THE BLACK LILY
✬✬✬ 4 STARS ✬✬✬
Once upon a time...
...there was a beautiful girl. She grew up as an orphan because a vampire had killed her mother. As bodies of people being sucked dry keep piling up Arabella and her clandestine group of resistance fighters and friends stick their heads together and come up with a plan to combat the ruling vampires' oppression. Cut the problem by the head.
The root in this case is the reigning vampire royals, amidst them Prince Marius. At a ball he meets a beautiful woman. She is alluring and he wants her instantaneously. This woman, however, has a different plan. She is there to kill him but the attempt fails and she is now on the run with a horde of vampires following her tracks to chase her down.
This was a refreshing take on "Cinderella". I don't read a lot of fairytale retellings because, you know, been there, done that. So mixing a fairytale with paranormal elements in vampire form is a stroke of genius in my humble opinion and gives it a different twist.
Arabella isn't a meek woman, she has fire and a bit attitude along with courage and common sense. She is the one her friends and allies rely on. She struggles with her feelings for the enemy almost the whole book and only when things go down the drain she realizes that Marius is one of the best men she has met.
Marius is really sweet. Fiercely loyal, kind, sensual with a generous dash of charming. He can't stop thinking about the girl who tried to kill him. I loved how he wasn't full of rage for this girl trying to kill him but was full of awe of her courage and fascinated by her as a woman.
What didn't quite work for me was the insta-love. While I usually don't mind if an author uses it to move a relationship forward I do expect a little bit more one-on-one time between the couple to work. In this case, the hero and heroine only spent a few hours max at a time and after their third encounter Marius knew that Arabella had a piece of his heart. With the little time they had spent together it just didn't seem very likely to me. You can use the "mating" trope as an explanation but it still takes a little more quality time spent between the main characters.
This story was still a great introduction to this series. I love the world building and the Cinderella vs vamps storyline is pretty unique. I loved that we didn't get a damsel in distress for a heroine, that the hero was a genuinely good person. The side cast weren't merely extras but played an important part to move the story along. I am looking forward to the next installment and I have a feeling that we'll get a certain girl with a red cloak who plays with wolves and Marius' best friend, the grave Nikolai.