Reviewed by Helyce
Graceley Knox is a new to me author and I am so glad that I read Mark of Truth, the first book in this series. Of all the romance genres, paranormal is by far my favorite. I love my vampires and shifters; but this book, gives us goblins, faeries, elves, and gargoyles and I loved it all. Full disclosure though, no HEA or HFN. Luckily, I had chatted with Ms. Knox briefly and learned that she plans for 4-5 books with focus on this couple. So I was prepared for the non-hea/cliffhanger like ending.
400 years ago….
The Elven King, in an effort to keep the bloodlines pure, decreed that there could no longer be any sort of intermingling between species. Doing so was punishable by death and any children of an elven-goblin union would also be put to death at birth. The King claimed that there had been too many mixed births, resulting in an inferior race that was unpredictable and unbearable to look at. Any half breed born prior to the law would be allowed to live, but would have to do so outside of the Light Elven Kingdom.
Ever Leath is a half-breed elf whose mother is part of the Elven royal family. To keep her child safe she hides her in the human realm by leaving her at a compound founded by other displaced half breeds. Ever grows up there, becoming a kick-ass member of MECA (Magical Enforcement and Containment Agency). She leads a team of other elf and goblin half breeds to guard the fragile humans from the darker side of these magical beings. They are the best at what they do. Even though they are only half fae, they still come into some special powers as they mature and not everyone has the same power or skill.
One morning Ever wakes up to a visit from her mother, Callista, who informs Ever that she is to attend a very special gathering in the Elven Kingdom because she has found someone for Ever to marry! Now Ever is well aware of the fact that a) she is a half breen and b) returning to the Elven Kingdom would mean death for her; not to mention death for her would be suitor. Ever’s mother is insistent and Ever is further annoyed but still curious when her mother brings up her Uncle Caddox as well as the man she’s been promised to, Cashel Finarben. Ever is quick to realize that this union has something to do with royal politics. Ever refuses her mother’s request, pending a chat with her Uncle who just happens to be the King of the Elven Kingdom.
When Ever shares the details of her mother’s visit with her team, they all agree with her that something is off and that Ever should check with her Uncle first. She writes a carefully worded note and sends it off. When she receives the response, she knows that it did not come from her Uncle and decides then and there she is staying far away from the Elven Kingdom.
Then Ever meets the Fitzpatrick brothers, Dare, Dax and Dagan, sons of the current Goblin King and they give her the most unbelievable information. They claim to know who her father is and he was not a human as she’d always believed. She doesn’t believe it of course, until she is kidnapped and taken to the Elven Kingdom coming face to face with her husband to be. She is able to escape and is rescued by her crew and Dare and his brothers. They are taken back to The Goblin Kingdom and offered sanctuary.
It is clear that Dare and Ever have a connection. Something momentous happens when she agrees to accept Dare’s help and they swear a blood oath. Another proof of sorts that the brothers speak the truth. But Ever is not quick to believe and still has questions.
I loved how things are revealed in this story. They are hinted at and we are given just enough to perhaps think we know something, but not enough to actually confirm anything. We are not teased, really, and there were some frustrating moments, but everything is just kind of simmering right now. As this story will be told over a few books, the author does a great job of keeping the mystery while giving us just enough to satisfy.
I loved Ever. She is a kick ass heroine who is good at what she does. Though she knows her Elven family, she prefers the family of her making-her crew- Doyle, Eryn, Kirin and Axel, all intriguing in their own way. Doyle has no idea who his parents are, Eryn is an empath of sorts and I know she knows more than she is letting on where Ever and Dare are concerned. Axel knows a bit of his Goblin heritage and actually grew up in the Goblin Kingdom until his mother abandoned him in the human realm and Kirin is a bit of a mystery still. There is love and loyalty between them.
I believe Dare also knows more than he is letting on. When he witnesses what happens to Ever after their blood oath, and at other occasions where Ever experiences “changes”, he is often surprised, but never reveals why. When he explains to Ever about how a mate is revealed, she is sure that she can’t possibly be Dare’s mate, but to the reader it super obvious! Ever is in denial for sure.
Ms. Knox does a great job with world building as we move between the Kingdoms and we are given the lay of the land, meet key characters and learn important information…well we learn what she is willing to reveal so far. There is action and whimsy and fantastical fae characters that made smile. There is huge sexual tension for Dare and Ever and while we are teased for a bit, their chemistry is explosive.
This book was all kinds of fantastic and I would recommend to fans of paranormal and fantasy books. A wonderful combination of humor and suspense as we follow Ever on her journey of discovery. Who is her father? Why would her mother lie to her and why are they trying to make her marry someone? Lies, treason, mystery and magic-everything you can ask for!