This is the third book in the five book Gardella Vampire series. In this book Victoria really starts to step into her role as the head of the Gardella. I enjoyed it a lot and thought it was the best book in this series so far.
Victoria has dealt with a lot of heartbreak over the last two books. Still she is trying to pick up the pieces and assume her role as head of the Gardella. When strange piles of animal carcasses are found in Rome, Victoria is forced to investigate. She finds that someone is trying to open an ancient and mysterious door that holds something of value. Fortunately it needs three keys to be opened, unfortunately one of the keys was with Victorias Aunt Eustacia when she died and has gone missing. It becomes a race to see who can find the missing key.
This series still very much reminds me of a Victorian Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Victoria goes through a lot of heartbreak but is still soldiering on and trying to fill the large role she is thrust into. She does an excellent job and has grown a lot from the woman we meet in the first book in this series.
This is a very solid plot here involving demons, secrets doors, Beauregard, and Lilith. There is also a heavy element of romance as well. Victoria is constantly torn between Max, a fellow Venator who she trusts but who seems to despise her, and Sebastian, who she does not trust but is drawn to.
All the characters are complex and interesting. We learn a lot more about both Max and Sebastian and why they are how they are. There are some surprising and heartbreaking twists and turns. The story really starts to take on more depth and become much more engrossing than the last two books. Things are more serious and less fluffy in this book. There is quite a bit more action than in previous books and the book is fast-paced.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. All of the characters grow a lot and the plot broadens quite a bit. Victoria is stepping into her new leadership role well. The scenes between her and Sebastian and her and Max are full of wonderful tension. The plot is solid and takes a number of engaging and unexpected twists and turns. This series is recommended to those who enjoy Victorian vampire paranormal reads with some romance in them.
I have definitely fallen in love with this series. I wasn't too sure about the first book but have definitely changed my way of thinking now. I like that it isn't set in modern day but back when corsets (yuk) were the thing to wear. It gives it a different feel than most modern Vampire Romance stories I have read. It allows more of the romance, flirtation, and teasing to happen without so much ronch. LOVE IT