Narrated by Tavia Gilbert
Into the Fire is the explosive and magic-defying conclusion to the Night Prince Series (featuring Leila and Vlad) which is itself a spin-off of the Night Huntress Series (featuring Cat and Bones) both of which make up part of the Night Huntress Universe. I have a special place in my heart for the Night Huntress Series as its one of the first series I remember listening to in audio format. I credit the mesmerizing combination of Jeaniene Frost’s creative writing and Tavia Gilbert’s truly talented voice as a part of the reason that I have converted from primarily a reader to an avid audiobook listener today.
The Night Huntress is a series that I binge listened to when I first experimented with audiobooks, though I’ve had to be much more patient with these latest installments in the Night Huntress Universe as there was a full two-year gap between the release of the prior book in this series (see the AudioGals review of Bound by Flames) and this fourth and last book in the Night Prince Series. I must admit that for nearly any other writer/narrator combination, I may have lost interest. However, I’m glad I didn’t in this case because not only do we get to experience the kinetic combination of Vlad and Leila for one last time (though I must admit that the passion in this book was definitely less of a focus than in prior ones), but we are also treated to quite the suspense-filled race against time. It is by listening to Into the Fire that I also have become familiar with what inevitably will be the next spin-off series that will form a part of the Night Huntress Universe, featuring Ian (a vampire who reminds me a lot of Bones and who is sure to lead to lots more fun, UF escapades to come). Additionally, Tavia Gilbert’s narration, as always, was just fabulous – I couldn’t imagine experiencing this story any other way but through Ms. Gilbert’s talented voice.
Leila is running out of time. Her unwanted connection to a necromancer (Mircea) who has intertwined their physical fates is likely to lead to her demise if she, Vlad, and their allies can’t figure out how to break the connection (for she literally feels every injury he sustains and his enemies have caught on to their priceless and extortion enabling connection). The fact that Mircea is also Vlad’s bitter stepson, owing to Mircea’s resentment for never having truly achieved obtaining Vlad’s attention, further adds to the revenge/suspense plot line.
But removing the connection between Leila and Mircea, two vampires and one of which is a necromancer, is no easy task. And Vlad and Leila know that to break the ties they will inevitably need to dabble in witchcraft. Given that witches and vampires rarely mix in this world, they know they have their work cut out for them, so they reach out to Vlad’s sire, Mencheres, for help. Fortunately, Mencheres knows just who to team them up with: Ian. Ian too is a vampire (one who had previously been introduced in the Night Huntress Series but never took center stage until now). Though we get a feeling that there is some bad blood between Vlad and Ian, Vlad decides to play nice in the hopes that Ian can find the powerful witch they need to break the spell. Thus enters Ian into the scene, who ends up stealing the show both with his over-the-top persona as well as by being the start to all new plotlines which will no doubt be resolved in the next spin-off series.
Tavia Gilbert is so unbelievably talented. She doesn’t just read this story, she is the voice of each one of the many characters that play a part in it. Each voice is so distinctive and unique that it sounds like we have a whole cast of narrators, not just one. The exceptional consistency that Ms. Gilbert has exhibited in voicing each one of these characters numerous times over this series and the prior ones that make up a part of the Night Huntress Universe is simply divine.
Moreover, Ms. Gilbert’s ability to deliver the tongue in cheek humor which requires remarkable attention to timing is off the charts. Particularly with Ian’s gregarious character, and crazy lines, she had me chuckling throughout. But that’s not all of Ms. Gilbert’s talents as she is equally adept at delivering urgency and suspense in the fast-paced action scenes just from the sound of her voice. And then when it comes to the more tender, affection-filled scenes where Vlad is communicating his feelings for Leila and vice versa, her ability to make the listener hear the chemistry between these two characters that we have come to love is also invaluable.
All in all, I enjoyed Into the Fire. While it did not feature as much of Vlad and Leila as I would have hoped in the series finale, it still quenched my thirst and gave me closure where their future is concerned while at the same time laying the groundwork for a whole new suspense arc and hero to come in the next series.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: Escalated Fighting
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Audio
Into the Fire was provided to AudioGals by Harper Audio for a review.