Lothaire has been a highly anticipated book for me. You see, I am a lover of this series even when I had a hard time getting into the first few books. In fact I read them out of order and took forever to catch up. When I did, I started scream at the 10-12 month wait between books. The reason? Besides wanting to read it instantly, I tend to forget little details the longer I go between books. Now that we are at book 12, I just can't go back and re-read every book to revive my memory. Despite my issues, I was looking forward to this book with bated breath. And here comes the review.
Lothaire is the Enemy of Old and bastard sone of the King of the Horde, Stefanovich. Having lived longer than most of the Lore, he has amassed a ledger of debts so he can carry out his Endgame. The book starts with Lothaire and his mother being cast from their kingdom by Lothaire's father. To save her son, Ivana buries Lothaire in the snow and takes on the local mortals to her death, but not before she evokes promises from her son that he would slay Stefanovich and take control of the Horde, uniting it with the Dacian kingdom she is descended from and also forsaken.
Now a millennia later, Lothaire is a much feared and hunted vampire of the Lore. His one weakness, his Bride. Lothaire has found his Bride in the body of Elizabeth Pierce, a hillbilly living in a trailer in mining country. This Enemy of Old just can't process that is bride is a mortal, but also an uneducated, dumb, hillbilly (his words not mine). He visits her from time to time over several years thinking she is too young to Blood him, but upon the last visit he is Blooded, but is his bride Ellie or Sayora, the Soul Reaper goddess who has possessed her body?
Ellie has lived a good life with family and friends. She watched her father die in the mines. Determined to make a better life, she works hard to save for college. All of this is derailed when she is possessed by Saroya, a Soul Reaper - goddess. Saroya has been cursed by her twin sister to inhabit mortal bodies and now she has Ellie. But Ellie isn't going without a fight. She often wakes up with no memory of what happened, but often is covered in blood and gore. When she has had enough, she decides the only escape is to kill herself, but Lothaire won't allow it. Incarcerated for 5 years on death row, Ellie is ready for the end. While this may seem weak, it is her way of ridding the world of evil and it looks more heroic than weak. Lothaire once again rescues her, but is it really a rescue when he only plans to kill her soul?
This book delivers on many levels. You get the humor and sarcasm you find in all the past books that make you love the Lore. The sex is off the bed HOT! Even if some of it was in anger and possibly bordered on non-consensual. It did push some buttons at times when I wanted to tell them no means no, but it was never rape. You love and hate Lothaire. Usually there wasn't much in between. He just wouldn't allow for gray area. There are completely reprehensible characters and other characters you know do things for the better good but still seem harsh. We get visits from past characters like Thad, but also meet new characters like Hag. It really makes me hate to see the end, if ever, of this series.
Lothaire spent so many years crafting his Endgame that you start to not feel the sympathy for the child who lost his mother. He has collected debts from tons of Lore people, all for his strategy. His mind never stops working, working on puzzles and other riddles that make him the master strategist. He often knows how a battle will play out even before it starts, except when he is battling Ellie. She excites him and frustrates him with her defiance. He is egotistical, arrogant, vain, confident, rude and so sure only he has the right answer for everything. But he is brutally verbally abusive to Ellie. And this tears up his image for me over and over.
Ellie is a strong and stubborn woman. Although from the mountains of mining country, she is a hard worker who loves her family dearly. She will do anything to prevent Saroya from killing, including ending her own life. But Lothaire often threatens her family and she falls into line to save them. She is a strong character who fights the attraction she feels for Lothaire. There isn't so much a complexity to her since she is very young. But she is a sucker punch to Lore they weren't expecting. Now that she is Lothaire's bride, she has a price on her head and must be protected at all costs.
Nix, Nucking Futs Nix, is as crazy as a loon, but we see a deeper side of her. She is shouldering a lot of responsibly with the coming accession. Most people just continue to make fun of her and expect her to tell the future. You see a deeper bond between her and Lothaire. A lot of people wanted these two to get together...I am still holding out she gets Mike Rowe.
Furie is still at the bottom of the ocean, but unknown exactly where. Lothaire did put her there, but even he doesn't know where she is anymore. Thaddeus is now 17 and growing into quite the young man any Lore women would love, even if he is a little green. Hag is an interesting new character and I secretly want her and Thad to get together, but who knows what Ms. Cole will do with them.
There is a lot I can't say about this book without giving spoilers. Most of what I said take place early on, but there is a lot more to this book than I can even begin to describe. Just make sure you read to the end...a hint is given as to who might be next to get their book and it looks to be interesting!
This is an amazing story of greed, love, fury, betrayal, and hot damn sex!