Book Review: Blood Mercy by Vela Roth

About the Book:

Title: Blood Mercy

Author: Vela Roth

Series: Blood Grace #1

Page Length: 767

Publication Date: Jan. 26, 2022

Publisher: Five Thorns Press

Synopsis: One human. One immortal. Will their alliance save the kingdom, or will their forbidden love be a death sentence?

When Cassia seeks out a Hesperine, he could end her mortal life in a heartbeat. But she has no fear of his magic or his fangs. She knows the real monster is the human king, her father. If he finds out she’s bargaining with his enemy, he’ll send her to the executioner.

As a Hesperine diplomat, Lio must negotiate with mortals who hate him. Cassia is different, but politics aren’t why she captivates the gentle immortal. He wants more than her blood, and if he can’t resist the temptation, he’ll provoke the war he’s trying to prevent.

Blood and Ash fans will love this slow-burn, steamy romance with classic fantasy worldbuilding. Follow fated mates Cassia and Lio through their epic love story for a guaranteed series HEA.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon   |

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My Review:

Blood Mercy is the first book in Vela Roth’s Blood Grace series, and I loved this epic fantasy romance!  The world-building and character development are amazing, the story is intriguing, and the love story is swoon-tactic!  The story follows Cassia, a human and the bastard daughter of the king of Tenebra, and Lio, an immortal Hesperine diplomat who is attending a summit with the humans and his peers for the first time in centuries.  When Cassia and Lio develop an unexpected friendship, they both must face their feelings, the dangers that threaten them, and the nefarious happenings at the summit that threaten both their kingdoms.  Can this unlikely pair work together to save their people?  

Cassia and Lio are fantastic characters, and the story is told from both of their perspectives. Their lives are very different, yet they complement each other well. They are both so compelling, and they are exceptionally layered and developed. I feel like we learn so much about both of them, and really get to understand their thoughts, feelings, goals, and motivations. Cassia and Lio are courageous and strong, and they both want similar things for their kingdoms and from the summit. Cassia is burdened and grief-stricken over the violent death of her sister and what happened to her afterward. She yearns for answers that she thinks she might find in the visiting Hespertines, which is a really interesting aspect of the story. You get to learn a lot about the Hesperines and Cassia’s father and people through learing about Cassia’s sister. Cassia is also generous with her time and skill, though she constantly feels the threat of death looming. Treated as an outcast and vilified because of the circumstances of her birth, Cassia has no control over her life when the story starts, but as it progresses, she grows stronger and more self-assured, which is definitely connected to her relationship with Lio.

Unlike Cassia, Lio is very much loved and supported by his family. A new ambassador for his people, Lio is determined to prove his worth to his famous family members and friends. He is a sincere, and intelligent male who just happens to be a beautiful and charming vampire. It’s interesting because mortals are raised to believe that the Hesperines are evil, vicious, and blood-thirsty, intent on draining humans to death. Of course, the mortals pushing this fallacy are the most villainous of all, and the Hesperines are the exact opposite. There are definite messages throughout the book about what makes a monster and who the monsters really are.

Those of you who know me know that the romance is usually my favorite part of a story, and it is definitely my favorite part of this one!! My word, the relationship between Cassia and Lio is the sweetest, most romantic, slow-building enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance!  Lio is so gentle and patient and kind, and I love how he slowly grows on Cassia. Though tentative at first, Lio and Cassia develop a strong friendship before their relationship turns romantic, and they have many long, deep, and intimate conversations. Not shockingly considering her history and years of being told of the evil of the Hesperians, Cassia is slow to trust. She has been betrayed, threatened, and more, so she is hesitant to let anyone get too close to her.  However, Lio changes all that, and it’s positively swoon-tactic!  

As romantic feelings develop, Cassia is surprised as it is the first time she has ever had these feelings about another person. However, Lio is tough to resist, and they are drawn to each other. Some of the things Lio says to Cassia are so unbelievably romantic, and many of their secret meetings are filled with pining, sexual tension, and squelched desire. Cassia and Lio learn a lot about each other’s worlds from each other, and they help each other throughout the summit. But what I like the most is how Lio shows Cassia a life much different from the threatening and dangerous confines she lives in under her watchful and malicious father. Lio brought hope with him and shows Cassia possibilities she never even dreamed about. Their romance is beautiful, and they connect on a deep level that is powerful and lovely.

I also really love the relationship between Cassia and Knight.  Knight has been by Cassia’s side through everything, and they are wonderful companions.  He’s ferocious and protective and so sweet, and he’s one of the few things that brings joy to Cassia’s life, especially when the only other loving relationship she had was taken from her.  Lio’s relationships contrast Cassia’s, as he is surrounded by supportive family and friends who love him unconditionally, and Cassia has no one except her loyal canine.  Luckily, as the story progresses, Cassia finds that she is not as alone as she initially thought.

The world-building in this story is immense. Layered and complex, the story includes the culture, history, politics, religion, and more of each kingdom. It is meticulous and thorough and really brings the world to life.  The author created a unique type of vampires, and I’m so intrigued by them.  Their beliefs, culture, politics, families, powers, and more are dynamically developed and interesting, and the kingdom sounds like such a beautiful and peaceful place to live.  It contrasts well with the oppressive, dark, and dangerous kingdom Cassia’s grown up in.  Her life is never safe, and she does not know the feelings of freedom and security.  Lio, on the other hand, lives in a world that is peaceful and welcoming.  I’m eager to see more of Lio’s kingdom and am hopeful that Cassia will end up there instead of in a place where she constantly has to watch her back. 

The story includes powerful themes like the manipulative control of those in power, the dangers of prejudice, learning to trust, and more.  There’s also a ton of political intrigue, suspense, and an ending that made me desperate to read the next book in the series.  I would definitely recommend the book to readers who enjoy epic fantasy or romantasy.  

Special thanks to Vela Roth for gifting me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!
  • The world building.

Favorite Lines:

Emotion was a sharp chisel. A tool she no longer had use for.

Those who wanted too much were dangerous. Those who appeared not to want anything were much more so.

When you go directly from one place to another, you miss everything in between.

I am not nothing.

I fear this time, I cannot be free with words,” he said. “For I know none fine enough for you.”

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