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Hungers of the Heart: The Guardians of the Night #4    by Jenna Black order for
Hungers of the Heart
by Jenna Black
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Vampire power struggles continue in this fourth instalment of Jenna Black's engaging series. As the story opens, Drake, the killer vampire who's only tolerated by his fellow Guardians, is accused of murdering an undercover cop. Unable to prove his innocence, Drake clears out of the city. He heads to Baltimore, knowing that an open invitation to join that city's fledgling Guardians still stands. Once he arrives, however, he discovers that their leader, Gabriel, has been kidnapped.

Drake soon finds himself in charge of Gabriel's band of inexperienced fledglings, as well as having to deal with a delegation of European Killers led by Armand Durant. La Vielle, Durant's powerful mistress, has ordered her minion to bring her Gabriel's head before he presents an even greater threat. As for Durant, he believes that Gabriel's so called kidnapping is either a ruse or an act of cowardice. But once members of Durant's entourage begin turning up dead, he has no choice but to believe Drake's claim that La Vielle's power hungry daughter Brigitte is behind the murders.

As Drake struggles to hold tempers, mistrust and Gabriel's small band of untried fledglings in check, he finds himself attracted to Durant's concubine. Initially ordered to seduce Drake and learn his secrets, Faith discovers that the imposing Killer is no pushover. Their mistrust soon turns to love and she begs Drake to help her whisk her little sister away from Durant's sinister clutches before she too is corrupted. But removing the teenager from under the watchful eye of Durant and his minions is not an easy task, particularly once suspicion for the continued killings focuses on Drake.

Black continues expanding her intriguing mythology in Hungers of the Heart, as the older and much more powerful European vampires (who were only vaguely referenced in previous instalments) finally arrive in full force to challenge the Guardians. Readers eager to learn more about the shadowy Drake will also be pleased with his back story, including how he came to be a vampire. Unfortunately, though, a satisfying romance is not in the offing. While Drake and Faith are well matched, the complicated plot keeps them separated far too often for them build a believable relationship.

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