Author: Sarah M Cradit, 2013
No, not vampires, as one would immediately suspect, but Empyreans, which I would best describe as somewhat angelic, rather. We get to explore their world through the eyes of Mercy, who is at the end of her allotted life span of around three thousand years and who is preparing to “ascend” to her Father Emir.
From what I can gather, the Empyrean race subscribes to a fervent belief system that sees them succumb at a preordained time – and Mercy is particularly devoted to her faith.
We also meet the human Nicolas Deschanel, who is the disaffected, self-absorbed heir to a family fortune, and much like Mercy, his life no longer holds meaning to him; he has secluded himself so that he may take his own life. That is until his discovery of Mercy trespassing on his land, which bollockses up his plans.
Other, somewhat secondary characters are the apostate Empyrean Aidrik, who has been keeping a watchful eye over Mercy for quite a long time, and Nicolas’s cousin Anasofiya, who is running away from herself, though she’s not quite that self aware.
Things come to a head at the old family plantation house, and much will be revealed of the Deschanel family past (and why they’re all so damned peculiar) and the machinations within the Empyrean race.
My main feeling after completing this novel was that although Cradit’s writing is detailed and rich, the progression of the narrative was a little too slow for my liking. She offers a glimpse into a fascinating world, but most of the action takes place in the last few chapters, and even then, the ending felt a bit anticlimactic. I finished reading with the sense that I’d just gotten through a quantity of back story.
That being said, it’s clear from existing reviews that this is just the sort of thing Cradit’s readers love about this book, and if you’re already invested in the characters, then the slow pace will not provide an obstacle to your enjoyment. Since I came in from the cold (this was offered as a review copy) I struggled to relate to the characters, and I suspect that many of the story’s nuances were lost on me for not having read earlier works.
Those who do, however, enjoy a gradually unfolding family saga filled with supernatural elements (and here I’m casually going to toss in a reference to Anne Rice’s Mayfair witches) then The House of Crimson & Clover series might just bite you in the right spot.