Bookpushers Joint Review – Night’s Honor (The Elder Races #7) by Thea Harrison

Night's HonorPublisher: Berkley
Publish Date: 2 Sep
How we got this book: ARC from the publishers via Netgalley

On the run from her former employer, Tess knows that she’s vulnerable on her own amongst the Elder Races. That’s why she decides to audition to become the human attendant of a powerful Vampyre of the Nightkind demesne. But while her position affords her the safety she seeks, her protector turns out to be more than she bargained for.

The right-hand man of the Nightkind King, Xavier del Torro is both terrifying and alluring. While his true nature frightens Tess, she can’t ignore the appeal of his innate sense of integrity and self-restraint. Thrown into Xavier’s world, Tess must quickly learn to navigate the dangers—both to her life and to her heart. But the biggest threat comes from her own past….

Where blurb came from Goodreads

1. Thoughts on the Hero

Has: I really liked Xavier, who had this old world demeanor and cool control but underneath there was a lot of passion and depths which he kept hidden. The first scene when he interacted with Tess brought interesting dynamics between them, and it sets up a slow burn romance. I liked that he was patient and considerate towards Tess and her trial period as an attendant and the duties that entailed. Even though she was afraid and stressed out with the danger, she ran away from as well as her innate fear of Vampyres. Xavier managed to give her enough space to work through her feelings about him being a Vampyre. Although I wished there was more on his past and his character. I never really got a sense on what he was really like and just had glimpses of him especially when he was with Tess or with close friends where he relaxed his guard.

E: Xavier was interesting, he seemed rather calm and slow burning but that covered such intensity. He was bound and determined to have Tess as one of his “people” but only if she willingly wanted it. I loved watching him enforce the rules while always giving her a choice and ensuring she knew within his household loyalty and protection went both ways. I also thought having him confirm the rumors Tess heard about his turning did in a large part explain his loyalty to Julian and his care for his people. It also indicated just how ruthless he could be when wronged which I think explained how he claimed and has kept his position within the court. I understood given one of his many roles and Vampyre politics why he always seemed guarded and yet how much betrayal or harm to his people could wound him. I enjoyed watching him grow closer to Tess.

Lou: Xavier is now one of my favourite characters from the Elder series. He was the total opposite of what I was expecting when I first read the blurb. Though was a badass Vampyre, he had his own moral codes and treated people with respect and courtesy, while still remaining an air of danger of what he truly was: not human. I loved how he treated Tess from the first moment he met her; with respect while still outlining what he expected and wanted from her as an employee. He never crossed the mark while she was an employee and when their romance did kick in, well, he kicked her out in a way that showed how much he respected the people that worked for him. He is Mr Cool but Tess amused him–and not in a dis-respectful way. He enjoyed her personality and never once did he reign in who she was as a person. He embraced who she was which was wonderful.

MinnChica: I adored Xavier. He was old-world sexy and classy and wonderful. I loved the way he treated Tess with kid gloves, even though he really didn’t have to given their arrangement. It just went to show how much of a decent guy he really was. I loved the way he interacted with his human employees, how he was deeply impacted by the events of his mortal life, and just how he chose to protect those he loved. I adored him, and while he isn’t my favorite of the Elder Races heroes,(hello… Dragos!) he is definitely up there among the best of the best!

2. Thoughts on the Heroine

Has: Tess in a lot of ways is the opposite of Xavier, but I loved how she used her wits and cleverly outwitted people who were out to get her which I was very impressed with. I also liked her determination and stubbornness in doing the right thing even though that got her into trouble and working on being a good attendant. I think that is what really attracted Xavier because she was so unpredictable and he’s good at reading people and she really surprised him. However, I wished there were more moments in the book which led her to do something that surprised him because it created an interesting dynamic and there was not enough scenes between them which had this element.

E: Tess was a rather loose cannon. She made a calculated decision despite her fear to try to find employment and protection with a Vampyre. Even in desperation she refused to go along with the other applicants and instead made it clear what she thought about the applicant process. From there she tested the boundaries of every single rule Xavier had in place in a perfectly reasonable manner given the lack of explanation and her undecided loyalties. However, as much as she passively resisted, she didn’t once quit, even when his people were harsher on her in training because she wasn’t one of them and they knew it. I did enjoy how she kept Xavier off guard and gained the respect of the others despite her remaining separate. But when it came down to it, Tess chose sides and remained loyal.

Lou: Tess was a great character in that she was unpredictable. I didn’t know how she was going to behave in certain situations and and she was always striving to do her best. Despite her unpredictability, she had her own set of morals which is what got her into her trouble in the first place by running to the Vampyre’s to seek protection. She also was also quite vulnerable in wanting respect and recognition of the hard work she had been putting in with Raoul, training every day and hitting way above the maximum of what as a human she could do. I liked that Tess was steady and didn’t rush into blood letting, which is one of the requirements of staying on as an attendant to Xavier after the one year trial is up. No matter how scary Xavier was to her, she stood her ground and reminded him of the promises he gave her.

MinnChica: I liked Tess, despite her somewhat wishy-washy ways. She was absolutely a loose cannon, and I liked that she wasn’t at all predictable. She didn’t bend over backwards to be what she thought other people expected her to be, and she was willing to take HUGE risks when necessary. I loved her determination to make it through her situation, despite the fact that she was obviously scared of both Xavier and Vampyres in general.

3. Favorite Scene

Has: I have two favourite scenes. There is one where Xavier teaches her to dance and that becomes a turning point in their relationship. Another scene is towards the end when she outwits some dangerous and powerful beings which made me laugh. They were standout scenes in the book for me which cemented their characters as well.

E: There were several scenes I enjoyed including the two that Has mentioned above. But I think I am going to pick two. The first is when Xavier was going to drink some of Tess’s blood she had donated for the first time. He made it a point to ensure she was aware, willingly donated it, and was willing for him to drink. That was just one way he demonstrated keeping his word to her as one of his people. The second was when he told Tess she had a limited amount of time to demonstrate her skills were as good as she claimed. And she beat his deadline while also ensuring the next time he chose to give her an insulting challenge he would think twice. To me those two scenes really spoke about the essence of who each was and indicated how they could play off of each other.

Lou: I think my favourite had to be the dance scene that Has and E mentioned above. But I also thought their first sexual intereaction was great in tension and showed off that while Xavier was Mr Cool, towards Tess he turned into Mr Rawr. But he always had this cool veneer which was just awesome. He was a Mr Cool Cat without coming off as icy and cold.

MinnChica: All of those scenes were great, but I think one of my favorites was Tess and Xavier’s first interaction. From the moment Tess did the opposite of what was expected at the vampyre audition to when Xavier walked out the door, their first meeting set such a fun and flirty and yet somber tone for the rest of the book.

4. Dislike about book

Has: I hate to say this… while I loved the characters of Xavier and Tess, and they were a great couple, there was not enough time spent between them as a couple which really hurt the romance as well as the overall plot which I found the weakest entry to this series yet. I found the pace really slow and it only picked up until the end which was a shame because I think with this couple there was a lot of promise for an engrossing story. The subplot involving Tess was anticlimactic. There was such a huge lead up and then it was suddenly resolved and there was also a lot time spent on setting up an arc for the next book which does look great. But I did wish there wasn’t a separation early on in the book with the characters and the romance and plot suffered with the lack of interaction between Tess and Xavier.

E: Unfortunately I have to agree with Has that I felt the plot wasn’t as strong as I am accustomed. Some of the external plot points were predictable and the other external plot points seemed to be a set-up for the next story. I am intrigued by it but I wanted a bit more especially given the set-up for Tess and Xavier’s meet cute.

Lou: I sadly have to agree again with what E and Has said. While I loved Tess and Xavier as individual characters, I didn’t think the romance was an explosive or engaging as other books. The plot was very slow and while I enjoy slow-burn romances, but by the time the romance began the book was almost finishing. The pace also felt off to me, and the big guy Tess was running away from kind of fizzled out.

MinnChica: While there was definitely something missing for me that the other Elder Races books have, I think for me it was the fact that I couldn’t see how this book ties in with the overall series. We’ve had so much of Dragos and his sentinels lately that I’m struggling to see how Xavier and the vampyres fit in with the overall direction of the series. I’m definitely interested to see where Harrison takes the next few books.

5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade

Has: Overall, I enjoyed the characters but this is the weakest book in the series for me because I felt the plot wasn’t that strong, and the romance needed more time with the main couple, and while it was a slow burn there wasn’t enough tension being built up between them although I loved their characters. I felt that Xavier and Tess were great leads but a lot of potential was lost with the slow pace. I do have a feeling that we may get to revisit them in the future because while they have a HEA/HFN, I feel there is a lot more stories to tell featuring them.

I give Night’s Honor a C-

E: I have to admit I liked getting a different view of Julian than what I saw through Carling’s eyes. It will be very fascinating to see how he reacts in the next installment focusing on Vampyres. I enjoyed the internal tension and growth between Xavier and Tess as well as their slow moving romance but I had the feeling their story isn’t finished. While I enjoyed several aspects of Night’s Honor, I didn’t find it on par with the majority of this series which was disappointing. However, Harrison remains on my auto-buy list and I continue to enjoy this world she has created.

I give Night’s Honor a C/C-

Lou: I did enjoy Night’s Honor and I adored Tess and Xavier as characters, and I also love Thea Harrison’s writing and worldbuilding. Thea has set up a great story arc featuring Julian and Melly but I wanted more from Tess and Xavier and I think the slow plot and not enough interaction with them as characters didn’t quite hit the mark for me storywise.

I give Night’s Honor a C+

MinnChica: All in all, I think I liked this book more than the other gals. While this book was different from the others in the series, I liked the way it took the time to showcase Xavier and Tess as individuals, and focus a bit on their friendship and romance. I’m excited to see how the series continues, especially as Harrison threads in more characters from the other Races.
I give Night’s Honor a B-

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