- The term “reverse harem” is racist and I won’t be using it. It’s based on a racist understanding of what a harem actually is. If you have questions, google “harem is racist” and you’ll get better deep dives into Orientalism and hypersexualization than I could possibly give.
- Court of the Vampire Queen was previously released as three novellas in the Bloodline Vampires series – Sacrifice, Heir, and Queen.
- There is a lot of blood, drinking blood, and bloody sex in the book. If you are squeamish about blood, this might not be the book for you.
I like Katee Robert and I generally like her books. She is an incredibly prolific writer and not everything she writes is exactly my cup of tea. When she began releasing the Bloodline Vampire series in late 2020, I had too many other things on my plate, so I admired the pretty covers and moved on. I was delighted though to grab an arc of the three novellas together.
Katee Robert is rather spare with her world building. And that’s fine. I really only notice it because I’ve read some intense world building books back to back. Anyway, there are vampires. Vampires can mate with humans and produce dhampir – human and vampire. Some vampires are turned, some are born. Of those born vampires, I think some, but not all, are members of “bloodline” vampire families with powerful magical abilities. Mina is a dhampir, and a disappointing one at that because she doesn’t have the magical powers other dhampir have. Her father, a tyrannical vampire king has one bloodline vampire held captive by a blood ward. He sends Mina to be a sacrificial meal for his captive, Malachi.
The consent in their first encounter is dubious, and stays dubious for a while. Mina and Malachi are trapped in situations not of their choosing, and then Wolf and Rylan (also vampires) become trapped in a somewhat different situation with them. Consent and choice are themes throughout the book. No one has complete freedom to choose and they have to balance goals with the price of those goals.
Everything is told from Mina’s perspective so things that could be plot-holes are glossed over because they aren’t things Mina cares about. And really, if you are looking for a plot where everything is explained, you are reading the wrong author. That said, I disagree with the readers who call it smut without plot. Robert isn’t skimping on plot. There is quite a bit of plot in those sex scenes.
I did struggle a bit with the amount of blood. The number of mattresses, sheets, carpets, and other furniture ruined by blood play was profligate. But Katee Robert still managed to make those blood soaked sex scenes emotional and somehow, charming. If you are interested in her new A Deal with a Demon series, Court of the Vampire Queen is a nice lead in.
CW: dubious consent, past parental abuse, serious bodily injury, blood, strategic pregnancy, murder.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Sourcebooks Casablanca via Netgalley. My opinions are my own, freely and honestly given.