Review – The Serpent’s Fate (The Vigilati #3) by J.K. Hogan

The Serpent's Fate cover image

Publisher: KDH Publishing
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the author

Can a traumatized veteran-turned-mercenary who is tormented by voices in his head be saved by the love of a wayward single mother with demons of her own? Afflicted by PTSD from serving in Afghanistan, and tormented by a childhood trauma, transient veteran Matthieu Rousseau struggles with the choices he’s made in his life. Estranged from his family, Matthieu drifts from one mercenary job to the next, until one thing stops him. Fate.

In hiding from her abusive ex-husband, musician Fate Callahan lives in New Orleans with her seven-year-old daughter. She remains in constant fear of being found, and her worst nightmare comes alive when a dark, dangerous stranger tells her he’s been hired to locate and kill her—but wants to save her instead.

Fate and Matthieu find themselves on the run together, fleeing from the hitmen and an unseen evil worse than anything else they’ll face. While just trying to stay alive, they become entangled in the battle between the Vigilati and the Lochrim; an archaic sect of witches and the evil creatures they are bred to fight. Unbeknownst to Fate and Matthieu, they are more deeply connected to the Vigilati than either of them could ever imagine.

They must join family and allies of the Vigilati to help save the human world, possibly saving each other along the way. Matthieu teaches Fate how to trust in love again, while she gives him back the one thing he never thought he deserved—family.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

So almost a year ago I discovered Hogan and promptly glommed the first two books in the Vigilati series, albeit out of order. I reviewed the second book Blood in the Valley on the blog. As a result of my glom, when Hogan contacted me with the chance to read the third installment, the thought of saying no never entered my mind. Hogan warned The Serpent’s Fate was rather different from the first two and she didn’t tell me exactly how. I will say that as much as I enjoyed the earlier installments I also really enjoyed the changes. I thought they fit and the darkness Matthieu showed in his earlier appearances also fit quite nicely.

The Serpent’s Fate focused on my favorite of the “human” characters, Matthieu, a man of many secrets who showed up when needed but never stuck around long enough to become part of the slowly growing group. I will admit I have a soft spot for some former military characters who are emotionally and mentally wounded but still retain their core sense of right/wrong/protectiveness. Matthieu was all of that and then some. Haunted by more than his experiences in the military and as a private mercenary, I loved finding out what made Matthieu tick and how he tried to deal with his ghosts. I thought the line Matthieu drew about what he was willing to do and what he considered unacceptable really made him heroic in my mind. He wasn’t a perfect person but his intentions and personal sacrifices all combined to make me really enjoy his character.

Fate was also a lot of fun. She was full of hidden secrets and cared a lot more about other people then she tended to for herself. In that respect, I thought her sense of self-sacrifice and Matthieu’s was perfectly matched. I enjoyed watching Fate find her inner strength and deal with her worst fears as she refused to let those she cared about continue to suffer. While I understood she did not want her daughter in danger, I did fine myself a bit surprised at how willingly she let Ridley stay with others. I expected to see a bit more concern given how protective Fate was from the beginning.

I enjoyed seeing the previous couples return but I felt they seemed almost stuck in the rut of doing what worked in the past despite evidence to the contrary. I also felt there was some unresolved tension between the first two couples that adversely impacted the overall effort to defeat the Lochrim. While the Vigilati and their allies did work together, they were not able to completely remove personality conflicts, which provided a chink in their plans. I do have to give them some leeway because Matthieu was the only one with experience on how important a unified team was to complete a mission, and his focus was elsewhere. However, I think some of the events that occurred added a level of experience and maturity to the group as a whole.

Hogan built some rather complex relationships in The Serpent’s Fate; bonds between family, lovers, allies, and the past all had an impact on Matthieu and Fate’s life. I thought the slow growing tentative trust and relationship between Fate and Matthieu was very rewarding to read. Each had something the other needed, yet they had to individually decide to work on healing their wounds. I also liked seeing Matthieu reconnect with his brother and how they physically expressed both their love and thoughts about their mutual past. I will admit I wanted to see a deeper relationship between Fate, Matthieu, and Etienne (Fate’s guide). I thought the first installment Fire in the Island explored the guides and the varying degrees of their connection to the Vigilati the best. Here Hogan hints at the possibility of more but I thought that was left completely unexplored.

Overall I thought this was a great inclusion in Hogan’s Vigilati series. Her series arc continued to grow and move forward while exploring some of the complexity of the Lochrim’s plot. I am very curious to see what will happen next. I also hope that Hogan explores the guides a bit more because they are key but so much is still unknown. I would also like to see them fully included instead of hovering on the fringes of the Vigilati as they work to save humanity. Despite my few quibbles with this installment, Hogan remains on my auto-buy list.

I give The Serpent’s Fate a B+

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