The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

Painting of a vampire

Cards on the table here.

I went into this book already not liking it. It was another book club selection, and all I was told was that it was a fantasy smut book. Not exactly the genre I usually reach for in the morning.

While I enjoy some fantasy books, the fact that it was also labeled as a smut book immediately made me lose interest. I figured I’d finish the book as quickly as possible, treating it like that occasional awful cough medicine.

Now that I’ve finished the book, my opinion remains unchanged. However, I have to acknowledge the author’s skill in world-building. That’s the only aspect that stood out; everything else was mediocre at best.

I won’t criticize the storyline too much, considering it’s a series and many of my concerns might be addressed in the subsequent books. So, let’s start with what I did appreciate.

The world-building was great, solid 6/10 in my opinion. The nations, gods, and conflicts were well-crafted. However, if the author had invested more time into adding details, it could have scored higher. Unfortunately, they only provided a broad strokes depiction, leaving me wanting more.

It was interesting that the vampire’s god, Nyaxia, preferred her children to be in constant strife. I’m not sure if this concept works in the long run for a species, but the author could simply explain it away with magic.

The Kejari concept intrigued me, and I’m curious about what happened during the previous event. Considering Vincent won his competition 200 years ago, there must have been an event between then and the current story, as these events occur roughly every century.

Oh, I also somewhat liked the main character. However, a few issues arise:

  • Oraya has spent 95% of her life not trusting anyone other than her father, yet it only takes three nights of running around town for her to trust Raihn?
  • I understand she’s an incredible fighter trained her whole life, but the author describes vampires as almost superhero-like in their strength and speed. It doesn’t make sense that she has no issue taking one on head-to-head.

Now, a few other complaints:

  • The book states that there’s a 33% success rate for turning someone into a vampire. Yet Vincent believes those odds are too low and that Oraya has a better chance of winning a competition to the death against 50-odd vampires with almost no real rules?
  • What was the point of Raihn joining the competition alongside his best friend, knowing that eventually, he would have to kill them?
  • The excessive references to the size of Raihn’s member bothered me. We get it; he’s well-endowed. Can we move on?

Let’s now address the magic system, or rather, its absence. Writing a fantasy book must be challenging, considering the need to develop a coherent magic system and account for potential plot holes. In this book, magic seems to be thrown in whenever the author wants to add some fireworks, without addressing the consequences it can cause.

Okay, I’m done complaining about this book. I’ve already spent too much of my day doing so, and I have to do it again for the actual book club meeting.

Also, my significant other informed me that this isn’t an actual smut book, so I won’t refer to it as such. I’ll call it a poorly-written fantasy romance instead.

As always, thanks for reading, and catch you all later.


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