A double-review this week, of the first two in Ingrid Seymour’s new Vampire Court series.
About White Pawn:
Bianca is a Trove. Her blood is so powerful it allows vampires to stroll in the sunlight.
She lives a socialite life of masquerades, governesses and flirting with eligible men like the handsome thief, Nyro Stonehelm, who openly defies the vampire King and Queen.
Soon a visit from the King brings Bianca face to face with a terrible reality—her father has gambled away everything, and still owes the King’s Court more. To set an example, the King executes her father. That one fateful morning, Bianca loses everything she ever knew.
With his last breath, her father confesses she’s a Trove and begs her to run. Instead, she swears revenge and joins the Queen’s Court, determined to destroy the King one day.
But how is a Trove to live amongst vampires without being discovered and made a blood slave? And how is her life linked to the handsome thief?
About Black Pawn:
Nyro lives in Acedrex, a city ruled by two vampires: the White Queen and the Black King.
No one can leave or enter Acedrex and, for the majority of people, that is fine. It’s a safe place, far better than the outside world.
Unless you’re a Trove.
The curse runs in Nyro’s family. His father was a Trove and his willful eight-year-old brother, Timotei, is one too. Their blood can make a vampire powerful enough to walk in sunlight.
Nyro works hard to keep him safe. He promised his now-dead parents he wouldn’t let the vampires find him. But when Timotei is captured by a member of the Black Court, Nyro joins the King’s ranks in hopes of protecting his brother from within. There, he finds himself in a world of intrigue and machinations that promises to steal more than his family.
The King wants Nyro to be his Pawn and tries to take the last thing Nyro thought he might lose.
Reviews by Katy Haye: White Pawn
I’m reviewing these together because they are very much intertwined stories, and I gobbled them up back-to-back on my week off last week. White Pawn is told from the perspective of our heroine, Bianca, while Black Pawn is hero Nyro’s story.
The world Ingrid Seymour has created is delightful. As well as vampires, we have a country founded on a chess game that left a single king and queen ruling over their halves of a land turned into a chess board. For humans, political power in the court is reliant on moving up the chessboard, from a pawn, to a rook, a knight and finally a bishop. The premise was fascinating and it really worked.
White Pawn saw Bianca lose everything when her father is murdered by the black king, and her servant/companion taken by the king as a blood slave. To gain revenge, Bianca seeks a place in the court of the white queen, with the plan to eventually face and destroy the king who has destroyed her life.
The story then followed classic YA lines of train-and-face-a-challenge. Bianca found helpful friends as well as a horrible enemy I was rooting to get his come-uppance. I enjoyed watching Bianca develop from a feeble lady of leisure to a determined and capable candidate for pawn, although I would have liked a stronger bond between her and the friend she wants to save, because their relationship didn’t seem close enough for Bianca to risk discovery for her.
Nyro’s motivation wasn’t a problem in Black Pawn. The bond between the orphaned brothers was clear and Nyro’s need to free Timotei was compelling.
Again, we had fascinating insights into the world of Acedrex, the vampires and their blood slaves. Nyro took a parallel route to Bianca, forced to compete for a place at the court, although this time at the court of the black king.
Nyro’s story had a glorious finale (if you hate these things – beware because both stories end on cliffhangers) and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Roll on White Rook and Black Rook!
There’s still time to enter Piranha Katy’s Grisha giveaway: you can win a collector’s edition of Six of Crows, and a *signed* edition of King of Scars.