“The Elf” is the second novel I’ve read in the “Vampiris Sancti” series, but I definitely think I should have made it the first! I read “The Immaculate Adventures of One Florian Ribeni” first, and I won’t hesitate to say I was confused by all of the different species, their social structures, and characteristics—trying to keep Vampires, Pixies, Elves, Goblins, Gargoyles, and more straight took some work.
“The Elf,” though, lays out all of its different characters in context—at the beginning of each chapter, there’s a mini-history and explanation of all of the different species, and some of the entries build in complexity and detail throughout the novel. You learn about Elves and their nature, Demons and their nature, etc. As a person who really enjoys detailed fantasy worlds, all of the extra information appealed to me and helped me to understand the characters and the overall world much better.
This novel’s main character is Zyre, the mischievous elf that you briefly meet in “Florian Ribeni,” and as the book begins she’s worried that she will be matched by the Elders with a demon prince, Lord Vryn Dhaigre. Elves mate outside of their species in order to have more powerful children, but female Elves are often unwilling to enter into marriage with a Demon—Demons are obsessive and demanding, consumed by love, and Elves cherish their freedom and find it torture to be tied down.
Instead of accepting the fate decreed by the Elders, Zyre decides to flee, with the demon prince in pursuit. She gets tangled up with Vampires, humans, and other magical creatures, weaving between worlds and dealing with her own growing emotions as well as with the demands of friendship and the heartbreak of betrayal. The plot is intricate and hard to summarize beyond that, but it’s fairly easy to follow once you start to recognize the different character names and species.
I actually enjoyed “The Elf” better than “Florian Ribeni,” only because I found Zyre a more sympathetic and relatable character—though she starts off a little distant, as she grows throughout the novel in emotional depth, the reader’s attachment grows as well. The novel ends on an open note, leaving room for more of Zyre’s adventures and explorations, and I will likely read others in the series to see what becomes of everyone.
Recommended for those who enjoy fantasy novels with detailed worlds and more complex plots.
(reviewed the day of purchase)