Reviewed by May
As one of the Embraced―one born with magical powers―the beautiful, innocent Luciana escaped certain death after her father hid her away on the Isle of Moon. Now, nineteen years later, her father has returned with a frightening request. He will be executed unless Luciana returns to the mainland and marries a man feared throughout the land: a terrifying brute known as the Beast.
Luciana accepts her fate and agrees to wed the Beast―Lord Leo―in order to save her father. Soon she learns that her betrothed is also one of the Embraced. With the ability to wield lightning, Leo’s immense power strikes fear into the hearts of men. . .and his mere touch can put an end to a woman’s life. But Luciana cannot deny the passion that burns between them. How can she resist the man who scorches her soul and makes her feel intoxicated with desire―even if surrendering to him could destroy them both?
This story begins as Luciana’s father arrives at the Isle of Moon and Luciana has to quickly deal with her past, as well as her ability to see dead people. Assuming her place at her father’s side and leaving the island Luciana doesn’t know if she’ll survive the ordeal – let alone see her beloved friends who have become like sisters at the convent where she was raised.
We then go to Leo, who is a lord protector and all around good guy. The small detail of his touch being electric has had quite the impact on his life.
Sounds of laughter emanated from the cave. Soon he could smell the scent of a lamb roasting over a fire. His stomach grumbled. A quick search of his pickets came up empty. With a sigh, he leaned his head against the pillar. Alone again. It was always this way. He was too damned dangerous to be near anyone.
I really enjoyed the premise of this new series. We have strong characters, an evil king, magical beings from dragons to elves, and a curious new world where all of the kingdoms are always at war. I also enjoyed how Luciana’s gift to speak with the dead and the ghosts themselves became strong supporting characters as well. One of my favorite scenes was with Tatiana who had been sent to try to figure out who was trying to kill Luciana:
“Did you learn anything else in the barracks?”
Tatiana stopped dancing and pressed a finger to her lips as she considered. “Oh, yes! It was quite shocking.”
Luciana jumped to her feet. “You know who the assassin is?”
“No. But I discovered I’ve been wrong about something for years. I’ve always thought that the bigger a man was, the bigger his male… part would be. But that’s not actually true.”
Luciana’s mouth fell open.
“I know.” Tatiana nodded gravely. “I couldn’t believe it, either, so I made a point of studying as many men as I could-“
I’m not normally a fan of female characters so pure and innocent as Luciana, but the author makes it work well within this story. Not only because of her upbringing, but her kind nature truly fit in this kind of roll and she showed strength of character as well. She’s kind and trusting, but she was never stupid or putting herself in positions that she should have avoided. I appreciated how thoughtful and quick thinking she was, and how her character was developed.
Leo is a “beast” because nobody can touch him. He protects and slays the bad guys or enemies of the kingdom all day every day… but because of his electric touch everyone calls him a beast and he has very few friends. Even his own uncle (the king) wants him dead. I found Leo a good match for the quick thinking Luciana, but his development was pretty flat. His story line and his constant moping around in the shadows got old really quick.
Overall this story had all of the components we’d want in a romantic focused fantasy of this sort. But it was in no way a perfect story nor will it be especially memorable for me. While I enjoyed it overall, the plot had a sort of “and then he said —. And then this happened. Then she went and did —. Then this happens.” plodding along pace that was both predictable and a bit dull. While there are surprises, there are now big wow or whoa moments. Things merely happen and it’s like we are reading an account from a bystander versus experiencing the events with the characters.
The romantic aspect was like this as well, including a love scene that included the word “juice”. I wasn’t a fan of the writing of the scene, let’s just say it didn’t come across especially sexy and move on.
The ending is somewhat resolved, but clearly wide open for other characters (the other girls raised on the island with Luciana) to have stories and happily ever afters. While I would have enjoyed more description of these strange lands, more painting of a picture of this place and the people within overall it was an enjoyable and very fast paced tale.