The Serpent in Heaven

Author: Charlaine Harris

Series: Gunnie Rose #4

My rating: 4.9 out of 5

Comfortably ensconced in the Rasputin school after a lifetime of poverty in the slums of Mexico, Felicia finally expects to be safe, well fed, and to hopefully learn enough to eventually be self sufficient. She may not like being a blood donor for the Tsar, but that price beats the alternatives she’s lived through. When she’s kidnapped and faces multiple threats to her life and to the lives of those who protect her, Felicia will need to look to her past for answers. Why would anyone want to kidnap her, a penniless orphan? With some help from friends, and with her own hidden strengths, Felicia seeks answers that may require revealing a few secrets of her own.

We knew from Gunnie Rose’s books that Felicia was keeping a few secrets. This story is told solely from Felicia’s perspective, and it’s just as good as its sister series. Felicia is just as brave and gutsy as her sister, and even though she doesn’t use guns, she’s definitely not shy about fighting with magic.

I really liked her personality – Felicia is very honest with herself, as much as anyone can be when it comes to emotions and life, and she’s refreshingly pragmatic. She’s scared when she needs to be, strong willed and contrary, like any teen her age, and as practical as any teen in her position can be, facing the circumstances she finds herself in. She doesn’t lose her head to romance, and she’s smart enough to realize when she’s been outplayed.

We also get to see Peter, Eli’s younger and immature brother, in a new and better light. In previous books, Peter was just Eli’s young and immature brother. Whether because he’s matured since then, or because he’s closer to Felicia’s age, he comes across much better here. Still young and innocent, but also showing hints of the grigori he may become. He’d only recently graduated from school, and his character fluctuated throughout the book, reflecting his struggles between the innocent teen he was, to his potential as an adult.

Both Lizbeth and Eli are mentioned only in passing on several occasions. While I miss the duo, their characters and relationship had already been well explored. Taking up the story from Felicia’s pov is a smart way of continuing the series in a new and refreshing way. Felicia is similar enough in character to Lizbeth that the transition is nearly seamless. Even though the characters are somewhat new, I strongly recommend reading this only after Gunnie Rose’s series. There’s too much history mentioned here to start without any knowledge of.

Facing Mexican witches either trying to kill or kidnap her, Felicia needs to rely on her magic, wits, and friends to keep the safety and comforts she’s begun to enjoy. But while her adversaries keep coming, her hardest fight might just be among the very people she trusts, a mother who’s not ready for her son to start dating, and those she thought of as friends.

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