ARC Review: Prince of Power (Chronicles of Yavn #2) by Elisabeth Staab
Nobody ever said love was easy. Certainly not Anton, cast-off son of the evil and cruel wizard Master, in love with with the vampire King’s half-sister… his people’s sworn enemy and source of bloody power. Anton was supposed to follow and capture her for his father’s diabolical schemes, but fell in love with her instead, and now lives in the limbo of not fitting in with, or being accepted by, either side of the war. Tyra’s half-vampire heritage has always been a sensitive subject, the reason she trains harder than her full-blood vampire brethren and constantly pushes herself to the brink of exhaustion. Now that Anton has saved her life, how can she reconcile these warm, fuzzy feelings of need with her people’s violent hatred toward his kind? Can she trust that his desire to help them defeat his tyrant father is genuine and not part of some elaborate trick? And, even if she manages to get past all that, how can she convince her own people it’s safe to harbor and trust the enemy now in their midst? Prince of Power is a Recommended Read!
- Title: Prince of Power
- Series: Chronicles of Yavn book #2
- Author: Elisabeth Staab
- Prominent Characters: Anton, Tyra
- Recommended Reader Age: 16+
- Genre(s): Paranormal romance
- Sexual Content Level: moderate
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Its been a while since I read King of Darkness and Prince of Power starts right where it left off. I’m not a fan of info dumps and thankfully Ms. Staab doesn’t fall victim to the let-me-tell-you-everything-you-missed-in-the-last-book folly, but she also doesn’t drop enough hints in the start of the book to help fill in the backstory organically, and I found myself still confused 50 pages in about the circumstances these key characters initially went missing in and the closing scenes of King of Darkness that led to some of the current dialogue.
The initial chemistry between Tyra and Anton was a little shaky for me. That’s probably due to the abrupt start of the book; if you’ve just come from reading King of Darkness, I imagine it will be a smoother transition. I love a strong heroine, but the hero’s gotta be strong too, and Tyra treats him with kid gloves. Anton reinforces that at the start with his passive and self-defeating attitude, although, thankfully, the story is tempered with his increasingly frequent flashes of temper and spine as the plot progresses. That said, once Anton comes to terms with who and what he is, and shows just how willing he is to fight for what’s important to him, his personality is loveable, multi-faceted and with depth. In this age of alpha-male dominants rampaging all over the pages of our favorite stories, it’s easy to forget just how endearing all the other men can be, and Anton is a delightful mix of sensitive and strong, less-than-confident yet powerful, loyal and protective. Even though Anton is a virgin, another rare happenstance for modern-day romantic male heroes, their first love scene is delightfully awkward before shooting right into steamy hot. Thanks be to King Thad, Interrupter Of Coitus and all-around grumpyhead this book, for unknowingly (and probably unwillingly, had he realized what was happening) amping up the intensity of that first encounter.
Tyra, on the other hand, is rash and impulsive in nearly every situation and doesn’t seem to learn from her mistakes at all. It’s difficult to identify with a heroine like that, especially when you start to dread each new “situation” she’s going to cause as you see it unfolding. It actually reminded me a little of the early days of Cat & Bones’ relationship from the Night Huntress series, where each was constantly holding things back from the other (especially Cat!) and trying to handle everything on their own. It certainly makes for great drama and excitement, but can be frustrating to read.
Like King of Darkness before it, Prince of Power draws the reader into the story through multi-threaded plotlines and oft-switching scenes. Anton and Tyra are clearly the main focus, but characters from KoD aren’t forgotten and new story arcs are skillfully seeded. The secondary storylines are definitely building up to something big, and I felt a little as is Prince of Power is more of a “The Two Towers” sort of puzzle piece. The Lee-Alexia arc has certainly gained new momentum, and something forboding is up with Xander… not to mention the possibility of a high-level conspiracy for Thad’s very throne.
The major elephant in the room, and the biggest obstacle for Anton and Tyra as a couple, isn’t the fact that he’s of wizard descent but that he has powers. Wizards can only attain powers through a grizzly, bloody ritual that involves eating a vampire’s still-beating heart, where they steal the power along with the vampire victim’s life. Right up to the end I wondered how Ms. Staab was going to resolve this because of the profound sadness and innate mistrust it would constantly cause, not just for Tyra but for all of the vampires both she and Anton would eventually use those powers in front of. The resolution of that conflict is beautifully, skillfully, and believably done.
Gotta love a man who appreciates a badass woman…
It seemed that his caveman guy brain should want a tiny woman that he could club and throw over his shoulder. Should, should, should. Screw “should”. He nudged her chin so he could kiss her properly. “I love you the way you are. I wouldn’t want to change any of it.”
If you liked…
If you liked Prince of Power (and King of Darkness), you should check out Sara Humphreys’ Amoveo Legend series (starting with Unleashed). While not vamps, these shifters are also facing life-and-death battle with their mortal enemies while fighting off threats from secret factions within their own ranks.
Of course, if you’re considering reading Prince of Power but haven’t yet read King of Darkness, I recommend picking up KoD first.
Overall, Prince of Power is a good read but ultimately lacks the driving energy that so defined the first book in the Chronicles of Yavn series. Anton steals the show and I enjoyed his chemistry with Tyra once those two finally figured out what to do with each other. If you haven’t read King of Darkness, you’ll definitely want to start there as this is not a stand-alone novel, but it’s a good transition to what promises to be a reveal of some very old, very volatile vampire secrets and an explosive wizard confrontation. Prince of Power is a Recommended Read!
Rating: Prince of Power