4 out of 4 stars
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Vampires now are watered down, sparkling, fairytale versions of what they used to be. Before vampires were savage, bloodthirsty monsters who would stop at nothing to sate themselves on blood. Now vampires are sexy. In some series, they're not even allowed to drink on human blood, only able to survive on feeding on their own species, many times while having sex.
In The Undying Queen Of Ur, Abraham Kawa, along with the help of Arahom Radjah, carry us back to the olden days of vampirism. The days when being a vampire meant no longer caring about mankind or having such tender emotions as love, sympathy or compassion. That raw brutality, combined with brute strength, made the Great City of Ur a force to be reckoned with. The queen of Ur, Arkhalla, is the most savage of all, killing entire villages and sacrificing humans to the demon god, Asag. Shamath is a simple farmer, who finds himself having to help defend his simple village against Arkhalla and her vampire army, known as the Undying. He survives the war, only to find himself being chosen for the demeaning task of being the queen's new body slave. She does not want to admit it, but, Arkhalla admires Shamath for his courage. As hard as they try, they find themselves falling in love. Shamath is the only person to see the queen's true feelings about what she has to do for Asag. While they are fighting hard not to act on their feelings, a rebellion is being led against her by the Council Of Undying nobles, along with the Humans of Ur.
This book was intriguing. Even though it is a bit longer than most novels, I did not feel it because I was quite engrossed by the story of Ur and its citizens. There was quite a bit of romance, which normally I find boring, but it was not overbearing and drawn out. The romance actually added to the story and made it more interesting.
Shamath was my favorite character. He was strong, brave and very masculine. Yet, there was a softer side to him, the side which saw the torment Arkhalla was going through. He loved her fiercely, unafraid of the consequences. He did not care about her dark side, the side which had to do things that made him sick.
Bel, the queen's general, was, surprisingly, also in my list of favorites. I found myself feeling sorry for him. What happened to him was not his fault, and, the queen could have handled certain issues regarding him a little better. His part in the uprising was made possible by certain incidents that could have been avoided.
Arkhalla, the star of this series, was tragedy personified. Forced to do evil because of a series of events, which started due to a family disaster, she never knew love. Because of her strength and power, she was immensely cruel, until meeting Shamath. However, that change brought hatred from the Council, and that was one of the main reasons behind the coup.
The human slaves of Ur were the ones for whom I felt the most pity. As is the case with slaves, their lives were horrifying, and they were subject to the worst torment. Their lives meant nothing to the Undying. There was even a scene with a human toddler, which illustrated how very little thought the vampires gave to humans. Gilmesh, one of the newer slaves, became my favorite slave because he refused to accept slavery for himself and his fellow countrymen. He reminded me of Shamath.
Scenes in this book were described vividly and the story flowed easily. I felt as if I was part of the story. With the author's words, I was able to see the queen's boudoir, and, feel the fear of the opposing armies as the Undying swarmed over them. The book was based in Mesopotamia, circa 3000 BC, and, the author was able to capture the feel of that era and culture perfectly. This book was about vampires, but there was so much more within the story. There was love, both requited and unrequited. There were betrayal and hatred. There were war and politics. In his introduction, the author spoke about how many instructions Arkhalla gave him concerning her story. He executed his duties perfectly. She would be proud of how well he wrote her story.
There were some exceedingly violent scenes, which were full of blood and gore. This alone would have deterred me from suggesting this book for young readers. However, in addition to the violent scenes, there were also many scenes which were quite sexual. With that in mind, this book is definitely for adult readers. If you like vampire books done the old-fashioned way, with a touch of politics, this book is for you. It should be noted that there are scenes of demon worship and sacrifice in the book and this can be a turnoff to some people.
There were some very minor errors. However, they did not interrupt the flow of the story enough to affect my rating. This was an excellent story and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
The Undying Queen of Ur
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