I am really behind on my reviews right now - I just don't seem to have time to post! So I'm focusing on ARCs for the next couple of reviews, just to make sure I get those done. I may create another sidebar post for books I've read but haven't yet reviewed, like I did last summer. It seems that I slow down the pace of reviewing in the summer, even though I'm not reading any less.
Royal Blood is the story of Michael Devereaux, a young man who is the heir presumptive of the Earl of Tyrone, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. The story takes place at the court of Henry VIII, where Michael hopes to make a name for himself, and make his benefactor proud. There he meets Princess Renee, sister to the Queen of France, and daughter of the previous King. She is at the court on a mission of her own, one that is slowly revealed to the reader over time. There is romantic tension between these two main characters, but neither can let their guard down, not while assassins and even vampires are roaming the court. As they each attempt to reach their own goals, they also test each other, never knowing who they can trust.
It took me a while to get into this book, though I can't really say why. There was a lot of story set-up, and I found myself not caring much about the main characters. However, it did pick up around the middle, when the first vampire attack happens, and from there the story was more compelling. I was surprised by the continued revelations - either I was not paying very close attention, or some of the twists really did come out of the blue (I suspect the former). There was a tremendous amount of historical detail, almost too much, as I sometimes did not even know what it was the author was describing to me. Overall, this book would be enjoyable for readers of historical fiction or historical romance, who like a thriller twist.
This book covers a whole bunch of my challenges, so I'll just briefly mention them. For obvious reasons it qualifies for RYOB 2009, the New Author Challenge, and the Pub 2009 Challenge. It also qualifies for the Suspense & Thriller Reading Challenge, as it is a Romantic Thriller. And as a romance, I also read it for my fourth book in the Romance Reading Challenge.