Cruel Enchantment (Dark Magical Series #2) by Anya Bast
September 7, 2010
Paperback, 336 Pages
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote:” How many times had he planned her death? How many weapons now hung in his forge that he’d crafted with the intention of using them on her? Mercy? He’d thought he had none for her.”
Danger Will Robinson!!! This does contain some light spoilers.
To help her race from being eradicated, Emmaline Gallagher must retrieve an object of fae power from a locked ancient box. Only Aeric O’Malley has the forging skills to create a key. But will their tumultuous past stand in the way?
Cruel Enchantment is an dark, exhilarating, sensual delight. Once again we are submerged into the beautiful devious world of the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Well-plotted and cast with characters that are strong and personable, Cruel Enchantment is filled with tense suspense, delicious betrayal, and dangerous antagonists. A fascinating read that captured me at page one.
In Cruel Enchantment, we are introduced to Emmaline Gallagher of the Seelie Court. Emmaline spent her younger years as the most feared assassin of the Summer Queen. When she escapes the great sweep that imprisoned the courts and most fae in Piefferberg, she walked away from her past life and began to work with the HFF. Her mission? To convince Aeric O’Malley, the Blacksmith, to forge a magical key that will open an ancient box containing a fae artifact. The Problem? Emmaline killed his fiancé and Aeric has vowed revenge. When Emmaline enters Piefferberg, Aeric is lying in wait for her. He ambushes her and spirits her off to his home.
Emmaline’s mission must be completed but Aeric has dreamed of having her in his power for hundreds of years and nothing will convince him to set her free. As Emmaline and Aeric begin their battle, striking blows with words as sharp as the finest crafted blade, you hear their memories and see that both were victims of extremely sadistic and selfish people. When old and new feelings emerge between them, Aeric and Emmaline must look to the past if they are ever to have a future. But Aeric isn’t the only one who wants Emmaline dead. Most of the Unseelie court has suffered in some way due to her dubious past and the Summer Queen wants her assassin back.
The chemistry between Aeric and Emmaline is powerfully portrayed as they work their way from enemies to lovers. It leaps off the pages and surrounds you with it’s anger and passion.
The betrayal that Aeric must work through is heart wrenching as his memories begin to unravel and the portrait of love he surrounded his fiancé with fades and the truth reveals it’s self. As Aeric and Emmaline forge their fragile alliance, they are besieged by past enemies, both fae and human, who will stop at nothing to prevent Emmaline from completing her mission.
Ms. Bast takes fae mythology and mixes it new lore to produce a stunning urban fantasy world that first started in Wicked Enchantment and continues it’s dark and dangerous journey in Cruel Enchantment. Instead of being overburdened by overwrought interpretation and world building at the sacrifice of story, or being heavy on story but leaving the world largely undefined, Cruel Enchantment continues the arc’s perfect balance and hits all the right notes. The world building is a perfect blending of seductive romance, non stop action, realistic main characters, intriguing secondary characters, and nail biting betrayal from all sides. Well thought out and fast paced, it creates a satisfying arc of development for the main characters and culminates in two very different sort of conflicts – one that threatens the lives of Aeric and Emmaline, and one that threatens their hearts and souls.
The only tiny problem I have is how the Unseelie court always seems to be caught unawares by the Seelie Court. I found myself cringing at some of the decisions made by the Shadow queen and cannot understand WHY she continuously gives the Summer Queen the benefit of the doubt. I do hope Ms. Bast will allow the Unseelie court to emerge triumphant at least one time against the Summer Queen.
All in all Cruel Enchantment was a satisfying read in every way. A unbelievable ride that I could not and did not want to end. I cannot WAIT for Dark Enchantment, #3 of the Dark Magic series, which is due out in April 5, 2011. I will definitely continue to read and recommend this series.
This series includes:
Dark Enchantment – April 5, 2011