Series: Immortal Guardians #11
Author: Diane Duvall
Format: Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published: July 27th 2021
ISBN: ASIN B095ZW62TV
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall brings readers a novel--set in the "fast-paced" and "totally addictive" world of the Immortal Guardians--that revolves around a vampire... one who has become a friend and trusted ally of the powerful warriors.
Every mortal who works at network headquarters knows that vampires reside below them. They were the first to surrender to the powerful Immortal Guardians who hunt them. And they did so, hoping they can be saved, that the doctors and scientists the Immortal Guardians employ can halt the progressive brain damage that robs all vampires of their sanity. Though curious, Emma never thought she would meet any of the vampires who remain under heavy guard several stories beneath her office. Then mercenaries strike, bombarding the building with heavy artillery. The vampires are freed to join the fray... and Cliff saves her life.
From that moment on, she can't stop thinking about him regardless of the restrictions placed on interactions with vampires. When Emma discovers a way to speak to Cliff at network headquarters, she becomes even more fascinated by him. He's smart, charming, and honorable to his core despite the darkness that lies ahead. And he seems to crave her company as much as she does his. Aware of the eyes that watch them, they keep their encounters innocent, limiting them to those of mere acquaintances. Nevertheless, their attraction grows and she soon falls in love with him even as the madness begins to claim him.
Cliff realizes his future is dark. As one vampire friend after another succumbs to insanity, hope that network doctors will be able to find a cure in time to keep him from meeting the same fate begins to dwindle, leaving him little to look forward to... until he meets Emma. Just speaking to her brings him a happiness and contentment he hasn't experienced since before his transformation. And when they finally find a way to be alone together, everything changes. Emma burrows her way right into his heart and quiets the voices. She sparks dreams of a future with her that strengthen his determination to beat back the madness. But as time passes, the voices grow louder and insanity begins to chip away at him until he fears it will eradicate every part of him she fell in love with.
Will the two of them find a way to defy the odds and find their happily-ever-after? Or will Cliff's descent consume him?
Dianne Duvall's Immortal Guardians’ series ROCKS. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Every installment teems with a scorching romance, heart-stopping action and great camaraderie. Cliff's Descent: A Vampire's Tale is no exception. It’s worthy to note that this is the very first book in the series to feature a vampire as its main character – and that honor is bestowed upon Cliff.
Cliff initially made an appearance as one of the vampires in Bastien’s army in Phantom Shadows, the third installment in the Immortal Guardians’ series. Since then, he’s shown up as a secondary character frequently in the series. From the beginning, Cliff’s honor and courage were evident. Though he started as an enemy of the Immortal Guardians, he evolved to becoming a good and trusted friend and warrior to many of the Immortal Guardians, their families, friends and associates as they came to know his nature and fortitude.
Though fans of the series have already experienced many of the scenes detailed via flashbacks early on in Cliff’s Descent, this book gives us Cliff’s perspective of those scenes. If you are a fan and worried that you may be bored by the repetition, don’t be. Even though I recognized those scenes, they felt different when told from Cliff’s view.
Emma is Cliff’s love interest in this tale. She and Cliff met during the vicious mercenary onslaught of the network headquarters when Cliff worked non-stop to safely evacuate the human employees while the Immortal Guardians held off the mercenaries. Emma was one of those Cliff saved.
Later, Cliff was granted the privilege of choosing to eat lunch in the headquarters’ lunchroom where he meets Emma again. Little does he know, but Emma already has a huge crush on the handsome, noble vampire. Their lunches become a regular thing… and, one night, after a successful night of hunting vampires with Bastien, Bastien gifts Cliff with an opening to see Emma away from the network.
“Bastien passed him the duffel. “Just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Cliff looped the strap over his shoulder. “Is there anything you wouldn’t do?”
“Hmm. Good point. Have fun then.”
Their stolen times together are a balm to Cliff as Emma quiets the increasingly violent voices that threaten to drive him mad. Their obvious love for each other is so genuine, sweet and beautiful. I found their story to be an incredibly emotional rollercoaster. I laughed, sighed, swooned to a puddle and cried a few times as I was saddened by Cliff’s declining mental state and despaired of a happy ending for the two. But Emma never lost faith in Cliff so I held onto hope. My heart yearned for a cure for Cliff and for all the vampires who had turned themselves into the Immortal Guardians hoping to be cured of the virus that afflicts them.
Cliff's Descent is the 11th book in Dianne’s excellent Immortal Guardians’ series. If you have not read this series before, I highly suggest that you start at the beginning with Darkness Dawns. If you insist on jumping in with Cliff’s Descent, no worries; Dianne has written the tale to where newbies should have no trouble enjoying the story as a solitary read and not feeling lost.
Following are a few more favorite excerpts from Cliff’s Descent:
“Let me go.”
“Never,” she breathed.
And oh, what that declaration did to him…
“Emma’s eyes widened. And when she opened the front door and stepped out onto her porch, the look of baffled astonishment on her face made him grin. “Hi, beautiful,” he called, buck naked in the moonlight.
Mouth hanging open, she shook her head. “What… is happening? Are the voices telling you to streak now?” she asked incredulously.
Cliff burst out laughing.”
“Emma settled herself sideways on his lap and pulled his arms around her. “You’re strong, Cliff.” She held out an arm, flexed her biceps in an exaggerated show of muscle, and arched a brow. “I’m strong, too.”
His expression lightened. “Yes, you are.”
“Together, we can do anything. We can fight this. We can beat this. Even though you may think it’s futile, we have to give Melanie and the other doctors more time.” She pressed a tender kiss to his lips. “I know it’s hard, honey, and that things may get worse. But I’ll be here to help you through it. All of it.” She kissed him again. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Those eyes of his brightened further as he dipped his head and claimed her lips in a longer, deeper kiss.”
Cliff’s situation throughout the series has made him a beloved fan-favorite and more than deserving of his own book. Dianne has done an exemplary job telling Cliff’s story. As a side benefit, since Cliff resided at network headquarters, I have found that I enjoyed spending time there with the guards and staff. I hope they don’t become strangers. Will Cliff and Emma have a happy ever after? You have to read Cliff’s Descent to find out. Days after reading it, I’m still pondering on the ramifications of the surprising twists and turns. As with all of Dianne’s stories, Cliff’s Descent is a page-turner that you won’t want to end.