (were) groom. It’s much darker and steamier than her STEM books but still has her epic banter and humor and I devoured it.
The first few chapters have a lot of world building and measured pace as we learn about the alliances between the Humans, Weres, and Vampyres. The Vampyres' numbers are declining and they rely on their powerful dynasty and talents to survive. Their focus is on what’s best for their people as a whole and consider an individual's emotions to be insignificant. The Humans have strength in numbers - there are a lot of them - while the Weres, who are stronger and faster, are all about peaceful diplomatic talks and alliances.
Misery Lark’s father, Henry, is a powerful and cruel Vampyre leader. He has arranged for her to marry Lowe Moreland, the Alpha of the Southwest Weres, a move Henry Lark claims is part of an alliance to keep the peace between the vampyres and weres. Surprisingly, Misery agrees to a marriage of convenience with Lowe because... she has an ulterior motive.
Misery cares for exactly one other creature in the world, her best friend Serena, who, several months ago vanished. Misery is determined to find her and the only clue she has suggests that, before her disappearance, Serena, a Human reporter, was looking into the Alpha Were. Misery hopes that by moving into Were territory, she will be able to uncover info that leads to Serena.
She doesn't meet her husband to be until their wedding day. He turns out to be gorgeous and, thankfully as far as Misery is concerned, neither he nor his Were seconds kill her or her Vampyre cohorts. He's clearly wildly unenthusiastic about their union and Misery is sure that he and the other Weres will make her life miserable when she moves in with him. At first, this is true, but, as the days pass, Misery finds that life in the Were >compound isn't at all what she thought it would be.
The book is written, with the exception of a paragraph that begins each chapter, in Misery's point of view. Thus we only, in general, see Lowe through her eyes. What we see is FABULOUS and one of my very favorite things about the book.
I loved how supportive Lowe is of Misery and how he stands up for her, letting the pack know she is under his protection. It is wonderful to see Misery use her special Vampyre powers and genius computer hacking skills to help the Pack uncover the threats against them.
The story really takes off in the second half when Lowe and Misery spend more time together and learn each other’s secrets. Misery is really snarky--her POV made laugh again and again. She has so many great one line zingers. As she spends time with Lowe and the Weres, all the while searching for clues about Serena, her perspective on not just Vampyres, but Weres and even herself shift. Hazelwood writes the changes beautifully--I really believed in Misery's journey of self-discovery.
This book has more drama than her other books and it’s also a lot spicier. Some of the details of their mating are pretty weird and its awkward as they learn how to make it work between them, but happily, they get it figured out. Lowe and Misery really are perfect for each other.
There are also many other wonderful characters - Ana, Lowe’s little sister, Owen, Misery’s twin brother, Serena, and a cat named Sparkles. There are villains, betrayals, kidnappings, and lots of love as well as sex with werewolf knotting. There are hints of a second book to follow and I'm all in for that.
If you are a Hazelwood fan like me and would enjoy dipping your toe into her paranormal world, this is one you can really sink your teeth into!
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