The High Priestess: Persephone’s Return is the third book in Val Tobin’s Tales from the Unmasqued World Series, and in it she deepens and expands the stories from the previous two book.
The book has two central story arcs based around characters we’ve met before. One arc follows Kelsey (a human) who is with Josh and Phillip (both vampires), following on from their story as told in book one, and the other follows directly on from book two with the mages Jaycie and Chase. Through this story we become more invested in the established characters, learn more about the world Tobin has created and get to know previously secondary characters.
Unsurprisingly, given the title, this is primarily a book about the female protagonists and their growing strength and acceptance of their power, both developed of necessity. Persephone’s identity is a surprising revelation, and we follow her into the underworld, a place of dark magic and jealous gods. Persephone, it seems, has plans for Jaycie and Chase’s baby, but the author doesn’t reveal what they are, thus she sets up a mystery to carry the series forward.
Tales from the Unmasqued World takes place in a world where the Greek gods still exist and vampires, mages, fae, lycans and demons have been accepted by and integrated into human society. Pins worn by the different races identify them and the creation of vampires is strictly controlled. Create one without the proper permissions and paperwork and you face a death sentence.
Tobin’s world building is impeccable. Her characters are three dimensional, well-developed and relatable, and they grow as their stories deepen in complexity as the series progresses.
Clearly an accomplished writer, Tobin’s prose is confident and her stories tight and well-paced. She skilfully weaves the Tarot cards and their associated themes into each story in a way that is never heavy handed. This series stands with the best of urban fantasy. I look forward to further additions to it.
One more note: I love the covers of this series. They are excellent.
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