Every time I read a Jacquelyn Frank book, I’m sucked immediately into the new and inventive world she’s created, drawn to the amazing characters she introduces me to, and just awed page by page, each filled with mystery, danger, action, suspense, romance, and, most of all, compelling emotion.
In Drink of Me we meet the Sánge, blood drinkers who are reviled by all other races, so they live basically in isolation, in their own thriving city of Jeth. They are not vampires. They are not undead. They do have fangs and claws that emerge with intense emotion, from anger to lust and passion. The drinking of blood is shared for an all-consuming and utterly passionate climax during lovemaking. That is an experience in and of itself in this book.
Prime Reule is the Sánge leader, an exceptionally talented telepath and empath. He and his Pack keep all safe from outsiders, especially Jakals, a breed that should be the reviled one by all for the torture they heartlessly bestow on others to elicit the needed emotion for their survival. It’s during the rescue of one of his Pack from Jakals that Reule feels a sadness permeating his senses, a sorrow so deep it nearly takes him to his knees. Upon freeing his Packmate, the bone-burrowing emotion still emanates throughout the place, and he eventually finds what he believes to be a child, but who in actuality is a beautiful diamond-eyed, redheaded woman, torn and bloody, suffering amnesia due to a traumatic event her mind can’t tolerate.
Remembering nothing of her previous life, Mystique – the name Reule gives to her – does remember things about the Sánge, about healing and other such areas of life. The attraction to Reule, the camaraderie with his Pack, the place she now calls home is just want Mystique needs. She becomes an integral part of these people’s lives, with a few jealous exceptions, of course. Becoming the village physician after running off the quack before her is the way Mystique wins over most of the townspeople. Her memories come back little by little, but it’s not until an envoy from her far-away home arrives that she remembers the cruelty that sent her into near oblivion.
The fascinating part of this book is the telepathy, empathy, and special powers embodied by the characters. Some are more powerful than others, thus Reule being the Sánge leader because there is no one as powerful as he is. Each Packmate also has an additional special ability that has elevated them to their current positions to serve Reule and their people, the Assassin, the Blade, the Shadow and so on. Mystique’s healing powers are incredible, taking the pain of her patient into herself and other creative measures.
I also really like the brotherhood of the Pack. They fight side by side, would die for each other, and when one of them does die, a gaping hole results in their bond to one another. Their grieving ritual is deep and heartfelt. Another enjoyable tidbit is the dichotomy of their old-world morals, sensibilities, and ways of life in contrast to their powers and ways of thinking. They live with the ideals of an older era where women are not allowed to be alone with a man, they live in cottages with thatched roofs while Reule and his men live in a castle and dress accordingly, carry swords, and other such things. But their powers have a feel of a modern age when all things are possible.
And Reule is that perfect Alpha hero that I love to read. Insatiable, gritted teeth and clenched fists when anyone looks at, let alone deigns to touch, Mystique. And she holds her own with him, being the only one to stand up to him, to question him. His men do the same to a point, but they know when to back down. Mystique is the only one to totally get away with being in his face.
Once again, Jacquelyn Frank has awed me with her imagination and creativity with this new world she’s given readers. I wish this book was the beginning of a series – I’d love to read about the rest of the Pack members – but according to the author’s web site it’s a standalone story with nothing following, much to my disappointment. However, it seems as though there is something between the Shadow and Lia that begs to be told. So maybe we’re in for a surprise down the road. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Either way I know Ms. Frank will have more awe-inspiring stories for me in the future!
In a world where emotion can be a deadly weapon, one slight, battered runaway holds the key to a dark and twisted enigma…
Drink of me, she whispers, her silver eyes trusting, pleading. What female dares speak such words to one of the Sánge? His people are scorned by every race for their fierce sensuality, their fearful rituals. And as Prime, Reule is the most telepathically gifted of them all.
But nothing has prepared him for the intensity of emotion radiating from the outlander rescued by his Pack. Terrified, tormented, but beautiful beyond measure, Mystique shatters his legendary control. As she reaches for him in the steamy heat of the healing baths, he knows this blind need can have but one end…
In blood, in knowledge, in ecstasy.
Read an excerpt.