I received this book for free from my own shelves in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Deadly Vows by Keri Arthur
Published by KA Publishing Pty Ltd on June 23, 2020
Source: my own shelves
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Fireborn, Wicked Embers, Flameout, Blood Kissed, Demon's Dance, Hell's Bell, Hunter Hunted, Wicked Wings, City of Light
Sixth in the Lizzie Grace paranormal fantasy series set in Australia and revolving around a witch and her familiar on the run from the witch’s family.
Hoo, boy. Deadly Vows is action packed (and humor-filled) as Lizzie is forced at last to deal with her husband. And we finally get the full backstory on how Lizzie ended up married to this jerk. That Arthur has been dropping tidbits of hints for the past five stories!
It certainly gives Lizzie and Belle’s story credibility as to why they’ve been on the run and so terrified of being caught. It’s a classic case of powerful versus weak, with no hope for Lizzie of anyone believing her side.
All of which we learn as Arthur uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Lizzie’s perspective of two women who have been on the run for thirteen fear-filled years. That’s merely the start, for Castle Rock is Lizzie and Belle’s last stand on a wolf reservation that’s anti-witches and anti-magic. Yet loaded with wild magic that’s taken a liking to Lizzie.
Luckily, Lizzie is evolving magic-wise, and she gets a few ideas on how some of those “improvements” have come about. Katie has another few ideas as well, that could well foreshadow future events.
With some help from Belle and Eleanor (who’d’ve thunk!??), Lizzie gains some important self-realizations.
Talk about dysfunctional..! Yeah, it’s not just family that’s monstrous in the series — fortunately, family isn’t necessarily the one you’re born into, but the one you make — and Arthur certainly includes the more, ahem, “standard “monsters for her magic world. Thank god for second chances!
That said, I really do recommend reading this series from the start, as it provides greater background to Deadly Vows, as Arthur concentrates more on Lizzie’s confrontation with her archnemeses without as much interaction with the people (and wolves) of Castle Rock.
Lizzie has never been very powerful despite having been born into a very powerful family. For the first sixteen years of her life, she was made to feel worthless until her father decided to force her into an unwanted marriage.
After all, Daddy Dearest might as well make the best possible use of his useless daughter.
Until he finds her again in Castle Rock and discovers his daughter has evolved, raising questions in his mind.
Lizzie Grace has prophetic dreams, senses evil, has a gift for psychometry, and has been infused with the wild magic, making her the reservation’s guardian. The telepathic Belle is Lizzie’s best friend, a fellow witch, and Lizzie’s familiar.
Castle Rock, Australia is…
…the capital of the Faelan Reservation. One of seven werewolf reservations, it’s home to the O’Connors, a pack of gray wolves.
The Psychic Café is…
Lizzie and Belle’s business set in Castle Rock. Penny is a waitress; Celia is Penny’s newly arrived niece. The gossip brigade (a group of 27 women) have made it their unofficial headquarters.
The Rangers are…
…the police force on the reservation with Aiden O’Connor, a werewolf, as the head ranger who is dating Lizzie. Tala is Aiden’s second-in-command. Ciara O’Connor is Aiden’s sister and the coroner. Jaz is a ranger who married into the Marin pack. Jen is part of the ambulance crew.
Lucy Marin runs a B&B. Mia is the wolf to whom Aiden had been engaged. Dillon is one of Aiden’s brothers. Aiden’s mother, Karleen Jayne O’Connor, highly disapproves of Lizzie and is issuing threats. Mac is a brown-haired wolf.
Maelle Defour is a vampire who runs Émigré, the local nightclub. And she’d like to get Belle in her bed. Roger is her man-ghoul servant, a thrall who received eternal life in return for eternal servitude through whom Maelle can see and speak.
Kash is Belle’s current boyfriend, although Monty has some very persistent ideas about that. Bree‘s brother is opening a new restaurant, and she’s come up from Melbourne to help him. The Railway Bistro is a pub. The Whitefin is a café in Albury.
The High Witch Council is…
…the governing body for witches with Monty Ashworth the new reservation witch…and Lizzie’s cousin. Eamon is his orange cat (and familiar) who loves to attack Lizzie. Lizzie’s parents, Lawrence and Eleanor Marlowe, are the most powerful couple of Canberra’s council. Lizzie blames herself for the death of her older sister, Cat. Juli is her married brother.
Nellie had been Belle’s grandmother and the owner of a vast collection of rare and irreplaceable books on magic and the supernatural. Which Belle inherited. Belle’s mother, Ava Sarr, is the one who helped them escape.
Samuel Kang is in charge of the investigation. Jamie is a professor friend of Monty’s.
Clayton Marlowe, her father’s friend and a second cousin, is the jerk Lizzie had been forced to marry when she was sixteen. I reckon he also wants Belle to remove that nasty spell she put on him, lol. Rafael is his chauffeur. James O’Conner is a wolf from Black Valley in Ireland.
The Regional Witch Association (RWA) handles…
…regional issues. Ashworth is the RWA representative who ended up staying and is practically family to Lizzie. Eli is his husband and a retired RWA witch.
The Black Lantern Society is…
…a watchdog group that ensures justice prevails. Jenna Jones is a truth seeker; Ruby Harrison is an auditor. I think Sophie is Ashworth’s sister and a member of the BLS.
Wild magic comes through a wellspring from the deeper recesses of the earth and is neither good nor bad, but if a wellspring is unprotected, it will attract evil. And there are/were two unprotected wellsprings on the reservation. Katie had been Aiden’s youngest sister, dying of cancer. She’d been married to Gabe, a witch, who had only wanted his beloved wife to be happy. A Manananggal is a vampire-like monster or witch that preys on sleeping pregnant women or newlyweds.
The Cover and Title
The cover is DARK, which makes it a perfect representation of the story. A cartoonish image of the red-haired Lizzie shows her in worn jeans and a black T, facing us, half-kneeling on a rock as her hands spark with wild magic. There’s a full moon behind her with a glow of green light around Lizzie as she prepares to defend herself. The author’s name is at the very top with the title below Lizzie. Both are in white. The series info is at the very bottom in the lime green that glows on rocks and in her aura.
The title refers to those Deadly Vows Lizzie’s father and friend forced on her all those years ago.