Review by Daphne Strasert
Content Warnings: Savagery of the Rebel King contains graphic depictions of rape, abuse, and torture.
Savagery of the Rebel King is the fourth book in the Thrones of Blood series by Nancy Kilpatrick. You can see my reviews of the first three books here:
Centuries ago, King Necros learned that he could trust no one but himself. Opening his heart to love would only leave it vulnerable to assassins. He rules his vampir stronghold with iron determination. Mistrust, treachery, and betrayal are his constant companions. It keeps Necros alive and in power, but is a grim way to live through his undead eternity.
Necros is fascinated by the tenacious Sapiens Queen but he will not allow himself to trust her. He lashes out in anger, subjecting her to the most horrible kinds of abuse. Things go from bad to worse when Guin’s rule is overthrown and she is left to die. Necros takes her in—though not even he understands his motivation.
They struggle to trust each other, but with mounting threats across all the kingdoms, their lives and those of their subjects depend on their cooperation.
The stakes are higher than ever in Kilpatrick’s fourth Thrones of Blood novel. In Savagery of the Rebel King, we see the complex web of intrigue deepen even further. Kilpatrick weaves in threads from previous novels while also creating compelling stories that stand on their own.
With Guin and Necros, Kilpatrick explores depths of emotion that she hasn’t previously touched. The extremes of the character’s personalities make for a wild adventure.
Guin is a firebrand of a woman (more so than even the previous female protagonists) and will not let herself be overrun. She maintains her sense of self throughout, even using her apparent submission as a weapon.
Necros is so damaged by previous betrayals that he can hardly tell which direction is up. His softening toward others is a delight to watch and his setbacks on the road to betterment are heart-rending.
As the world of Thrones of Blood grows (now encompassing four Vampir strongholds and three Sapien kingdoms), Kilpatrick still keeps each new setting vibrant and original. The motivations and challenges of each are unique, which gives the stories more flavor and authenticity. Though she works with a niche concept, she doesn’t allow that to create narrow storytelling.
Kilpatrick’s unfussy writing makes way for the reader to get immersed in the story. Her vivid descriptions bring both characters and settings to life without detracting from the flow of the narrative.
The Thrones of Blood series is not for the faint of heart. Far from a typical romance story, it blurs the lines of violence and romance in ways that may make some readers uncomfortable. However, if you’ve enjoyed the series so far, then you will love Savagery of the Rebel King. It will leave you anxiously waiting for the next.