cover image The Serpent and the Wings of Night

The Serpent and the Wings of Night

Carissa Broadbent. Bramble, $29.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-250-34317-8

Broadbent (the War of Lost Hearts trilogy) elevates the familiar fantasy trope of a divinely sponsored tournament to the death in this sweeping duology opener that doubles as an addictive enemies-to-lovers romance. Oraya, a human rescued from her war-ruined childhood home to be raised and trained by the king of the Nightborn vampires despite the usual classification of mortals as mere prey, is pushed by her adoptive father to seek the reward given by the dark Goddess Nyaxia to the winner of the brutal, monthslong Kejari competition. When it becomes clear that surviving the trials will require an ally, Oraya grudgingly accepts a partnership offer from Raihn, a powerful Turned (or formerly human) vampire hailing from the Nightborn’s primary rivals, the dark-winged Rishan. To fight together effectively, the duo must let each other in, both in formal training and in late-night expeditions to the protected human district, where they slaughter predatory vampires and get drunk. Along the way, they develop a deep connection—despite knowing that one of them will need to kill the other to win the tournament. Broadbent keeps the emotional stakes high as the personal butts up against the political and practicality dances with desire. Readers will find the tournament satisfying in itself, while also gaining a huge amount of information about the world’s supernatural structure, complex vampire politics, and elaborate pantheon, setting up the sequel nicely. Fans of dark romantasy won’t want to miss this. (Dec.)