Author: Beth Fantaskey
Publication: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (January 10, 2012)
Description: The highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.
It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?
My Thoughts: What a suspenseful and engaging sequel to Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. Jessica has married her vampire prince and is now known as Antanasia. She is adjusting slowly to life as a vampire princess. While she is committed to Lucius, she is less committed to being queen of the vampires. It isn't until a rival of Lucius's is killed apparently with Lucius's stake that Antanasia finally commits and begins really assuming her role as vampire queen.
Lucius is imprisoned leaving Antanasia to try to find out what happened along with her best friend Mindy and his best friend Raniero. Mindy is a great friend but isn't interested in much beyond fashion and hair styling. However, she brings a lot of knowledge of interpersonal relationships with her. She knows about jealousy and envy.
Mindy and Raniero met at the wedding of Lucius and Antanasia and had a relationship but broke up because Mindy couldn't deal with his lifestyle. After being condemned, Raniero has been living as a beach bum peacnik with no ambition. Raniero is reluctant to come back to Romania because he is blestmata - condemned - because he killed wantonly. Lucius got him spared but Raniero is afraid that he might lose control of the violence again. He despises that part of himself.
Antanasia has some new friends too. Her cousin Ylenia and her Uncle Dorin Dragomir have befriended her in her new life. But Lucius doesn't like them and even Antanasia can see that they are cowardly. Mindy takes an immediate dislike to Ylenia too.
The story is filled with twists and turns but one constant is Antanasia coming into her own as a strong, confident woman who will make an excellent queen.
The story is told from multiple viewpoints. We hear from Antanasia, Mindy, and Lucius. The voices of all narrators are so distinct that the name of the narrator wouldn't have been needed at the start of each chapter. We get Mindy's self-deprecation and common sense. We get Lucius's viewpoint through the letters he writes to Raniero. And we get a lot of the story from Antanasia's viewpoint as she struggles to learn her way around a culture that is completely new to her and completely opposed to the way she was raised.
This was a very enjoyable story. I was swept away in the intrigue even though I had a pretty strong suspicion of who the villain would turn out to be shortly after they were introduced. I recommend it to readers who enjoyed the first book and readers who like mystery and intrigue in their paranormals.
"Antanasia," he said softly but firmly. "I know that it is difficult for you to face this place today. And I don't pretend to be wiser than you. But I know something of suffering, and I learned a long time ago--both by experiencing violence and by anticipating it--that fear is the worst kind of grave, because it buries one alive. I beg you, as your husband, don't place yourself in a tomb prematurely, for as all her would attest if they could, the time for that comes soon enough."I received this ARC through the Amazon Vine program. You can buy your copy here.