In a world where magic helps to keep everything in balance, a war between two factions of wizards has wreaked havoc throughout France. The good guys are losing, and they need something to tip the scales in their favor. So they turn to the vampires, knowing that these unlikely allies may be their very last chance.
From the very beginning of the first book in the Partnership in Blood series, I was hooked. The characters, the premise, all the little details, I was drawn into a fantastical world where magic exists and those who can wield it work for the greater good. Usually. But a dark xenophobic wizard, who only values magical superiority, is trying to take over. I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of this series, desperately turning pages to find out what happened next. The world is so well crafted, the characters so fully developed, that I felt like I was in the heat of battle with them, feeling their emotions, wanting them to succeed and fearing they might not.
This is a series that must be read in order, as it actually reads like one long novel. The next one picks up where the last one left off. You’re fortunate that you can get them all in one go; waiting for the next installment could have been excruciating. This is an epic tale with a lot of main characters and we get to spend some time with each of them. I have to make a quick note here to say that there is some head hopping going on, but it actually works, and isn’t confusing. I was so invested in these characters and their actions that I didn’t care who I was following at the time, I just wanted to know more. It’s an exceptional series, and I highly recommend it.
Alliance in Blood: 4.5 stars
General Marcel Chavinier, leader of the Millice, the wizards fighting for good, knows that in order to win the war against the dark wizard Serrier, he’s going to have to think outside the box. He reaches out to Jean Bellaiche, the leader of the vampires of Paris, and sends his emissary, Alain Magnier, to meet with an emissary for the vampires to strike a pact. The vampire emissary, Orlando St. Clair, and Alain are immediately drawn to each other. It is quickly discovered that the right combination of wizard and vampire—though exactly what draws the pair together is unclear—allows the vampires immunity to sunlight. Marcel and Jean realize that this is the way to finally turn the tide against the dark wizards and so they gather wizards and vampires together to form as many partnerships as they can. But as soon as the new alliance is formed, it’s also put to the test. A faction of dark wizards is lying in wait to ambush the newly formed partners.
What a fantastic start to a series. This first book lays out all the parameters of the world, gives us just enough information to keep us on the edge of our seats, and introduces us to multiple main characters. Alain and Orlando are drawn to each other from their very first meeting. Their relationship progresses quickly, and within a day or so of meeting each other, they have committed themselves fully to one another. It’s not exactly insta-love, but it’s close. It absolutely worked here, though, as the magic in their blood calls to each other. I loved watching the broken Orlando begin to open up to Alain. And Alain’s patience and understanding really helps Orlando begin to heal.
On top of that romance, other partnerships are forming. While most are obvious and well matched, some partnerships seem ill-suited. Jean is paired with Raymond, a wizard who once fought alongside the dark wizard Serrier until he saw the error of his ways and defected to join the good guys. Slowly, we are drawn into the world. This book is just the beginning, and it sets up the events to follow nicely. Conflicts are brewing, the fight has just begun, and the MCs are just beginning their journey.
Covenant in Blood: 4.75 stars
Picking up right where the last book left off, the wizards and vampires are about to face off with a faction of dark wizards. In the end, the good guys are successful, and even manage to turn one of the captured dark wizards into a double agent. The newly formed partnerships are getting their footing; it takes a lot of work and communication for the wizards and vampires to even begin to understand one another. And everyone involved is starting to understand that the bond pushes for a closeness between the partners. But the partners don’t have a lot of time to spend to figure each other out. Serrier is still attacking and the Millice is trying to find ways to stop him without losing any more people. But the war is not the only thing that the wizards need to worry about. The magical imbalance in the world is wreaking havoc, and causes a typhoon. It is while dealing with the rescue efforts and clean-up that Raymond and Jean discover that feedings between matched pairs actually stabilize the magic in the world. And feeding while having sex increases that effect.
Diving right back in to the world without a break worked really well here. I liked that there was no lapse of time between the first and second books; it lent itself well to the urgent feel of all that is going on. And I was glad not to have missed a single thing. There is a lot going on in this book, a lot of different plot lines, but it’s never too much information. Tachna does an outstanding job of revealing information so that it never feels rushed, and thoroughly explaining everything—even when it’s to say that the characters don’t quite understand the whys and hows of things.
I liked this book even more than the first for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest was Raymond. He’s a personal favorite character of mine—I really love him—and watching his confidence grow both within his position in the Millice and within his partnership with Jean was a fantastic thing to see. He originally sided with Serrier, but he got out and went to Marcel and the Millice. A lot of his compatriots don’t trust him because of what he did. But as we get to know him, we see that he is a standout, and standup, kind of man. He was also very hesitant—even revolted—at the thought of having a vampire partner. But after a rocky start, he accepts it. In this book, that goes even further, and I just loved him and Jean together. One of the things I love is the slow build of their relationship. At first it is purely functional; Jean feeds from Raymond to protect himself from the sun and because it nourishes him better than regular human blood. Raymond only grudgingly allows it for the good of the Millice. But it’s clear that they are moving towards more, as they both feel the need to look out for one another. Even while I was frantically turning pages to see what the wizards would do next in the fight against the dark wizards, I was also desperate to see how their relationship was progressing and if they would finally get their act together and admit their need and want for each other.
Alain and Orlando’s relationship continues to progress, and we can see just how broken Orlando is. My heart ached for him for what he’d been through in the past, and I was cheering him on as he made steps to heal. In the way of true growth, he also took steps backwards, and I appreciated the real feel of that. And I really liked that we got to see both the personal side of things, as well as the matters surrounding the war. Both aspects were evenly balanced, never one outweighing the other. I even liked that we got to spend some time with the dark wizards, and see what was going on in their camp as well. I really liked the way this installment ended as well. Marcel announces to the press—and therefore France at large—that the wizards have entered into an alliance with the vampires. The end of Marcel’s speech sums it up perfectly “We have reached a crossroads, in this war and in history. The alliance between wizards and vampires is only the beginning.”
Conflict in Blood: 5 stars
With the disaster of the typhoon resolved, the relief force of wizards and vampires head back to Paris to continue the fight against Serrier. The need to correct the magical imbalance in the world leads the wizards to perform a rite that will restore balance. But it goes wrong, and the elemental magic locks onto one of Marcel’s captains and Alain’s best friend, Thierry Dumont. It attacks him and the other wizards need to break him free. Sebastien, his vampire partner, is beside himself. Distraught and worried, he’s panicked waiting for Thierry to wake up. He feeds from Thierry, and the connection between them because of their bond restore the wizard, though Thierry is still weak. Because the rite wasn’t ended properly, wild magic breaks loose and attacks several of the MCs. The lust it inspires causes some of them to do what they normally wouldn’t. Orlando has to tie Alain down to keep the wizard from hurting him. Thierry and Sebastian finally start a physical relationship, though before Sebastian, Thierry was straight and had only been with woman. And Jean and Raymond take their partnership to the next level.
In the meantime, Serrier has decided that he needs a vampire working with the Millice in order to test spells and get information. During an attack, two of his top lieutenants, Eric and Vincent, kidnap Orlando. Frantic, Alain begins searching. Alain and Orlando have taken their bond to a whole different level than the rest of the partnerships and Orlando cannot feed from anyone else. Orlando also spent a hundred years being tortured and abused by his maker and Serries’s proclivity for torture is well known. While other wizards have to keep fighting against Serrier, Alain’s sole focus is finding Orlando.
Each book in this series is better than the last, and the third installment is no exception. It’s honestly probably my favorite of the four because of all it brings to the table. The personal relationships of the MCs are growing and changing and that is a large part of this book. I was already wholly invested in their partnerships, and I was so glad to see them evolving into so much more. As the couples progress in their partnerships, they learn more about the bonds that draw them together. And this knowledge leads them to better use their advantages against the dark faction of wizards. I really liked the way the growth in the partnerships correlated so perfectly with growing magic of the wizards of the Millice. And I particularly liked the way the bond between the vampires and wizards continued to evolve. It made things very believable, the closeness of the pairs and the beginnings of winning the war. But they haven’t won yet, and it’s clear there are hard times ahead before they can persevere.
Reparation in Blood: 4.75 stars
With Orlando in Serrier’s clutches, Alain and their friends are desperate to find him. Eventually, though, the other wizards are called back and Alain must keep searching alone. Serrier can feel the tide turning, and he gets desperate, his crazy increasing. He calls in all his operatives with the intent to take them all to an undisclosed location where he will then stake Orlando out in the sun. The protection that Alain’s blood provides has long worn off and Orlando will die. Eric and Vincent make the decision that they need to save Orlando and defect from Serrier’s camp. They just have to wait for the right opportunity.
Alain is still desperately searching for Orlando, and it turns out their bond is the way to find him. The oldest vampire in the world comes their rescue, and with a small taste of Alain’s blood he can locate Orlando. When the wizards arrive, Orlando is just emerging with the help of Eric and Vincent. While Alain goes off to take care of Orlando, the rest of the wizards fight and defeat Serrier. The war is over, though they’ll be dealing with ramifications of it for a while. Most of the partnerships that formed during the war have progressed to true love between the partners and will continue on. The vampires, with the backing of Marcel and those who served with them in the Millice, win equal rights under French law. And though there is still going to be work ahead to get back to normalcy, the war is over and everyone can begin to recover.
A perfect end to a fantastic series. All the plot lines that have not been previously resolved are tied up in this last installment. Though most of the book has a frantic feel of the end coming, it ends with a sense of hope. And I was just as frantic as Alain and all the others for the end of the war. I could feel the changes and knew they would win, but I didn’t know how and I couldn’t wait to see how they would accomplish it. When this book was over, I was completely satisfied. I liked the outcome and I liked the resolutions.
But I was sad, too, because I was so invested in these characters and their journey, that I didn’t want to let them go. Each one had endeared himself, or herself, to me and I wanted to stay with them longer. Because of that, I’ve read this series multiple times over the last couple of years. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that I still have the same range of emotions when reading them. Despite knowing now how it all turns out, I still have heart pounding anticipation as the wizards and vampires fight their battles, both with the dark wizards and with themselves.
This is an outstanding series. I’ve only given bare bones descriptions, but trust me when I say that this series is so much more. I could literally talk about it for days. The writing is stellar, the world is amazing and fully developed, and the characters will make you love them—or hate them—with passionate zeal. I cannot recommend it enough. All I can say is that if you haven’t already read this wonderful and amazing series, go buy it now.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.