Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Release Day Review: The Untamed Vampire by Kate Baxter

32671746The Untamed Vampire
(The Last True Vampire #4)
Kate Baxter
Release: May 2, 2017
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ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

Chelle is not your typical vampire. Turned not with a bite but an age-old magic, she’s the only one of her kind—and more powerful than most. Still adjusting to her endless thirst and lethal fangs, she’s desperate to discover what sets her apart. When she encounters a brutally virile alpha werewolf, she soon learns that she’s not immune to the mating call—and her own primal longing…

The leader of the ancient Forkbeard pack, Gunnar is stunned by Chelle’s lush beauty. The wild wolf inside him howls for her, but unions between vampire and werewolf are strictly taboo—even if their clans weren’t on the verge of war. Desire has never been so dangerous…but, as a malevolent new power rises, Chelle and Gunnar face an even more frightening threat. Together, they might find a way to save their clans. But can they claim their passion, in The Untamed Vampire by Kate Baxter.
I've had mixed feelings about The Last True Vampire series so far. I love the world building, but some of the vampire heroes are just too overbearing alpha for me. I was really excited to meet the werewolf hero in this newest installment though. While he's still an alpha, the Alpha of his pack, Gunnar let Chelle do her own thing without trying to control her.

Chelle is actually more powerful than any of the vampires we've met so far in the series, but she's also unique. Because she was created differently than any of the other vampires, she's not only "other" but afraid of her abilities with no one to help her understand them. When you look at it that way, it's obvious that she wouldn't find her mate with another vampire. Gunnar has experience with unwanted magical transformation, but has had centuries to adjust to his powers. I think that's what made them a good match in addition to the instant chemistry that comes with fated mates. (I'm generally not a fan of the trope, but I think the way it's done in this series is quite interesting.)

But what I enjoyed most about The Untamed Vampire is the politics. The war between vampires and Sortiari has been ongoing throughout the series, but now the two groups are considering an alliance. The berserkers who served as foot soldiers to the Sortiari are rebelling and they're looking to ally with the werewolves. Gunnar wants to remain in neutral the conflict, but his power-hungry second is pushing to take sides. So there are pack politics at play in the story as well as conflicts between the different supernatural factions.

I like the different mythologies at play in the story. Chelle was turned by an Egyptian artifact, and the vampire creation myth is Egyptian in origin. She meets Gunnar when searching for another Egyptian relic. His werewolf pack is descended from Vikings so Norse mythology comes in to play as well. I would have liked to see a bit more of it though.

I also liked the way Gunnar dealt with his wolf side and the fact that Chelle perceived them as two separate entities. The internal dialogue between man and wolf can be hard to pull off, but I think Baxter executed it well.

What I missed in this story is the characters from the previous books. The heroes, Michael, Ronan and Jenner, do appear but Ronan is really the only one who shows any personality. Their mates are all mentioned, but I don't know that any of them actually actually appear on the page. Instead we spend a lot of time with Saeed, the third vampire that Michael turned and hero of the next book in the series. He spends most of his time lost in the Collective, the memories of every vampire that ever lived. One of the things that makes Chelle different is that she's not part of the Collective so the contrast is interesting.

I would have liked to have seen some of Logan's POV, the vampire that Chelle turned. He shares her powers to some extent, but doesn't seem to be troubled by it the way she is. Though it may be that she just doesn't notice since we've only seen him from her POV. I hope to get to know him better in a later book.

At this point, I think I'm definitely invested in the series story line. Even though none of the books have given me everything I wanted, I'm going to keep reading. The thing about a multiple POV series is that it's playing a long game. You get invested in the side characters and have to wait a while for their time in the spotlight. I'm hoping The Last True Vampire series continues to make it worth the wait.

Recommended for fans of: early Black Dagger Brotherhood books

3 1/2  stars

Our reviews of other books in this series:
The Last True Vampire
The Warrior Vampire
The Dark Vampire

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